Editor’s note: HOLY CRAP! I am so sorry I didn’t get this up yesterday. I was talking to a lot of people about the Kathryn situation and the next thing I knew I was recapping RHONY stuff. I am SO SORRY.
FINALLY, we are live. No indication yet if Blake and Gwen will give us the diabetes with their overly sweet behavior towards each other – there wasn’t much time for ANY banter between the coaches. As the artist numbers get cut in half from 24 to 12 – a bit of a bloodbath really – there may be more time for that kind of interactions in the coming weeks. I hope not.
No real complaints about the coaches outfits – Loved Alicia’s on Monday and Gwen’s on Tuesday especially. Blake showed he was serious about his team on Monday by wearing a suit (it looked great on him, but he needed less hair gel.) Adam bleached his hair white and wore an all black suit, and Blake had some good zingers calling him “Anderson Cooper” among other things. Me, I immediately thought he looked like Draco Malfoy! #nerdalert #ProudPotterhead
TSoul – “Knock on Wood”
I’m officially a #TSouldier. Vintage is in thanks in part to Bruno Mars, but I think TSoul kicks Bruno’s ass. I love his quirky stage work. He exudes music and soul out of his very pores. There is a sincerity to him that you don’t feel often.
Aliyah Holden – “Mercy”
She is doing this for fun… and it adds a sparkle and joy to what she sings. I love it. I love her. I think that her attitude protects her from letting any nerves through her performance. Blake’s style is perfect for her.
Lauren Duski – “Someone Else’s Star”
She is a laid back vocalist, but don’t think that means she is taking the easy road! In many ways, you have to be better. Just you, the microphone, and a spotlight. There is no hiding behind a “powerhouse” note or vocal tricks or shiny things on stage. She is reminiscent of 70s ballads, and I think she could win this.
Chris Blue – “Love on the Brain”
Alicia is right – Chris Blue is mind blowing. SUCH a smart choice in song – modern, popular as a Rihanna song, and he can sing it in the original key! Chris is like he was brought from the past – MoTown at its best. Gave me chills. Not sure Alicia needs anyone else on her team. Crowd cheered to the point that it was hard to hear Alicia at times.
Vanessa Ferguson – “Lean On”
It is a good thing she is so damn good – because I just can’t with those damn hats. I’m ok with the pantsuit look, even though I think she’s stealing from Ellen a little (including some of the moves). I didn’t recognize the song and I enjoyed it. I think that is big on this show, and an indication of her talent level on stage.
Stephanie Rice – “Every Breath You Take”
I thought her family disowned her, but tonight she mentioned a brother posting support for her on Facebook. I don’t mean this as a snark, just honestly curious. She did her own arrangement of an iconic song. I hate to make this comparison because some might think I am doing so because of the Lesbian thing, but she has traces of Melissa Ethridge in her voice. Alicia has a lot to work with here!
Troy Ramey – “A Case of You”
I don’t think I’ve EVER heard this song sung by a male, without a falsetto or high key. I really enjoyed it, but I don’t think some people will recognize the song (I know I forget the title most of the time). Troy is a solid musician, but does he have that “performer” quality that will draw people in?
Brennley Brown – “Fly”
There is a unique quality to her voice I can’t put my finger on. Love the styling of her hair and clothes, FYI. She’s still going to give Lauren a run for her money in this competition, even though Lauren beat her in the Battles on Team Blake. Team Gwen may be a good fit for her, in performing and vibrato, and making sure that she doesn’t come across as too similar to others like Lauren.
Hunter Plake – “Elastic Heart”
I’m going to have to cede to you all on Hunter in terms of what appeals to people about him. Honestly, what does everyone think? He’s the first artist to hit top ten in iTunes sales twice before the Live Playoffs, so some people like him. I have a hard time understanding the lyrics when he sings, or did tonight. Thank God for closed captions. Plus he could be cast as skinny Russian thug number 3 in a James Bond movie. Gwen says he’s unbelievable… I find it unbelievable he’s still on the show and will be next week.
Mark Isaiah – “All Time Low”
I didn’t recognize the song and while it wasn’t my favorite Voice performance, it was solid and polished. There aren’t many like Mark on the show, and certainly not on Adam’s team. I can see why Adam picked him over the others who were eliminated. He has potential, but needs to step up his game pronto.
Lilli Passero – “It’s Too Late”
I have loved Lilli since the Blind Auditions. I still can’t believe that Alicia let her go. Lilli loves the “retro” stuff from the 40s and 50s, but Adam picked the perfect “different song” for her – still retro, but in the 70s. So so smart. I might be biased, since I LOVE any song from Carole King’s Tapestry. I don’t know who did the arrangement for this one, but they did that fine balance of helping the artist make it her own without completely offending those who hold anything Carole King in the highest esteem. Again, another classic song that was maybe a half beat too fast – but this time it totally worked (It didn’t for Aaliyah Villaranda or Johnny Hayes, wh both went home this week under similar circumstances). Perhaps that is a reflection of the level of Lilli’s talent. She makes it seem so easy.
Jesse Larson – “Sir Duke”
He DOES sound like a white Ceelo! But enough with that comparison, Adam. It just makes me want to go listen to Ceelo, not Jesse. But I will say that his vocals, his ease on stage, and the fact that he also plays an instrument make him so enjoyable and fun to watch.
THOUGHTS ON THE TEAMS AS WE HEAD INTO THE TOP 12
TEAM BLAKE: I think that it might be the team I am the saddest about. They all looked so scared… and I can’t believe Blake had to send Casi Joy and Felicia home – but he was right to pick TSoul for his coach choice. (Not sure The Voice is ultimately a good fit for Felicia. I think she needs to consider musical theater.) I have always thought Aaliyah should have waited a year or two. I NEVER thought Casi Joy would be going home at this point. Song choice, song choice, song choice and WHEN you make that song choice is important too – she needed to do something in her original wheelhouse for the first Live show… something with a little yodel in it.
TEAM ALICIA: I feel that her choices were more obvious. Jack Cassidy let his nerves get the best of him and needs to work with a vocal teacher, hard and long. He also needs to get away from the pulpit a little, and work some dive bars. Grit makes a pearl after all. Anatalia needs to just mature a little and I have no advice for Ashley.
TEAM GWEN: I had the most issues with Gwen’s team this week. I was so excited to see Johnny Gates back. Gwen told him to sing like Sting or INXS – why would she then pick a Selena Gomez song for him? Seriously?? He would have KILLED at singing Roxanne or Never Tear Us Apart. He did a solid performance, but nothing spine tingling.
The moment JChosen mentioned being overwhelmed by it being a Prince song, asking “why him and why Prince” in rehearsals, I knew then he was letting everything get to him. During the performance, he also did a dramatic pause and had a look on his face that made me think he was too in his head (if that makes sense). It was too much for him. I don’t blame him as he has been amazing – I blame Gwen. To pick a Prince song when the icon just died, and give that to the dude whose mother just had a stroke? Plus the nerves of tonight being when half of your team goes home? Too, too much.
It wasn’t until Adam’s team sang one after the other that I realized Adam has a fairly weak team this season, frankly. I wasn’t sad to see any of his team go (unlike Blake’s), and could take or leave his own choice of Mark. His constant “You sound like Ceelo” has turned me off Jesse to a small degree and my favorite, Lilli, came from Alicia!
Starting next week, it doesn’t matter an iota the quality of the people the coaches sent home but who remains. It should be interesting because they are actually having a Key Advisor NOW, and it is Shania Twain! I can’t wait!