‘The Voice’: It’s Finally Time To Vote
Voting is finally in the hands of the viewers on The Voice, and so it behooves us to remind you, with great power comes great responsibility. (Otherwise, this happens.) Twelve artists performed from Team Blake and Team Christina, while Carson struggled to explain the highly complicated voting process on last night’s episode. If only the winning team were determined by each judge’s wardrobe choices, Cee Lo could grasp himself a sequined, fringed victory, with Christina nipping at his heels.
And so we dive into the performances. And as is expected, the contestants who bite off more than they can chew fall flat on their faces, while those who stay true to their groove position themselves for smooth sailing into the next round.
THE GOOD Erin Willett, “Living For the City” by Stevie Wonder (Team Blake) Erin’s father passed away from cancer during the battle rounds, and she’s using that as her motivation to make her performances larger than life. She wants “Living For The City” to be on par with a Grammys performance, and so she gets a huge tableau of dancers behind her, starting on the piano before she breaks it down. It’s easily the best staged and sung performance of the night. We’ll happily watch whatever Erin dreams up for this show.
Jesse Campbell, “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong (Team Christina) Christina says 42-year-old Jesse can sing the phone book, and she’s right. He shines with his phrasing, taking a song we’ve all heard a million times and actually transforming it into a new classic. Cee Lo notes that his voice is “almost as beautiful” as Cee Lo’s hair. (We’re not sure if anything can come close to Cee Lo’s hair.) Adam calls him the dude to beat, throwing down the gauntlet for early favorite. We have to agree.
Charlotte Sometimes, “Misery Business” by Paramore (Team Blake) Charlotte endeavors to show a softer side with a Paramore tune, which seems like a strange contradiction. She aims to be haunting and rearrange the song to show America she’s more than just a singer. The performance is dramatic, and she’s able to sing with the band instead of letting them overwhelm her. Of all the “unique” girls plaguing the show’s second season, Charlotte is certainly the most accessible.
Moses Stone, “Stronger/Power ” by Kanye West (Team Christina) Moses has the privilege of being the first to pull out the full force of backup dancers, and as the first MC to make it through, it’s fitting. His singing is decent but for the entertainment factor he can’t be denied. Kanye is a perfect choice for him to model himself after, and a refreshing turn for a competition show to acknowledge the broader face of entertainment musicians.
Lindsey Paveo, “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye (Team Christina) This song is becoming inescapable, and so it’s unsurprising that the 22-year-old coffee shop singer picks it, and then twists it by adding trip-hop and dubstep to the mix. Her tone is fantastic, and although she’s sometimes pitchy, as a recording artist she would shine.
Sera Hill, “Find Your Love” by Drake (Team Christina) Sera has swagger, but Christina points out that she needs to connect with the lyrics and attack the runs. There’s a definite Lady Gaga nod in her staging with the half-naked boys and women in menswear. She’s gog the best diva presence of all the girls. She owns the stage, and her commitment to the performance obscures any pitch problems.
THE REST Jordis Unga, “Alone” by Heart Blake tells us that Jordis is a diva, but she’s also insecure. She’s unfortunately another casualty of an overly loud band, she has power. Sometimes she comes off as trying too hard, but Cee Lo points out her high notes signify vocal talent, and Blake calls it the opposite of playing it safe. Good, but not great.
Naia Kete, “Turning Tables” by Adele (Team Blake) While Naia’s first instinct is to go reggae, Blake suggests that she sticks closer to the Adele record while adding a little of her flavor, instead of a full transformation. She starts off solo with an acoustic guitar, keeping her vocals front and center and is focused on the delivery, her strong suit. It proves she’s more than just a one-trick pony, and now we’re interested in seeing what she can do next week.
Chris Mann, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkle (Team Christina) Christina tells Chris not to be afraid to add some “frills,” and he relies on his strong tenor to carry him through the performance, with a few big notes for flash. It’s competent, but he’s going to need to do more to stand out in a crowded field. Nine years later and it’s hard to compare to Clay Aiken’s masterful turn at this song during American Idol’s second season finale.
Raelynn, “Wake Up Call” by Maroon 5 (Team Blake) It’s either the worst idea or the best idea to sing a song by a judge, and in Raelynn’s case it looks like the worst choice, at least judging by Adam’s face — until he opens his mouth and tells her that she did the song so darn good. Blake claims she’s representing the new sound of country music, and that Raelynn was the talk of the ACM’s this weekend. She’s definitely a fusion of country and pop, and unlike anything on the charts right now. We’re just not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
Ashley De La Rosa, “Right Through You” by Alanis Morissette (Team Christina) Ashley sees herself as a rocker, but she’s taking on a pop song with edge. Unfortunately, she has to fight a battle with the overly loud band, but she’s impressive nonetheless. She definitely comes off as older than her 17 years, but comes just shy of the required Alanis levels of angst. Adam gives her the award of “Most Improved.”
Jermaine Paul, “Livin’ On Prayer” by Bon Jovi (Team Blake) The 33-year-old background singer for Alicia Keys gets overpowered by the band in his take on Bon Jovi, forcing him to scream over them to be heard. Sadly, his soulful side wasn’t able to shine, and his stage presence is his saving grace for the performance. Christina praises the performance but not the song choice.
OUR PREDICTIONS Safe Jermaine Paul Erin Willett Moses Jesse Campbell Sera Hill Charlotte Sometimes
In Trouble Ashley Naia
Gone Chris Mann Jordis Raelynn Lindsey