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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Voice, Oct. 7 – Finishing Up the Blinds

It’s the last of the blind auditions. None of the coaches have many spots left on their team, and they’re all being super-picky. Cee Lo Green, of course, has the most spots open still on his team, but that’s because no one is picking him … until tonight.

Auditioner: Matt Cermanski, 20, Phoenixville, PA. He auditioned for the show before and sang Teenage Dream. He likes to put his own twist on music and did, but realizes now it wasn’t the best song for an audition. This time he wants to play his guitar and control his nerves more. Adam had told him last year to find himself as an artist, and that’s what he’s been working on, playing gigs and taking some lessons.

Song: Have a Little Faith In Me
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: He’s really impressive from the first few notes, and Adam is the first to turn his chair, which must mean a lot to Matt after his words to him last year.
Adam: He recognizes him right away.
Cee Lo: He did a great job and sounded great.
Blake: Hearing him play with his falsetto was almost like watching a cat play with a mouse. He was just having fun, and that type of versatility in ninety seconds can win the show for you
Adam: He loves that he’s back again, and it shows resilience, especially to go from no chairs to three chairs.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Diego Roman Navaira, 22, San Antonio, TX. He calls his voice raw rock/punk and super energetic. He grew up in a family of musicians. His father his Emilio Navaira, a Tejano music singer. Emilio, a Grammy winner, and Selena have been credited with bringing that genre to the mainstream. He has a respect for the genre, but he’s a rocker at heart and is in a band with his brother.

Song: Rebel Yell
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He seems to be trying to be Billy Idol a little too much. It’s okay to move away from what he grew up with, but then he needs to cut his own path all the way around.
Adam: He’s honest with him, telling him he only has one spot left on his team and is being super-picky.
Cee Lo: Cee Lo agrees, saying he’s being super-picky as well with only a few spots left.
Blake: He doesn’t know what the hell he would have done with Diego, but he did think he sang really good.
Christina: With the energy coming through the speakers, they could tell someone was up there giving it everything they have.

Auditioner: Tamara Chauniece, 23, Wharton, TX. Her mom is a minister, and Tamara got into music through church. She started doing gigs when she was growing up and recorded her first album at 11. At 18 she felt like she hadn’t had her breakthrough and became a leasing agent, yet always knew in the back of her mind that music was what she was meant to do.

Song: 1 + 1
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: You can hear the gospel in her voice loud and clear.
Adam: She is beautiful and has a beautiful voice.
Cee Lo: Both of his parents were ministers as well, but he became a singer. She offers to save him and asks him to “come to Jesus,” pointing to herself, leading him to comment, “Jesus look good.”
Christina: Tamara touched her heart and says she started singing at 7 years old as well.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Brandon Chase, 20, Arlington, TX. He’s very driven, and music is his passion. He tested out of his junior and senior years of high school and graduated college at 17. He then took a trip down to Nashville to soak up some country music. He wants his music to show people there’s more to life. He was very sick as a newborn, and his mom feels God saved him and gave him music.

Song: Wanted
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He has a great voice that can be country, but doesn’t have to be. It will give him many options.
Blake: Country music isn’t something you can fake, and he heard the real deal in Brandon.
Cee Lo: He doesn’t even look at that song as country. He sees it as soul, as it struck a chord with him.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Lupe Carroll, 26, Bourbonnais, IL. He’s been delivering flowers for three years and compares it to being the ice cream man. He enjoys making people’s days and making them happy. He started singing when he was young and would get to perform at a small restaurant in town and at the Farmer’s Market. He and his wife met while playing music, became best friends, then got married.

Song: If I Were a Carpenter
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: He has a great sincerity when he sings, and I hope that’s coming out even to the coaches who have their backs to him.
Cee Lo: After confirming the audience loved him, he says he might be a little crazy, but he’s not stupid and that sounded damn good.
Adam: He has a compelling voice and does things other people don’t do.
Blake: He does’t know why he hesitated, but he damn sure did, and he damn sure screwed up.
Christina: She thinks it’s cool to make his living the way he does, yet come out and put himself out there on the show and impress Cee Lo the way he did.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Grey, 25, Jacksonville, FL. She’s been singing country since before she could talk. Out of high school, she went to Berkley College of Music and recently graduated. She’s in a wedding band right now, but it’s not what she wants to do the rest of her life. She also works in retail, as it pays the bills at the end of the day.

Song: Catch My Breath
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She has a great voice but doesn’t project as much as she could. It’s hard to hear her … until the chorus, and that sounds amazing.
Blake: His chair gets turned back around, and he tells her he likes her a lot and actually did a 360 for her. He already believes she can win this thing.
Cee Lo: Her voice was plain and simple and polite and accommodating and warm and friendly.
Christina: She kept getting better as the song went on.
Adam: He thinks she’s extraordinary and felt she got bigger and better when the pressure was on.
Coach: Adam, taking the last spot on his team.

Auditioner: Dominic Scott Kay, 17, Malibu, CA. He started singing very young and knew he wanted to do music more than anything else. He has brought actor Neal McDonough with him. They starred in the movie Minority Report together 13 years ago. Dominic was Tom Cruise’s son in the same film and was also the voice of Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web and did Pirates of the Caribbean. He wants to end up in music, though, and that’s because of his other celebrity connection. His dad is the drummer for The Commodores, leading to his audition choice.

Song: Easy
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He’s super cute, which could hurt him with people painting him as a boy band wanna be or something. If it were earlier in the blinds, he probably would have turned a chair or two.
Adam: He has something real cool, and Ada knows they were all contemplating hitting their buttons. Lionel Ritchie made the notes longer to make it work in the song.
Blake: If Dominic wouldn’t sing in his head and would move it down and open up his voice, it wouldn’t be so nasally, which is odd coming from the country singer.

Auditioner: Michael Lynch, 27, Chicago. His style of music is pop, with a little bit of Latin infusion He studied Spanish in school and used music to learn the language. He’s singing Bailamos to show his respect for the Latin culture. He started performing more in college, then after he graduated he moved to Mexico City to go to a music school. Being an American, it was a tough industry to break into, so he moved back to Chicago and is now landscaping but singing on the weekends.

Song: Bailamos
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: He has some great power and does great Latin flavor despite not being Latin.
Blake: His pitch is so amazing when he gets on a note and just sits on it.
Cee Lo: He just knew he was gonna be Latin, but he’s not. He’s 100% Irish
Christina: As she questions him on his song choice, he tells her he wants to do what she and Enrique Iglesias have done with English and Spanish.
Adam: He figures Shakira is sitting at home, saying, “NO! What happened?”
Coach: Christina. He takes the last spot on her team, and she comes up and joins him, dancing and singing to Bailamos.

Auditioner: Deanna Johnson, 17, Hazelhurst, GA. Her town is really small, so there aren’t many places to sing other than church and rodeos. She doesn’t want to do country, though; she wants to sing R&B and pop. She’s never sang for this many people before but has been singing since her dad got her a karaoke machine.

Song: Stars
Chairs Turned: None

Me: She doesn’t want to sing country, but her phrasing of everything comes out country. Perhaps a little more time and maturity will have her figuring out what she really wants to do.
Adam: He calls it interesting and different, yet she’s young and there’s a lot to work on still.
Christina: They were all struck by the gentleness and interesting tone of her voice.
Cee Lo: Her voice sounds so different than the way she looks, so that would have been cool in his world.
Blake: He thinks she’s no more than eight months to a year away from being someone who could win the show.

Auditioner: Brian Pounds, 24, Austin, TX. He’s a full-time soul singer/songwriter and musician. His family was very athletic, with his brother playing baseball, his dad playing football, and his mom was an all-state basketball player. He himself wanted to be a pro baseball player. But before his senior year, he decided to concentrate on music. After college he started doing gigs wherever he could, despite it not being very lucrative. He’s giving up a lot to do this for a living.

Song: Wagon Wheel
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He’s really good, but I like the original version of this song more.
Blake: He has a great, clear pitch and voice, good for country music. It’s about telling stories, and you have to be able to understand them.
Christina: She hears a good solid voice, but thinks while Blake is an obvious choice, Cee Lo has a great way of taking an artist and bringing them out, getting them to experiment.
Cee Lo: Blake doesn’t want him to be experimented with, but Cee Lo asks why he makes it sound so terrible, as people are cured from illnesses and diseases because of it.
Adam: He wants to hear it for artistic freedom.
Coach: Blake, taking the last spot on his team.

Auditioner: Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith, 32, Utica, NY. He’s like a singing bartender, doing a little of both. He was in the Army, and during a tour of Iraq ran over an I.E.D. It gave him a severe concussion and eighty percent hearing loss. It was hard to come home and transition to life back home again. The worlds and lyrics in his audition song speak to him.

Song: Chicken Fried
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: It’s probably not the best audition song. It doesn’t really show his voice as best as it could.
Cee Lo : He asked the people behind him to show him a sign if they liked Shawn, and they did. Shawn says his sign is the one on his belt – “Big Sexy.”
Adam: He thinks he did a great job and sounded great.
Coach: Cee Lo, taking the last spot on his team and the last of the blinds.

I still think more artists should have picked Cee Lo, especially the ones who were more unique. As they keep saying, no one is more unique than him. The judges all tried to pick something different for their teams this year, looking for that win, but that just means those artists will be among the first to go, as I’m not sure if the coaches that don’t do unique understand how to coach unique.

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