Big news for NBC's "The Voice" -- executive producer Mark Burnett announced that both Usher and Shakira will be taking seats in the spinning chairs in Season 4, replacing Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, as the latter record, tour and generally be awesome.
Never fear, however -- this change-up is only for Season 4; Burnett had said previously that with seasons filming in near-rapid succession, he wanted to give his coaches some time to, you know, actually have music careers.
Ah, but we're still on Season 3, aren't we? Blind auditions continued Monday night, as the four judges slowly fill out the 16 slots on their teams.
Melanie Martinez, 17, of Baldwin, NY, with Britney Spears' "Toxic"
This adorable little gap-toothed girl (who rocks Cruella De Vil-style hair) turned judges' chairs with her quirky, acoustic take on "Toxic." Though both Adam and Blake vied for her selection, she went with Adam.
Summary thoughts: She played a tambourine with her feet. She's OK in my book.
Brian Scartocci, 26, of Austin, with Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely"
Brian's soulful take on Wonder's classic -- dedicated to his two children -- again had both Adam and Blake spinning their chairs. Blake, for the second time this season, pulled what has become known as "The Vest Card." "I, too, wear jeans with vest. You have soul, and I have a soul. I think we have some serious chemistry," Blake said. But Brian went with Adam.
Summary thoughts: Anyone that asks Blake, "Would you wear pink with your vest," and elicits the response "I've got on some pink right now, you just can't see it," wins all the awesome points forever and ever more.
Beat Frequency, from Washington, with Katy Perry's "E.T."
This husband-and-wife duo (followed by a quick montage of other duos that failed to make the cut; clever editing, NBC! I see what you did there!) were just a little weird, which I guess was apt given their song choice. But Christina liked them -- she was the only judge to spin her chair -- so they found a spot on her team.
Summary thoughts: Any time a person tells me they tried to "pursue a career in sports dancing" I lose interest and start judging. Besides, the husband was wearing sunglasses indoors, and I'm sorry, the only person cool enough to do that on "The Voice" is Cee Lo (because Jack Nicholson is regrettably absent).
Liz Davis, 25, from Nashville, with Gretchen Wilson's "Here for the Party"
Liz got three chairs to spin, but appropriately and predictably, out of Adam, Christina and Blake, she went with Blake. It was nice to see him finally take a contestant from Adam, because, really, this was just getting sad.
Summary thoughts: I claim no expertise when it comes to country music, but to me, Liz was just not that good. Her performance just seemed clunky. She could hold her runs, but she was running out of breath at the end of sentences. Conserve your breath! Prioritize! (I have learned this from singing in the car, inadvertently entertaining others in rush-hour traffic.)
JR Aquino, from Alaska, singing Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are"
This Alaskan YouTube sensation got the attention of Adam, Cee Lo and Christina, with Cee Lo noting that JR seemed to have trouble hitting the high notes. Because of that constructive criticism, JR went with Cee Lo.
Summary thoughts: JR was good, and I can see him progressing at least a few more rounds in the competition, but I'm so over this song.
Avery Wilson, from Connecticut, with David Guetta's/Usher's "Without You"
All four judges spun their chairs for this 16-year-old, and he chose Cee Lo, who described Avery as having "the golden voice."
Summary thoughts: Avery said he takes his inspiration from people like Usher, Stevie Wonder and Chris Brown. I dislike putting Brown and Wonder in the same sentence, unless it's to point out how one is superior to the other, in all ways possible.
Other team additions, abridged due to montage or unimpressiveness:
Cee Lo picked up Minnesotan Nicholas David (disconcerting because I know a Nicholas David, so hi Nick!) and Adam grabbed 17-year-old Alessandra Guerico, who attends the real-life "Fame School," otherwise known as LaGuardia High.
Adam also got 15-year-old Adanna Duru, who's "Edge of Glory" cover was quite nice, judging from the 20 seconds in the montage clip, while Blake added Kelly Crapa -- another 15-year-old -- to his team, and Christina got 16-year-old Paulina. (Don't these kids have school?)
Ah, and the ones that didn't make it:
There were many, but the glory of editing spared us -- for the most part. There was the baseball aficionado, and a San Diegoan whose teenage record deal had fallen through, but the best of the cuts came when Cupid appeared on the show.
Don't know Cupid? Yes, you do -- he's the genius behind 2006's "Cupid Shuffle," and who had been banished to the realm of one-hit wonder-land.
"It's a song that defines me, and it’s a song that confines me,” he said, and decided to sing the song as his blind audition. It didn't really work out.
"It's a very peculiar song to do on a show like this," Cee Lo offered, perhaps a bit unhelpfully.