April 27, 2011 1:12pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Who Are 'The Voice' Standouts?
After its two-hour premiere Tuesday night, the teams on NBC's The Voice are half set.
America has been reintroduced to Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton as coaches on the singing competition that judges talent on ability alone and we're beginning to get a feel for them. Levine is playing it smart, Aguilera is looking for the big booming voices, Shelton is staying true to his country roots and Green is proving to be the biggest risk taker of the lot.
So after Week 1, who are the early front-runners?
The weakest of the four teams after Week 1, Aguilera selected Tarralyn Ramsey, former American Idol Frenchie Davis and Beverly McClellan. McClellan stands out after belting out Janice Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" with what the coaches noted was the most enthusiasm of all 12 artists. She's already released five independent albums and has performed locally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for nearly 20 years.
Levine was the most critical of the coaches off the bat, going with Jeff Jenkins, Rebecca Loebe and early front-runner Javier Colon. His team is incredibly strong but Colon's take on Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" was delightfully chilling. The former frontman of the Derek Trucks Band parted ways with the group in 2002 and went out on his own, and was signed by Capitol Records shortly afterward. He has three albums and an EP already under his belt. Loebe¹s stirring take on Nirvana's "Come As You Are" lands her near the top of the pack, close behind Colon, as does Jenkins' touching performance and back story.
The most diverse mix, Green selected Vicci Martinez, Kelsey Rey and Tje Austin. Austin may have had Aguilera kicking herself for not fighting for him but it's Martinez -- who covered Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" -- who likely has the best shot among the early trio. She's released five independent solo albums and a live DVD and, despite winning American Idol's Season 1 regional tryouts in Tacoma, Wash., turned down the trip to the second round because she thought the contract was too prohibitive. She also appeared on CBS' Star Search in 2003.
Shelton stuck with what he knows best and selected artists who sing to his strengths in Patrick Thomas, duo Elenowen and Xenia. The duo concept is a new one for the format and Josh and Nicole Johnson's take on Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's "Falling Slowly" could throw a wrench into the singing competition. However, it's 16-year-old Xenia -- who belted out The Script's "Break Even (Falling to Pieces)" -- who has the most raw talent of the lot and will only grow into her unique voice under Shelton's tutelage.
A repeat of Tuesday's premiere airs Wednesday on NBC. New episodes return Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.