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This June 2012 photo released by NBC shows mentors, from left, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine on the set of "The Voice," in Los Angeles.
A funny thing happened during round five of The Voice's blind auditions--and we're not talking about Cee-Lo Green's "happy feet." Rather, we're referring to something we never thought we'd live to see: A truce between Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine!
After two seasons of acting like they could barely tolerate being in the same TV studio, the oft-bickering duo suddenly made nice during Tuesday's episode, with the Maroon 5 frontman unexpectedly coming to Xtina's defense after fellow judge Blake Shelton took one contestant sales pitch a little too far. "That was crossing a line," Adam informed his bromantic bud after the country-music star told 17-year-old Illinois singer Josselyn Rivera--who ably sang Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" and whom Christina was also trying to win over--that Christina has been "known to be abusive with artists that are on her team."
Maybe Adam's just feeling generous since he knows Christina won't be around next season? Regardless, Christina seemed as surprised as we were by the gentlemanly gesture. As she whipped out her trusty li'l black fan to cool off her ever-exposed cleavage, you could almost hear the dialogue in her head: "Has hell"--fan--"totally"--fan--"frozen over?" What she actually said aloud, though, was "Blake's bringing out the claws!"
Could you blame him? Last season's winning mentor was having a heckuva time convincing anyone to pick him as a coach. (Surely, pitches like the one he offered Rivera, who'd been born prematurely with neurological deficiencies and, according to Carson Daly's voice-over, "healed" by music--and one badass Barbie karaoke machine--didn't help. Rivera ultimately opted for Christina. The chart-topping diva had, after all, been the girl's "inspiration" since she was four years old.) By his own admission, Blake was desperate. Maybe he needs to start bringing the ACM award to work every day.
But enough about the coaches. These music-competition shows are really about the contestants--or at least they're supposed to be--and there was some impressive talent on display yet again tonight.
Let's break down some of the more promising ones, shall we?
Benji, a former race-car driver from Orlando who's so cool he doesn't need a last name. Benji had to give up his need for speed after he ran out of cash and decided to try to make it in the music biz instead. We admit we wer skeptical before he started singing, especially when he admitted he'd never performed in front of a crowd so large before. But Benji assured us he'd go out there and "kill it" and, by golly, Benji's a man of his word! His raspy rendition of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" made us a believer, and it had Cee-Lo tapping what Adam dubbed his "happy feet" even before Benji unleashed his first big rock roarrrr about halfway through the song. Backstage, Benji's family and friends were all high fives, and on the main stage all of the judges save Christina were soon fighting for him. "You have a scream that should be heard by the entire world, man," said Adam, who sweetened the pitch by adding that he thought Benji could wind up winning the whole thing. Christina said she thought the hopeful had "a little Adam" in his voice, to which Blake retorted, "I don't think he sounds like a jackass at all." Meanwhile, Cee-Lo claimed he was so floored by Benji's performance that he was at a loss for words...before promptly launching into a rave that seemed to include about a million of them. "That was a lot of words for someone who's at a loss for words," Adam quipped. The one-named wonder known as Benji must've agreed; he went with Adam.
Collin McLoughlin, a 24-year-old singer who dropped out of NYU's Music Business Masters program (say that 10 times fast) a year shy of getting his degree, much to his parents' chagrin, to move back into his childhood bedroom in Bedford, N.Y., and pursue his dream of a music career. Who wants to work at a label when you can (maybe) be on one? Collin wanted to prove to his parents that he had been right to follow his gut by getting just one of the judges to turn around, but after his smooth, acoustic guitar-strumming take on "Wild World," he got three. Only Christina, who called the performance "a little too mellow" for her taste, failed to push her button. (No matter: By that point, even Mama McLoughlin was a believer: "I was wrong," she said backstage of giving her son a hard time for giving up grad school. "I admit it." Awww.) Ultimately, McLoughlin decided that he had to go with his gut once again, and his gut told him Adam. (Unlike Blake, Adam was having a very, very good night.) Collin's never getting that master's degree now--but maybe, just maybe, The Voice will be his ticket out of his childhood bedroom.
And then there was Mycle Wastman, a 40-year-old Seattle soul singer with a hard-luck story. He'd been raised by his grandparents after his dad died of bone cancer and his mom died of a respiratory disorder. As if that weren't enough, his grandfather had also passed away just a week and a half ago. Wastman had tried out a variety of gigs, from the military to mechanical engineering, but only music made him happy, he said, and the loss of so many family members had made him realize that "there's no guarantees in life so you just gotta do what you love." He'd barely begun crooning "Let's Stay Together" before Cee Lo and Adam turned their chairs, and Blake wasn't far behind. Cee Lo, who thought Wastman was the "total package," tried to convince the hopeful that he was the right coach because he'd been named after Al Green, though Adam quickly called him on that li'l lie. So Cee Lo tried his pitch again--"Nobody does soul music better than Cee Lo Green; let me love you!"--and that one did the trick. Wastman needs a little love, and it looks like he'll get it on Team Cee Lo.
Unfortunately, tonight's ladies didn't fare as well. Both single mom Trevanne Howell (who bravely attempted Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing") and saucy redhead Lorraine Ferro, a 52-year-old voice and songwriting coach whose mom had been an opera singer, went home team-less. Ferro, who declared The Voice "the best show on television," was convinced she was meant to make it and even previewed the excited squeal she'd unleash if the judges pushed their buttons. Alas, her shaky take on Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper" failed to impress. Still, Ferro handled the rejection like a pro, telling the judges she was just happy to have had a shot and seeming to genuinely mean it.
Blake, on the other hand, didn't take rejection so well. After failing to snag a single member for his team all night, Miranda Lambert's better half admitted to feeling a little "loser-y" and resolved to be "more cutthroat" going forward. Christina, you've been warned.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Do any of tonight's contestants have the potential to go all the way?