I got home fairly late to the sad, maddening news about Manchester, England and thankfully, my trusty TIVO recording The Voice. Glass of wine in hand, off we go! They are doing the same song themes as they did last season, which pleases me greatly. I LOVE that they have the artists singing an original song, written for them. There are plenty of fantastic cover bands I would hire for a party, but they can’t sing their own stuff worth a shit.
Being on the West Coast, I was able to take a sneak peek at the song line up, and I was beyond excited. Coaches and their artists kicked some musical ass in their song choices tonight. Hope they live up to my expectations! It would have been a crime if Jesse and Adam didn’t perform a Prince song, but nice to see that Chris and Alicia are also doing one of my faves. However, I’m a little sad that there hasn’t been a reference to the loss of George Michael. I know Lauren probably needs to focus on country for the votes, but she or TSoul really needed to consider Kissing a Fool. But, if he didn’t inspire any of the coaches or artists, it wouldn’t have felt authentic. Authenticity is everything.
Jessie Larson (Team Adam) kicked off the first cover song with Taking It to the Streets by the Doobie Brothers. I KNOW, great song choice, right? He rocked it. He worked the stage, wailed on his guitar, all while not missing a note or breath in his singing. Fun and upbeat, and definitely worthy of a finalist.
Lauren Duski (Team Blake) has been a favorite of mine, and The Dance by Garth Brooks was a lovely choice. I’m not sure I liked the instrumentation, even though I usually LOVE the addition of a cello and more of a violin sound than fiddle (it’s a style thing on the same instrument, with some flattening of the bridge). Maybe it is my crappy TV. Lauren has the chops to do this one a cappella. Still, the country folk are going to eat. this. up. Listening to her, I didn’t even REMEMBER that this is considered one of Garth Brooks’ signature songs, and I LOVE Garth!
Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake) auditioned to Hound Dog and it was a nice bookend for her last competition song be the iconic Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours. Blake said it brings her full circle but she has obviously improved. She’s bright and bubbly, but this girl has worked hard. Maybe it is me, but I think the world needs a young, bright soul like her now. Age appropriate, but in no way is she stuck in only appealing to her age group. In referring to Glee, Blake made an apt reference. I wasn’t sure if how Aliyah would hold up under the pressure after the two weeks and up against the other three, but she did well.
Chris Blue (Team Alicia) ended the entire night for us with Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation. I can’t believe that came out in 1989. All I could think of during the rehearsal clip was “Chris better bring his dance game as well as his vocals! Anything less would be unworthy of Ms. Jackson!” Frankly, that is risky to do.. More than one auditioner has gone home getting too breathless because they moved around on stage a lot. But DAMN HE DID GOOD!!! There was someone near a microphone that kept screaming periodically. It might have been Coach Alicia. It was pretty fucking great and afterwards, no one could say anything because everyone basically lost their shit!
Chris Blue and his coach Alicia kicked off the duets with Diamonds and Pearls by Prince and the New Revolution. OK, true confession and this is just between us. I suddenly burst into tears when Chris sang the first line of the song. He went so deep in an octave I didn’t know he was capable of until now. They almost didn’t sound like themselves. Honestly as much as it shows the diversity of Chris Blue for the purposes of votes, it shows how fucking amazing Alicia is too. For Chris to hold his own with her is incredible. Too bad they already did the tribute concert for Prince because this should have been part of it.
In the second great Doobie Brothers song, Blake and Aliyah sang Takin’ It to the Streets. It is always fun to watch Blake do something outside of country, but honestly, he was more backup for Aliyah Moulden than anything. I think Adam enjoyed it! Not the most spine tingling duet that has ever been on The Voice, but it was solid.
Dearly Beloved, If Jesse Larson and Coach Adam Levine HADN’T done a Prince cover for their duet, it would have been surprising AND disappointing. If I were asked to pick a Prince song for these two, I probably would have picked Let’s Go Crazy as well. Great mix of rock, guitar riffs, and general funk. In case you didn’t catch it, Jesse is FROM Minneapolis and apparently has worked with Prince in the past. You can’t be a singer AND a guitarist in their musical genres and NOT be influenced by Prince. I know that this is The Voice and not “The Musician”, but I loved the guitar battle and the purple “We Miss U” behind them. While Chris and Alicia made me burst into tears, Jesse and Adam make me want to find my Prince LPs, a record player, and dance!
Before there was a Jr. (that asshat), there was the great and wonderful Hank Williams, Sr. Lauren Duski and Coach Blake did a fun rendition of There’s a Tear in my Beer by Hank Williams, Sr., complete with guitars. Nice reminder that Lauren is also a musician! A lovely fit for both their voices as well, making it a true duet. The only issue might be that those who know and love Hank Sr. wouldn’t know how to vote.
Sweet little Aliyah Moulden has obviously shaken off the nerves and upset from her emotional mini-breakdown two weeks ago. She not only kicked off the “original song” category but the entire night with a bouncy tune. Never Be Lonely fits what her fans, and Blake, love about her. Bouncy, upbeat, a bit retro, and she worked the stage and her outfit like an old pro. Coach Gwen, who is just an observer this week, was right to point out that, while it is obvious that her voice and ability has matured over the competition, the song and her look is still age appropriate. Not to say she didn’t have great style! Aliyah’s big smile was back after her performance. I was happy to see her having fun again. Seriously, I know Disney is ABC, but Disney needs to consider this young woman for a show. Perhaps where Blake plays her music teacher? Ha!
Chris Blue performs his Money On You original clearly still feeling the well deserved confidence from his amazing performance last week. Chris has been compared to Bruno Mars, but this one was better than any of his previous covers (other than Take Me to the King last week). I honestly think it was confidence. I thought he did well, and the crowd went NUTS.
They’ve not mentioned songwriters for the first two originals, but Jesse Larson’s song “Woman” is written by Chris Stapleton. He is a name that has come up before on the show this season, and while his first album came out in 2015 he has been a songwriter for a lot longer. Obviously he is good, because Jesse’s song is perfect for him. Nice guitar riff, and shows off his voice and range so damn well. That it is essentially a love song to his wife who is the one who convinced him to audition? Perfect. Jesse may have been a single chair turn, but he is worthy of being on that stage tonight. Adam deserves the right to brag his ass off with this find.
In the last “original” of the night, Lauren Duski sings her own Deja Vu. In her pre-performance interviewing with Blake, she said she didn’t have the confidence to release anything on her own. The Voice has given her that confidence. I cannot be the only one who gives a singer added props for singing something they wrote themselves. Lauren still had that “makes it look easy” style she’s always had, but this felt like it had a bit of a faster pace and an interesting range of high notes. Some of the higher refrains made me think of Carly Simon or Carole King. I don’t make those comparisons lightly. Lauren has consistently appealed to the country crowd, although I don’t know if this song is country to its core. It is a gorgeous song that is has a multiple genre appeal. She might have just won the Voice with it.
I haven’t bothered to find out what professionals will be coming to perform on Tuesday, although I heard Rascal Flatts was coming, and next season’s coaches, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson. But it is ALWAYS good and probably worthy of its own recap! I especially love seeing favorites of the season return, and some really “lighten up” now that the nerves of the competition are gone.
Who do you think will win? Who do you WANT to win? (They may not be the same name!) Unlike other seasons, I’m kind of indecisive this go round, although Chris Blue really brought the house down!