Written by Jennifer Amato
I am thrilled to announce that ‘the voice’ is back on The Voice.
In her much anticipated return, Christina Aguilera reclaimed her seat among judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams during the Season 8 premiere of The Voice on Feb. 23 (Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m., NBC).
In just the first minutes of the show, Aguilera proved once again why she is so valuable to the show, both for the musicians and for the ratings: she is a musical powerhouse. During the opening celebrity rendition of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” she overpowered her singing counterparts with her throaty, earthy tones.
I had high expectations for the show and looked forward to Aguilera coming back – especially after the opening number – but I have to admit, tonight’s episode echoed every episode prior and lacked the spike in chemistry I was hoping Aguilera would bring.
However, there were some standout performers who raised the bar, most of whom are still teenagers. Lowell Oakley, 19, has a combination of Michael Buble’s boyish charm and Frank Sinatra’s crooning style. Sixteen-year-old Treeva Gibson has two deaf parents and lost hearing of her own in her mid-tone range when she was 13. Blues singer Sawyer Fredericks nailed the last performance with a vintage style reminiscent of someone much older who lived decades before.
Other contestants to watch include 34-year-old Sarah Potenza, who echoes the raw grittiness of Aguilera’s voice. Rob Taylor is probably able to break glass with his voice, which bodes well for a duet with Aguilera at some point. Joshua Davis will undoubtedly climb the ladder of “The Voice” chain with his unique rock/folksiness.
In addition to listening to talents whose voices stay with you long after the show ends, leaving a lasting impression on your auditory senses, a humorous moment was the realization by Shelton that contestant Meghan Linsey was someone he toured with years ago. Since he had not turned his chair for her, it shows that this show is completely unprejudiced and works for garnering raw talent. Never more had I appreciated the premise of the show than in this moment.
Yet overall, the talent of the musicians made more of an impression than the banter between the judges, which mimicked past seasons. I wasn’t a fan of Williams last year as a judge and haven’t seen him add much tonight; plus, the references to “Happy” are way too overplayed. I think Aguilera’s flirtations toward the boys will add spice to the panel, which right now is missing chemistry.
Despite tonight’s show being a bit slow and, dare I say, boring, I definitely recommend watching the rest of the blind auditions, the knockout rounds and of course the live shows because every season is always full of dynamic talent. If history repeats itself, I guarantee that as the season progresses so will the competitive nature of the judges. This promises to be an exciting, enjoyable, entertaining season.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.