Reality Rocks

‘The Voice’ Season 5 Blind Auditions, Part 3: Bang-Up Jobs

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

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Juhi Pathak is a standout on Monday's "The Voice"

The third Blind Auditions episode of "The Voice" Season 5 featured a little something for everyone: blues, soul, rock, pop, folk, nepotism. But while the appearance by the sister of a certain sitcom it-girl will undoubtedly make headlines (read on for more about that audition), a few other singers on the show made a truly, um, big bang.

Here's who made it through the Blind Auditions this Monday:

Ray Boudreaux – This Louisiana crooner and single dad was the perfect mix of hipster and hick, belting a sexy, bluesy version of Bill Withers's "Use Me" that was brimming with personality and passion. This was one of the standouts of the night, and a fantastic way to kick off the show. I was surprised that Adam Levine didn't turn his chair (Ray had a bit of Maroon-eyed soul in him), and I think that CeeLo Green, who did turn around, would have been THE perfect coach for Ray. ("We're cut from the same cloth," CeeLo said, also namedropping his pal Bill Withers for good measure.) But Ray went for the coach with the solid track record, three-time winner Blake Shelton. And Blake may soon be a four-time winner, with Ray on his side. The ladies are going to LOVE this guy. I know I already do.
MEMBER OF: Team Blake

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Lina Gaudenzi – This ex-model (and daughter of an ex-model) turned her back on the fashion world and fled to Paris to study classical music. I do think her performance had a few lovely moments, but overall, I believe she has a bit more studying to do. There was a disturbing goatiness to her vibrato (Season 4 coach Shakira probably would have loved Lina!), and I'm sorry, but nobody messes with Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" — one of the best, weepiest ballads EVER — and gets away with it, as far as I'm concerned. However, Christina Aguilera was impressed, spinning around before Blake finally caved in, and she won over opera singer Lina by namedropping her own successful opera-belting Team Xtina alum — without ever saying his actual name. (For those of you with especially short short-term memories, Christina was vaguely referring to Season 2's Chris Mann.) Lina may have a chance, but she certainly won't win this season by a…wait for it…landslide.
MEMBER OF: Team Xtina

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Juhi Pathak – Juhi was another major highlight of the night. The sassy 16-year-old, a '90s fan who quite awesomely dreams of being "a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain," had TEAM CEELO written all over her. She was quirky, artsy, exotic (she learned to sing by listening to her mom perform Indian music), and her rendition of Duffy's "Mercy" was chock full o' soul. This girl was simply cool. CeeLo called her a "kindred spirit" and "family." None of the other coaches ever even had a chance. CeeLo and Juhi clearly go together like Blake Shelton and beer.
MEMBER OF: Team CeeLo

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Justin Blake – This kid's surname was BLAKE, and he did Blake Shelton's "Sure Be Cool If You Did," but the poor kid sure couldn't get Blake to spin for him. In fact, the only coach who did turn was Adam, who didn't even recognize the song. Ha. I understood why Blake and the other coaches weren't so wowed: Justin's bar-band country voice was generic, and as he tried in vain to capture Blake's attention, he sounded increasingly desperate and got a little winded. Justin definitely seemed disappointed at the end of his song, even if he later face-savingly insisted that he wouldn't have necessarily picked Blake for his coach if he'd had the chance, anyway. (Sure, sure.) I have a feeling that Adam, the ultimate "Voice" game-player, simply chose Justin to be a fodder fall guy. But if Justin does make it to the live shows, his blue-collar backstory (he makes $8 an hour and has a baby on the way) could earn him some sympathy votes and keep him in the game longer than expected.
MEMBER OF: Team Adam

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Timyra-Joi – Timyra is one of those perfect, pageanty kids who practically came out of her stage mother's womb singing. Now age 15, the former "Kidz Star" contestant has been in vocal training since she was 5 years old, and her family even moved in with her singing coach after her father lost his job. All those years of practice certainly paid off on "The Voice": Timyra's performance of Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire" was impressive. Her phrasing was a little off, but the chops were there, and she hardly sounded like a little girl. She sounded like a grown woman with some full-grown lungs. It was no surprise that Christina, a onetime child singer with massive lung-power herself, buzzed in first. And while Timyra had previously stated that she longed to be on CeeLo's team, I think she made the right decision when she went with her gut and decided to sign up with Team Xtina instead. This will be a good match.
MEMBER OF: Team Xtina

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Monika Leigh – Monika quit music at age 22 and took a boring regular-person day job as an administrative assistant (how appropriate, then, that she sang "The Thrill is Gone" this week). But her "Voice" audition proved that she was wise to give music one last try. She had a certain sultry, Fiona Apple-ish vibe, and I loved her warm, natural, unfussy vocals, which Adam called "pure." Adam, along with Blake and CeeLo, eagerly courted Monika, but Blake laid it on especially thick by declaring, "I wanna build my team around this girl!" When Monika hesitated, pointing out that she's not a country artist, Blake argued that he's only won the show once with a country singer, Danielle Bradbery, since Season 2's Jermaine Paul sang R&B and Season 3's Cassadee Pope sang rock. I am sure that Cassadee, who's spent every moment since Season 3 wrapped trying to convince all doubters that she's actually a legit Republic Nashville country artist now, really appreciated Blake undoing her months of hard work. But whatever. Blake did what he had to do to get Monika on his team.
MEMBER OF: Team Blake

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Briana Cuoco – There was a lot of pre-audition hype about this girl due to her famous sister, "Big Bang Theory" star Kaley, who actually supportively accompanied Briana to the Blind Auditions. But I don't think Briana did such a bang-up job on the show: When she covered Lady Gaga's "You and I," her pitch was far from perfect, her voice quavered, and she wasn't exactly in sync with the song's beat. It's possible that when Christina and CeeLo hit their buttons, they had a producer barking in their earpieces, tipping them off about this particular contestant's ratings-magnet relative; that would explain how she made it through despite such a shaky performance. Briana eventually joined Team Xtina. Can Christina help this girl, who did show some raw promise, get out of her sister's shadow and find her voice? Christina's track record hasn't been so stellar in the past, but we shall see.
MEMBER OF: Team Xtina

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George Horga Jr. – This son of Romanian immigrants had a nice backstory and an even nicer face, but his cover of Bruno Mars's "Treasure" was just that: nice. The song did pretty much nothing for him, and he certainly didn't come close to matching Bruno's crazy range. I was underwhelmed. Only CeeLo buzzed in, but I think George will end up as fodder. CeeLo has too many strong players on his team already, so I can't imagine this guy surviving the Battles and Knockouts.
MEMBER OF: Team CeeLo

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Anthony Paul, Cilla Chan, and Jacob Poole – Speaking of fodder, here were the first three montage contestants of the season. Poor kids. They didn't even get a full minute of screentime combined. Of the blink-and-you'll-miss-'em trio, rocker Jacob, who had sort of a '90s throwback thing going on, made the most lasting impression. But montage singers never fare well on this show, so Jacob's 16 measly seconds may be all he gets this season.
MEMBERS OF: Teams CeeLo, Blake, Xtina, respectively

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Preston Pohl – Along with Ray and Juhi, Preston was another standout of the night, and his vivacious performance was a great way to cap off the episode. Preston covered MGMT's "Electric Feel" (a fantastically funky tune, back from the days when MGMT were actually good), and he turned it into a skronky, fiery blues jam. He took "The Voice" to church, and not just because he's the former guitarist for Christian rock band StorySide:B (who sadly split up when their bassist, Preston's best friend, passed away). His voice was so interesting and unique, wonderfully raspy and raw, and he kind of reminded me of Season 2 Team CeeLo contestant Jamar Rogers. Preston would have in fact been an excellent addition to CeeLo's ranks, and they seemed to share an instant, easy connection during their post-performance banter. CeeLo looked as shocked as I was when Preston went with Adam instead. Perhaps it was Adam's comparison of Preston to the late, great Marvin Gaye that sealed the deal. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if CeeLo tries to steal this guy in the Battle Rounds.
MEMBER OF: Team Adam

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Okay, let's recap: So far, Team Adam consists of Justin Blake, Preston Pohl, and last week's Barry Blake, Tessanne Chin, Donna Allen, Nic Hawk, and James Wolpert. Team Xtina comprises Lina Gaudenzi, Timyra-Joi, Briana Cuoco, Jacob Poole, and last week's Jacquie Lee, Destinee Quinn, Matthew Schuler, and Josh Logan. CeeLo has Juhi Pathak, George Horga Jr., Anthony Paul, and previous auditioners Cole Vosbury, Jonny Gray, Kat Robichaud, and Caroline Pennell. And finally, Team Blake's lineup is Ray Boudreaux, Monika Leigh, Cilla Chan, and last week's Austin Jenckes, Holly Henry, E.G. Daily, and Shelbie Z.

Looking at this list, all of the teams have their share of both frontrunners and also-rans, but I'd say CeeLo has the strongest team so far, and Christina has the weakest. Will CeeLo finally win? Is Team Xtina doomed yet again? Maybe, but the auditions are not over, so all of the coaches still have a chance to make a big bang this season.

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