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Like "American Idol," NBC's "The Voice" lined up some pretty big name judges with Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levin and Blake Shelton.
A third round of "Voice" blind auditions Monday added a new batch hopefuls to the show's starting lineup
Amid the usual bickering over coveted talent, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton each added at least two singers to their teams, which will max out at 12 before the show heads into battle phase.
Last season's "Voice" victor, Adam Levine, won four new team members—more than any other coach. His first pick was a bow-tie and suspender-wearing 19-year-old named Pip who chose Levine over the other three, who spun around in rapid succession to his soulful rendition of "Rising Sun." (The "blind" auditions, as a reminder, require that coaches keep their backs to the singers until they hear something they like.) Despite strong pitches from others ("You know I'm a fighter and I'll fight for your a**," Aguilera said) Pip went with Levine, who also gained Katrina Parker—a 35-year-old rescued from her office cubicle, however temporarily, by Carson Daly. He dropped by her job to invite her on the show. Chris Cauley and Nathan Parrett, featured for just a flash to speed the two-hour show along, also joined Team Levine.
Cee Lo, whose enormous sunglasses did little to belie his reactions, won Sarah Golden, a guitar-playing folk singer, who chose him over country star Blake Shelton, to everyone's surprise. He also won Erin Martin, a petite 27-year-old model (with a surprising Macy Gray voice), who said she was excited to be judged on her voice and not her looks. Cee Lo, grinning widely the moment he caught a glimpse of her, told her how beautiful she was. He loved her voice too, he added. He also won James Massone, a 23-year-old that Cee Lo picked for his "soul." Christina Aguilera mistook him for a teenager.
Shelton added 22-year-old Erin Willitt by default. She shared a story of her father's stage four pancreatic cancer diagnosis before belting out Michael Jackson's "Give Me One More Time." While Aguilera, Shelton and Levine flirted with spinning around, Shelton was the only one to hit the button. He also won Jordis Unga, the night's final performer. He whipped around before she was ten seconds into "Maybe I'm Amazed." Everyone but Levine (who later lamented his choice) turned around and the bickering ensued. "I have time and attention," Aguilera told her. "I'm not off touring," she said, taking a jab at Shelton who had just mentioned his 2012 tour. Brian Fuente, also featured for just a moment, made team Shelton.
Aguilera held out a full hour—longer than any other coach—before she first signaled her approval of a performance. It was Geoff McBride, a middle-aged family man who piqued her interest with his soulful "Higher Ground" performance. "The very first note, you blew me away," she told him. She also grabbed the show's first MC, Moses Stone and walked away with the fewest team members of the night. She admitted that this season she's retooling her strategy and holding out for something special.
Blind auditions continue for a fourth week next Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC.