It took about 15 seconds for Voice judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to press their "I Want You" buttons after Joe Kirkland, who identifies himself as "originally from Fort Worth, Texas" sang All American Rejects Gives You Hell during his blind audition Monday night.
Judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green also seemed to enjoy the performance, which was a lively, mostly on-pitch (and almost too nice) rendition of the put-down song. Aguilera came very close to pressing her button, but held off for reasons that were never adequately explained.
Levine praised Kirkland's combination of aggressive tone and control. Shelton, an Oklahoma native, made an attempt at bonding with Kirkland over their regional roots. Aguilera, as is her wont, turned Shelton's comment "Everything's bigger in Texas" into a sexual double-entendre (remember when she asked Colleyville's Patrick Thomas to take off his pants in season one?). Kirkland went with Levine, Maroon 5's lead singer, because he wanted to work with someone who had fronted a band.
According to his show bio, Kirkland joined a local band, Artist vs. Poet, at 21, was signed to a label and even played the Warped Tour with the band in 2010. When the lead singer left, Kirkland became the vocalist, but the record label didn't like the change. So now he's out to prove himself. He also plays guitar, piano and drums. There are a few mentions of Artist vs. Poet in DFW.com archives, but they're confined to listings, not full stories or reviews. But I did find this, um, supportively named website in his honor (warning: strong language). And there's this story about an earlier Kirkland band.
Here's video of Kirkland's performance, followed by a clip of his post-audition comments.