'The Voice': New Contestants, Hidden Pasts
If you don't make it to the finals on one TV singing show, change your hometown, your predicament and musical buddy when you head to another. Or so it goes on the second night of "The Voice" season two premiere last night (Feb. 6).
That path was taken by one Jamar Rogers, seen on "American Idol's" eighth season when he and Danny Gokey were representing Milwaukee and singing gospel. On "The Voice," he's out of the Bronx, a former crystal meth addict, HIV positive and singing The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army," which landed him on Cee Lo Green's team.
Not necessarily the best audition, but certainly one of the better stories of struggle and survival. (No, NBC's show did not mention his prior life on the Fox show). This is quickly becoming "The Voice's" stock in trade: Performers on the older side with a story that tends to make them sound like they have been stuck in their hometown until "The Voice" came along.
Take Gwen Sebastian. The TV story: 37 and putting the idea of starting a family on hold just in case this music thing takes off and all her friends in Hebron, ND, will be proud of her. Truth: She is based in Nashville and has released three CDs. We'll be seeing her on Blake Shelton's team.
Kim Yarbrough. TV story: 50, she has taken every job she possibly could, from potato chip factory worker to Dave Matthews security detail. Truth: She has also been an actress with a fair number of small TV roles. Her rendition of Rufus' "Tell Me Something Good" landed her on Adam Levine's team, giving him the task of convincing her that because she might resemble Chaka Khan, she does not need to imitate her.
Dez Duron. TV story: Gave up a Yale football career to follow in the footsteps of his father, a former college quarterback who opted to have a gospel singing career that Dez believes resulted in him winning a Grammy. Truth: Denny Duron has never won a Grammy, according to the Recording Academy's database. And Dez was only on the JV squad. Fortunately, the annoying quiver in his voice on The Backstreet Boy's "I Want it That Way" got no response from the judges.
Host Carson daly got his wish when Air Force Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson proved she was more than a YouTube sensation, landing on Cee Lo's team. Daly had seen a video from Johnson, tracked her down and secured an audition for her.
Background singer Jermaine Paul, aka Alicia Keys' buddy, impressed the male judges and went with Blake Shelton; Lindsey Pavao, who tweeted on Tuesday that her high school nickname was John Mayer, won over Christina Aguilera with a Fiona Apple-esque version of Trey Songz's "Say Aah" that indicated breath control issues. Like every other contestant, she has things to work on.
As for the judges themselves, they took to the stage for a medley of Prince hits during last night's episode. Watch below.