Did you guys happen to catch the premiere of “The Voice” after last night’s Super Bowl? Normally I’m not a big fan of talent competition shows — I prefer to watch train wreck-style reality shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Real Housewives” — and have long given up on “American Idol,” but what I did watch of “The Voice”‘s first season really impressed me. And if the premiere of the second season is a sign of things to come, “The Voice” is only going to get better.
But can we please talk about A) how weirdly exciting it is that Tony Lucca — a former Mickey Mouse Club star — auditioned for the panel and B) how totally awkward it was that Christina Aguilera, who appeared on the show with him as a tween, totally didn’t recognize him even after he said his full name?
Tony Lucca, for those of you who weren’t teenagers in the early-’90s and didn’t watch “The Mickey Mouse Club,” was on the show at the same time as Christina, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, JC Chasez, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. All of those kids went on to varying degrees of success, but aside from appearing alongside Russell, his then-girlfriend, in the short-lived nighttime soap “Malibu Shores,” Lucca’s career never took off. During his audition interview, he made it seem like that was a choice he made, that he preferred to pursue his career as a singer-songwriter playing in small venues rather than become a pop star or focus on Hollywood. Clearly, that didn’t pan out too well, as Lucca is hoping to finally get his big break via “The Voice.” And surely he would have a bit of an in, given that he goes way back with “Voice” judge Christina, right? Right?
Alas, Christina was clearly and utterly clueless that Lucca was someone she once knew, even after he introduced himself and sang only feet in front her. It wasn’t until after he left the stage — after performing “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne, impressing all four judges, and selecting Adam Levine as his coach — that Christina found out who he was. And not because it suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks — no, it seemed to me like producers told her via her ear mic. Considering how much of Lucca’s intro was devoted to playing up his MMC past, I cringed for both him and Christina because it was clear he and the producers assumed she would instantly know who he was. Instead, their eventual joyous reunion felt forced and embarrassing. (Especially when Christina announced in front of Lucca’s wife and son, “Britney used to have such a crush on you!”) Next time, let’s hope Xtina’s memory is better or producers prepare her to walk down memory lane.