From the first moments of the debut episode of "The Voice," it was clear that not only was this going to be a different kind of music show, but that opening segment would go down as one of the highlights of Season 1.
Of course, I'm talking about when coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton took the stage to perform Green's song "Crazy," sending notice to all those other wanna-be music contests -- this one was going to be run by real musicians at the top of their game, not has-beens, car peddlers and self-appointed industry types.
You've been served, Simon Cowell.
While the coaches recently got together to discuss their favorite moments, here are a few more of my personal favorites of Season 1, if you can possibly narrow it down to a handful for a show that can make a music-competition-show-hater into a lover as it did me.
Speaking of "Crazy," and perhaps being a little crazy, what kind of man dares sing another man's song to him? And with so much at stake? Why, Nakia, of course. But the risk paid off when Green turned his chair for him and added him to his team. Green's reaction to seeing the man singing his song was priceless.
Likewise, when Aguilera and Levine turned around for the bald and heavily-tattooed Beverly McClellan, who showed everyone what this contest was really about, with a voice even more fierce than her unconventional appearance. It isn't hard to see how appearance may have hindered McClellan's musical career, but rivals Levine and Aguilera proved they only cared about the soulful singer's voice, sparring to sway her to their respective sides. On this battle, Aguilera won the round, but she and Levine were far from done with each other -- they battled for several contestants, most notably when Levine lured away Javier Colon, who eventually won the competition.
Speaking of sparring, the tension and competitive spirit between the Maroon 5 crooner and "Burlesque" diva went back and forth all season. While Levine repeatedly denied hard feelings, it was apparent at times he was rather irritated with Aguilera criticizing his team's performances, and at one point she interrupted him while he was talking, as if she didn't even realize (or care) he was trying to make a point. "Get used to it," she shot back at Levine, when he pointed out the faux pas.
Glad to see you playing nice, but admit it, Adam, you were stewing. It was all over your face (which the camera made sure to cut to whenever they were going at it.)
Aguilera certainly had no hard feelings for cowboy Patrick Thomas, who she repeatedly flirted with after his performances, even going as far as calling him a "cutie," and asking him to take his cowboy hat off. When Thomas complied, she responded "Can you take your pants off?'
And of course, I have to give another nod to the "bromance" between Levine and the towering giant of country, Shelton. The pair fed off each others' wit, including when Levine commented on how much bigger the 6'5" Shelton was than the rest of his team as they stood on stage. Shelton -- with his notoriously raunchy sense of humor -- clarified Levine meant "length," rather than width, then added, "that's what she said."
Everyday People, Indeed
Perhaps the most fitting performance for the show was when Green's team performed the vibe-appropriate "Everyday People" in Afro wigs and retro costumes straight from The Brady Bunch vaults. The song was the perfect reflection of the true friendliness amongst contestants and coaches (except maybe two, anyway.) And the free-for-all love fest amongst the different genres, with an open embrace to all colors, genders and sexuality -- from day one, the sexuality of three of the top eight was never an issue with "The Voice," unlike other shows who wanted contestants to hide the fact they are gay. (You know who you are.)
And who can forget the kiss between cowboy, Curtis Grimes and the LA-punk girl, Emily Valentine after they went head to head for elimination? I also loved seeing the supermodel-dating, chick-magnet Levine telling the bald, plus-size, African-American goddess Frenchie Davis that "there is something so beautiful about you," and it was clear he sincerely meant it.
But when all is said and done, it really was about the performances. From Dia Frampton's stunning (and competition-changing) take on Kanye West's "Heartless," to Vicci Martinez and Niki Dawson slugging it out (in the best way) on Pink's "Perfect," to the over-the-top duet of Green and team finalist Martinez, no other show has given us so many mind-blowing performances.
While the latter is the most-cited favorite, I can't help but think the hands-down number one performance was Colon and Stevie Nicks performing "Landslide." But then I'm a sucker for Ms. Nicks, and for Levine getting in touch with his sensitive side.
Ah, who am I kidding -- for Levine, period. That man is hot. And not even remotely as douchey as he sometimes comes across in old videos. Who knew he was actually such a cool guy?
If you loved Season 1, know this time around each coach is starting with 12 rather than eight contestants. So expect even more dazzling performances and battles for team members. If you didn't see Season 1, what are you waiting for? Tune in for the season premiere February 5 after Super Bowl XLVI.
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