Tonight, judges Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will be rounding out their teams on blind auditions for “The Voice.” It’s NBC’s new reality show where judges have to pick out teams of the best voices they hear without seeing each contestant’s face—and without getting vertigo from the spinny chairs.
Here are the rules: Each performer auditions to the four judges, whose backs are turned. If the judges opt to select the artist, that performer joins their team. If more than one judge hits his or her “I Want You” button, those judges barter for that performer’s services.
Each judge gets eight picks. It’s the fantasy draft of heartwarming talent shows, but with better music than American Idol. Simple enough, right?
Here’s what each team looks like after the first round of auditions, and how we think the judges did with their selections.
The leader in the clubhouse: Adam.
Jeff – A jolly 22-year-old with a booming voice in country tones. He had the first performance to turnaround all for judges. Adam was straight up clamoring for him. Jeff is the definition of what this show is about. He’d be on the fringe of making it to Hollywood on American Idol. He’s a juggernaut on this show.
Rebecca – She lives in her car — and you could kind of tell in her witchcraft-inspired performance of Nirvana’s “Come as You Are.” That song is supposed to be depressing, but it’s not supposed to be background music in the movie “Labyrinth.” She has a beautiful, strong voice, though. And Adam likes her ability to transform songs, even if she made this one slightly creepier.
Javier – Ah, the big get. Javier’s an acoustic singer/songwriter Dad with the best voice in the contest. He made “Time After Time” interesting, for God’s sake. Every judge turned around. Then it was like LeBron James’ Decision 2.0.
Adam’s X-Factor (pun intended): Levine is the most relatable, human coach in the contest. He wants to win, and he’s actually funny (“Shame about your looks,” he said to the objectively gorgeous Kelsey.) He used the most discretion in picking bubble candidates and then swindled them accordingly. He’s actually using a true strategy.
“Do you accept redos in exchange for personal checks and/or certified Platinum records?” — Blake
Patrick – Requisite country singer. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Elenowen – A super-creepy couple that benefitted from their shtick and a great song (Glen Hansard’s “Falling Slowly” from the Oscar-winning indie “Once.”) Still, they’re exactly like the creepy “Lovers” sketch from Saturday Night Live.
Xenia – She’s a tremendously sweet high school student with a kind of cool, but weak-seeming voice. We’re rooting for her, but it’s probably not a good thing if “we’re rooting for her” is the best thing we can say about your team.
Blake’s X-Factor: He has his pick of the litter on country stars if he turns around in time. He also seems like he’s desperate to win.
All he has to do is press the button and that person will work with him: Cee-Lo.
Vicci – She nailed Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which is immensely tough to nail. And she had a choice between Cee-Lo and Christina Aguilera for a voice coach, which is not a bad decision to have to make if you’re a soul singer.
Kelsey – She’s accidentally crazy attractive (we say this because the judges didn’t know it), but it doesn’t matter. She chose a very cool, almost exotic pop song, (Estelle’s “American Boy”) and more than did it justice. She’s one of the better singers in the competition.
Tje – Cee-Lo Green has a protégé. Tje’s a fro’d-out dude with a great voice. He rounds out the team with the least weaknesses through the first week of auditions.
Cee-Lo’s X-Factor: He defines cool right now. His team is whoever he wants it to be.
Island of Misfit Toys: Christina.
Teema – A solid, if unspectacular R&B singer who is ceaselessly sweet. She’d be a great utility player for Xtina’s softball team, the Genies in a Bottle.
Beverly – Welp, this is what this show is about. It’s a 41-year-old Debbie Gibson, if Debbie Gibson had been arrested several times for arson and assault and battery. She’s, um, a character. Actually, no: She’s way over-the-top, sort of terrible, and Christina is stuck with her.
Frenchie – Frenchie could win or lose the contest for Christina’s team. She was cast off American Idol a few years ago because topless photos of her surfaced from when she was a struggling-for-cash 19-year-old. She’s since been on “Rent” on Broadway. Her performance was a little shoddy, but she was quite a talent steal.
Christina’s X-Factor: It’s pretty clear that she’s going to be the best vocal and performance coach for this contest. Her team is pretty dynamic, too, which could be a benefit, in a ragtag, “A-Team” sort of way.
The Voice airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. E.T. on NBC and is available on Hulu on Wednesday morning.