NBC’s “The Voice” went live for the first time on Tuesday night and proved it isn’t any ordinary reality competition show.
The vocalists, singing to stay another week, and eventually a recording contract for the winner, may have driven the two-hour show, but it was the playful banter between the celebrity judges – Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green — that made it more than just a night of competition.
Tuesday’s program pitted Christina’s four remaining contenders against Blake’s brood, but it was while gushing over shaved-head rocker Beverly McClellan, who sang Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m The Only One,” that things needed a censor.
“The one that got away,” Adam said after Beverly’s number, referring to the rocker’s decision to go with the powerhouse blonde as her coach, instead of the Maroon 5 vocalist. “You’re amazing.”
“You just make all the boys so jealous, the only thing Adam can destroy are his pants, because I know that he wet them every time you came on stage,” Christina said, leaving Adam scratching his head, and eventually chiming back in with an expletive.
“Beverly, you’re so good I [expletive] myself,” Adam said, a remark that aired live on the East Coast feed of the show, as Christina continued to critique her girl.
“Hello, hello,” show host Carson Daly said, tapping the microphone after the outburst. “Are we still live?”
Later, Christina too chimed in on Twitter, which “The Voice” coaches and contestants were using throughout the show, and she used a few strong words of her own.
“You heard it yourselves--Beverly makes Adam [expletive] himself!!! He’s scared [expletive]-less of my team!!!!!”
Another unique moment from the coaches’ chairs occurred after Patrick Thomas, a country singer on Blake’s team, gave a performance his own mentor said would make Nashville, “proud.”
“I’m still waiting for you to take off your pants,” Christina said. “I think Blake can learn a lot from you and I’m not sure whether he chose you on your looks either because there was weird bro-mancing going on between Blake and Adam just now.
“I don’t know if [Blake is] about to make out with Adam at the end of that song or what, but I hope you take off your pants, basically,” she added.
Beyond continued teasing and unusual compliments, there was also playful banter about some of the stage set-ups.
When college student Lily Elise, a member of Christina’s team, performed Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Blake poked fun at the use of backup dancers who he thought looked like silent street performers.
“Was it your idea to have the four mimes behind her?” he asked. “The mimes were kind of weird.”
“What are you talking about?” Christina replied. “Just ‘cause you haven’t done a dance move in your life…”
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As for the standout singers of the night, besides Beverly, Blake’s team member Dia Frampton, a quiet brunette from Utah, shocked the judges with her own version of Kanye West’s “Heartless.” The pretty 23-year-old performed the number on the piano, impressing Cee Lo enough to pick up his phone.
“That’s probably the greatest rendition of a song I’ve ever heard… Kanye would definitely be proud of that,” he said. “I’m gonna call him later and let him know.”
“That was the most refreshing, unique thing I’ve seen on the show so far,” Adam chimed in. “It was such an incredible idea.”
It was another of Blake’s singers who stood out next, the single-named Xenia, a high school student with no stage experience, but a unique, breezy, jazzy voice she brought to the Jessie J hit “Price Tag.”
“You’ve become one of my favorites on the show. You do come across very shy and you’re so young… but when you open your voice, the maturity that comes out… I’d love to listen to a whole album of you,” Christina said.
Beyond the artists’ solo performances, they also sang with their mentors.
Christina and her ladies – Beverly, Lily, one time “American Idol” contender Frenchie Davis and former “Jersey Girl” child star Raquel Castro – gave a rendition of “Lady Marmalade,” with the blonde coach out at the front, belting away her trademark lines.
Blake’s group performance took a different tone. For starters, the country hunk (and newlywed) took on a Maroon 5 song – “This Love” – to what appeared to be the genuine surprise of fellow judge Adam, who didn’t appear to know it was coming.
Blake’s singers then hit the stage in pairs – Xenia and Patrick Thomas; and Dia with Jared – before he joined in on the latter part of the song, towering over his team.
“You’re so much bigger than everyone else, Blake,” Adam laughed.
Fans can vote online for their favorites at NBC.com through 10 AM EST on Monday, June 13.
Two contenders from Blake’s team and two contestants from Christina’s bunch will be eliminated on next week’s show, which airs on Tuesday at 9 PM EST/PST on the network.