"Three weeks ago, the world's most exciting singing competition returned." What unfortunate timing for this show, to have to compete with that. Okay, kidding! I've never watched The Voice. But apparently, the stakes couldn't be higher! Also, this is the final night of blind auditions, which probably doesn't mean what I hope it does.
15-year-old Floridian "Natalie Hernandez" talks about the recitals she did when she was "young," which from what I'm guessing is the viewing demographic is enough to make the people at home hold back sobs. On the plus side, she's got more poise than Carson.
After endless blather about what this would mean to her, Natalie takes her place on stage to sing Taylor Swift's "White Horse," and she's got a nice and slightly smoky enough voice that Blake and then Christina immediately hit their buttons like they're judges on The Gong Show and someone just came out with a marionette. (How do you like that reference, Natalie?) The pressure off, she has fun with the rest of the song, and soon Adam is ringing in too, and I have to say the highlight of my evening would be him turning around to face me whether I were singing or not.
So Cee Lo is the only one with no skin in this game, so he makes a neutral intro. Blake deflates a little when Natalie tells him country music is not actually her forte; he gamely gives her the hardest sell of the three of them, but in the end she chooses Christina, which given her style I think makes sense. Blake is either mad or "mad," and I wouldn't be surprised if both happen quite a bit. Christina's reasonably restrained in her celebration, which you can pull off a lot better if, as she does, you have a black hand fan. Natalie's parents make braying parent noises, and then we learn that Christina only has one spot left on her team.
Next up is this hilarious collar-popping loser "Rod Michael," 31 years old, from Allentown PA. Apparently when he was 19, he got signed to a boy band in Europe called B3, which: You can be a pro on this show? That's good news for my ears. Of course, just because he was in a boy band doesn't mean he ever actually sang, but still. Obviously it's not a secret, so it must be kosher, although they could be letting him on because he and Carson are related, which is the only explanation I can think of why Carson looks so nervous. Anyway, he sounds like boy-band Velveeta to me on some Michael Posner song called "Please Don't Go," and the judges do not so much elbow each other out of the way on this one, which is kind of hilarious, because it leaves him doing his little shtick at the backs of four chairs, and I'm starting to see the appeal of the show here. Rod's appeal makes less sense, and his hair less still.