NBC’s “The Voice” kicked off round one of live competition Tuesday night with celebrity coaches praising performers from two teams and trash talking each other.
During earlier blind audition and battle rounds, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera focused on paring down the number of contestants vying for a shot at the show’s $100,000 prize and record deal.
On Tuesday, the coaches channeled their inner-parent and gushed over all four remaining hopefuls from Team Blake and Team Christina, though they did name favorites.
Adam called Dia Frampton’s haunting piano performance of “Heartless” by Kanye West the “most refreshing, unique thing” he’d seen so far on the show. Blake agreed it was his favorite “Voice” moment, while Cee Lo said the performance would do Kanye proud.
After Patrick Thomas performed Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” Cee Lo said the country crooner was “one of the strongest contenders.” Blake called Patrick a “classy” pro who would “make Nashville proud.”
Frenchie Davis also raked in some of the strongest coach support for the night after she performed “When Love Takes Over.” Blake said she was the “most powerful singer” in the competition, and Cee Lo called her one of his favorites.
The coaches may not have bestowed frontrunner status on Raquel Castro, Jared Blake, Beverly McClellan or Xenia, but the pop star hopefuls also received strong endorsements.
The closest the coaches came to criticizing a performance was for Lily Elise’s rendition of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie. Even then they couched their critique as a problem with the mime dancers Christina had chosen to join the young singer.
“When the dancers went away the performance became more engaging,” Adam said.
More so than in past “Voice” airings, the coaches Tuesday ribbed each other over whose group would take home the show’s top prize.
Christina used the term “Team Fake” to dismiss Blake’s confidence over his roster of hopefuls. The country star later slammed Christina for her role in selecting Lily Elise’s dancers.
In a bizarre exchange after Beverly McClellan sang Melissa Etheridge “I’m the Only One,” Christina said she wanted Adam to be so impressed he would soil himself.
Adam indicated Beverly had passed the test.
Next week four contestants from Tuesday's group will be sent home and it will be Team Cee Lo and Team Adam’s turn to take the stage.
Voting ends next Monday night to keep one contestant each from Team Blake and Team Christina in the competition. Besides by text message, phone and on NBC.com, votes will also be recorded each time a song by a "Voice" contestant is downloaded from iTunes.
Coaches Blake and Christina also get to spare one of their own from elimination.