‘The Voice’ Season 4, Episode 3: Swon Songs, Facepalms, and Nerdy Girls
"The Voice" continued apace and continued its awesomeness this Monday, with a two-hour episode that totally had me testifying at Adam Levine's "Jewish church." (That joke will make sense in a few paragraphs if you keep reading, which I suggest you do.) Here's who made it through--along with a couple of dishonorable mentions of notable contestants who didn't--on Monday night:
The Swon Brothers - These siblings had their shtick down pat. It was like they'd rehearsed their hokey-jokey stage banter as much as they'd rehearsed their actual song. "You guys just heard your first Swoncert," one of 'em whooped, adding, "He's known as 'the face' and I'm known as 'the talent'!" (Incidentally, the cuter one, Colton "The Face" Swon, once tried out for "American Idol" Season 7.) Well, I love me some good stage banter, and honestly, I wouldn't mind if there was a whole reality competition dedicated to banter alone, like "Banter Idol" or "The X Banter." (NOBODY STEAL THAT IDEA, PLEASE.) So I was charmed, I admit it. I was also a sucker for this duo's song choice, "American Girl"--what American rock fan doesn't love a little Tom Petty?--and so were the judges and hooting audience members. But it was hard to separate the awesome stage presence and awesome song choice from the actual singers; did these guys have great voices, or were they just great fun? Or both? Eventually three of the judges turned around (Adam, the one I thought would dig the Swons the most, was apparently too busy air-drumming to hit his button). And Blake Shelton's eager adoption of the brothers' punny humor--he called them "Swinners" and said they'd soon be able to say they'd "Swon" on "The Voice"--sealed the deal. I'm still not sure if the Swons have what it takes to get far on this show, but I am sure they'll get up to some fun with Blake while their tenure on "The Voice" lasts.
MEMBER OF: Team Blake
Taylor Beckham - This former aspiring Olympic gymnast with the sporty surname obviously came to the show knowing a thing or two (or three) about competition. But I don't think this Beckham was quite ready for the big leagues. The 17-year-old Texan's vocals were very thin and reedy--something that may not have been so noticeable if she'd gone with a different song choice, but the Rose Royce/Mary J. Blige classic "I'm Going Down" was ALL WRONG for this kid. I was genuinely shocked that the panel's resident R&B expert, Usher, swiveled his chair first, or swiveled it at all. But Usher was really, really keen, and he fought hard to win Taylor away from the other coach who turned, Shakira. Shakira pointed out that she too was a former gymnast, not to mention a former teen singer, but Usher's unbridled enthusiasm won out, and Taylor signed up for Team Usher in the end. My guess is she will wind up being fodder on his team, but maybe Usher can coax out her innate competitive spirit--and help her choose better songs--and she'll be able to go for the gold.
MEMBER OF: Team Usher
Karina Iglesias - Karina is a real-life school-of-rock-style music teacher in Miami, and when producers showed scenes of her jamming with her young students, I wished that was a spin-off reality show, too. (NOBODY STEAL THAT IDEA EITHER!) When Karina got onstage to belt a Spanglish version of Melissa Etheridge's "I'm The Only One" (with her stroke-victim grandmother watching in the wings; pass the Kleenex, please), I got some real Vicci Martinez realness from her. This little lady had some serious lung power! And she gave me some Iron Maiden realness at the end, with her blood-curdling, toe-curling scream. Adam and Blake both hit their buttons at the last minute, uncoincidentally right around the time of that metal scream. (Bizarrely, Shakira, who didn't turn, hadn't realized that Karina was Latina; somehow those Spanish lyrics hadn't been a tipoff. Shakira should stop constantly eyeballing the coaches next to her, and pay more attention to her own ears.) Anyhoo, Adam quipped, "I thought the light fixtures were going to explode!" Said Blake: "It was almost like you were pushing the gas pedal. Like, 'Okay, you think this is as far as I can go? Watch this!' There was so much energy." Both judges rallied, but Karina's mind was clearly already made up. "I've been waiting to say these words ever since I started watching the show," she said. "I'm gonna pick…Adam!" I think Adam and Karina will rock pretty hard together; I expect to see more Adam air-drumming on "The Voice" very soon.
MEMBER OF: Team Adam