The Voice- Still Blind, Still Awesome (ep. 3) and Smash (ep. 2)

Published On: Mar 06 2012 02:10:33 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 15 2012 09:11:58 AM CST

Welcome back! Didn’t get a chance to watch The Voice or Smash? Have no fear. Dena the NBC Prime Time Blogger is here! (I tried to think of something catchier, but I feel pragmatism is best in these types of situations.)

The Voice

Well we have to start off with a shout out to our Houstonian rock star, Sarah Golden. WAY TO BE, LADY. Her super sincere, no-BS vocals won me over, and I’m glad she ended up with Cee-Lo, who might push her to stretch creatively.

This episode was less about the judges and more about the contestants, perhaps for the first time this season. And the thing is… I’m not quite sure I like it. The sob stories are nice every now and again, but how much can you really feel for every single contestant whose parent is sick or has suffered some sort of brain trauma that everyone thought would leave him/her paralyzed/mute/cross-eyed? Like Katrina Parker, the Insurance Worker that Looks like an Overgrown Blonde Shirley Temple—really? Mold? Katrina Parker: The Untold Inspirational Tale of Sickness, Courage and Fungus. Less crying. More singing. Unless of course you’re that adorable Boy from the Body Shop in Baaaaahston, James Massone, and you’re crying because you feel validated. In that case, cry all you like. It’s precious and endearing. And I’m a sucker for a 23-year-old manchild in a Letterman jacket who sings like a sweeter, less-abusive version of Chris Brown. (He went to Team Cee-Lo by the way. So very many people did this episode… it’s gotta be the cat.)

Then there was the Gorgeous Lesbian Model Warrior Princess, who I immediately hated on sight. But then she opened her mouth and wouldn’tcha know it, her sound is super cool and interesting. Although my favorite part of her entire audition was the exchange between Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo before she got on stage:

Blake: “Sounds like heels.”

Cee-Lo: “You’re riiiiiiight…”

Behold the brilliance of the Dynamic Detective Duo of Blay-Lo.

There were, however, some serious standouts, like this Pip character that looks like a cross between a Fagin Boy from Oliver Twist and Justin Bieber in suspenders. I’d give him a creative nickname but honestly, I don’t think I could conceive of something more fitting than Pip. It always astounds me when a 19-year-old kid has that kind of power and stage presence. He’s a staaaaah. And I’d buy his album today.

The judges passed over quite a few contestants this episode, and one person who I think deserved a buzz was David Grace, the Football Dude turned Musician. I found his rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” to be stylized without losing the integrity and vibe of the original song. The dips and modulations Blake and Adam were talking about I thought were certainly purposeful and added a little something special to make his sound unique. I really hope he gets a second shot and that someone (cough ADAM LEVINE cough) picks him up and lets him rock out.

All four coaches seemed to really be into the final contestant of the evening, Jordis, but all I really took away was that homegirl can do a mean powersquat in heels.

Man, remember Christina Milian? Apparently no one else does, either. You know your singing career’s in the gutter when all you can contribute to a vocal competition are your services as a Social Media Correspondent…

Onwards and upwards!

Smash

I feel as though I really went into this show full throttle, with a no holds barred 100% I-support-the-arts-therefore-I-support-Smash attitude. But in order to really see this show for what it is, one must acknowledge both its successes and the failures, the ringing high notes and the awkward, talentless, flat ones. Yes, the premiere episode was outstanding. Yes, the talent of the cast cannot be denied (in most cases— I’ll get back to this later). But the question for me has always been, “Can this show really hold up for an entire season? Does the story line provide enough support for all of the musical numbers I want to see? CAN KATHERINE MCPHEE ACTUALLY ACT?!” I feel this sophomore episode has answered a few of those questions.

First, a recap: This second episode is called “The Callback,” and essentially we see Ivy and Karen battle it out and finally learn who clinches the role of Marilyn (THEY MADE US WAIT A WHOLE 2 EPISODES?! RUTHLESS. I’ll only make you wait until the end of this paragraph.) What’s crazy to me is they both actually look like Marilyn. NBC, how did you do that?? Well I suppose with a little help from the Make-Up Fairy we can all look like pretty much anyone (Am I right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2BdIexyvo). But I digress. If you thought Karen’s late night rendezvous with a sexy British director put a strain on her relationship with the boyfriend, you should see what happens when she’s late for dinner. Clearly, there is a very high priority placed on punctuality. In other news, Julia’s husband is having second thoughts about the adoption after they realize it will take upwards of two years for them to actually get their baby from China. Besides, he wants to return to his passion of… teaching… science…? By the end of the episode, Julia reels hubby back in with an emotional, flowery letter to the future birth mother of her child, to which the social worker silently auction claps. Eileen (Anjelica Huston) lays the smack down on her creepy soon-to-be-ex-husband in a restaurant. Sexy Director Man chooses to work on Marilyn instead of My Fair Lady, validating Eileen and assuring us that Smash will, in fact, go on. But by far the highlight of the episode is the 20th Century Fox Mambo, the musical number staged and choreographed by Derek (aka Sexy Director Man), featuring Karen Cartwright. Now THAT is what I’m talking about. And THAT is why I watch this show. And finally, the grand reveal: IVY IS MARILYN! EXPERIENCE WINS OVER DOE EYES! THERE IS JUSTICE IN THE THEATER WORLD! … Well, she did sleep with the guy. Oh did I forget to mention that? The whole casting couch thing, apparently it’s real. At least in the Smash world.

As to whether or not Katherine McPhee (Karen Cartwright) can act… the jury is still out. One thing, however, is for certain: she has that doe-eyed, ingénue-y, Marilyn at Marilyn’s best thing DOWN. She always kind of looks like she’s on the brink of crying but is determined to keep her chin up, and I dig it. But for some reason I don’t buy her relationship with the boyfriend… it seems pretty flat, there’s very little chemistry and he seems more like her English tutor than her boyfriend. Clearly she has WAY more chemistry with Sexy Director Man, but let’s be honest. That man could have chemistry with a metal folding chair.

Where on EARTH did the people behind this show find the actor who plays the son of Julia and Frank Houston (Debra Messing and Brian d’Arcy James)? He is atrocious. Every time he opens his mouth I count down the seconds until he closes it again. I am actively distracted by how awful he is and want to file a complaint with the casting directors of this show.

All in all, a fair episode with the exception of the 20th Century Fox Mambo number which, for me, redeemed any dull moments in the hour. I live for a costume quick-change and some sequins.

Check back next week for more updates, and thanks for watching KPRC Local 2!