We’ve come a long way, folks, from the first blinds, to last week’s first live round! I think we were all in a funk last week, including some of the artists. Or was that just me? More than one artist and coach mentioned having FUN in their songs and performances this week, and some of the artists really nailed it. I’m not saying it was all fun and games. Some artists sang more serious, but heartfelt, songs.
I know I enjoyed Faith, Tim, and Garth, but it was a bit refreshing to have the artists simply working one on one with each coach. Alicia and Miley are clearly “rookies” this year, but there is no denying their talent. Even Alicia is now showing some of her technical expertise rather than the kumbaya shit we got in the Blinds.
THE PERFORMANCES – STAGE SETTINGS AND WARDROBE
The set directors and wardrobe stylists are on point this week! I’m not just impressed by the “big” sets. Aaron performed “Hurt” and they were so smart in not doing anything more than a dark set with different white lights that changed in response to the music. As for wardrobe, some artists are more consistent in their look, especially the men. Sundance consistently wears his hat and a basic flannel type outfit. Couldn’t tell you about his shirts week to week. But Austin Allsup’s look seems to change a little depending on his song and inspiration, although all feel very authentic and definitely not costumey. Darby’s IS a bit costume, but doesn’t that fit her style to a T?
Many of the artists and the coaches talked about having more “fun” in their song choices and performances. I do think that as a whole, the artists are getting a little more comfortable with the custom designed sets, the wardrobe, backup singers, etc. Aaron had some extra nerves to shake off because he was on the bottom two last week, and it showed. While not in my top three, it was clear that Christian and Austin were totally in the right headspace. Christian proposed to his girlfriend last week (SHE SAID YES!) and his smile as he sang Toto’s Rosanna was nice to see. Austin wasn’t necessarily on the “fun” trend, but Bob Segar’s “Turn the Page” is obviously so emotional and meaningful to him.
MY TOP THREE
#3. Team Adam: Billy Gillman Song: All I Ask by Adele
Certainly I was impressed, but I had to add him on my list of favorites because of my mother. He impressed my mother so much she asked me how she votes now that they don’t do the phone call thing anymore. She never bothers to vote, even when they just had the votes be by phone!
This performance was beautiful on many levels. His voice is simply gorgeous. Their set choice for him was on point for him and this particular song. He is also listening to advice, as he is adding little moments that let us know he IS working on this. A constant “complaint” is that he is so good it might appear he is phoning it in. Maybe a little unfair, but at this point if one wants to win, one MUST consider what kind of weird impressions viewers might form.
#2. Team Blake: Sundance Head Song: No One by Alicia Keys.
Damn. Goosebumps. I love Sundance, and I love that he picked that it was more of a happy song. His smile was fantastic. He nailed it and he really did have a good time, even though no one would have blamed him for being serious and slightly intimidated because he picked a coach’s song. After the performance, he appeared to get slightly teary and I think Alicia did too. She said she had never heard anyone do No One that way before, and that she needed that personally. That was the ultimate in compliments! On a totally frivolous note, Sundance lifted up his hat in a salute to everyone. He actually has quite the head of hair!
#1. Team Miley: Ali Caldwell Song: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
I knew at some point one of Miley’s artists would sing a Dolly Parton song, there might even be more than one. Dolly is, after all, one of the best and most prolific songwriters of our time! However, of all the Dolly songs I thought someone on Miley’s team would pick? 9 to 5 was not anywhere near the top at all. I’m so happy that Ali wanted an upbeat song and so happy she surprised me with this. I loved it as I have always loved this song. She made iit her own without being weird or disrespectful to it She was completely on point with her outfit and her “Tina Turner” approach to the song. The background was perfect as well.
I completely own my bias here. I’ve not been bashful about my admiration for Dolly. Do I listen to her on a daily basis? No. Do I hold her up on a pedestal not only for her talent but because of my nostalgic feelings about her and my maternal grandfather (my Pa)? Absolutely. I also got to see her in concert this fall, and she was fantastic. If anything, that should have made me more critical of Ali, and I still loved this performance the best tonight. It wasn’t the most perfect, but it was the one I responded to most.
FAILED TO FLOAT MY BOAT
Last week, things were close enough that I didn’t single out individual artists. This week, I feel like I can name names. One left me cold, and one seemed a bit off pitch wise.
Team Miley: Darby Walker Song: You Don’t Own Me
My first thought when hearing her song choice was “Oh no. Don’t ruin this one for me”. During the coaching, I decided I’d rather hear Miley sing this one. She could do it justice. There was mention of this song being old, but I think it was a mistake to do such a weird version. It might be old, but it is not unfamiliar as it was on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Among my age group and friends, you do not fuck with Dirty Dancing. It might be me, but she sang this like she has a sore throat. Is that what the alternative genre is supposed to sound like? I will say that the set and wardrobe people are really having fun with her. I do enjoy that at least.
Team Blake: Courtney Harrell Song: What I Did for Love from a Chorus Line
At first I was hopeful. I got the scalp and spine tingles in her initial PRACTICE scene. She hit the notes so purely. BUT the actual performance? She seemed a little pitchy on the first note. I don’t like this arrangement at all, but maybe I am a purist when it comes to my famous Broadway songs. Blake mentioned bringing out her inner Whitney Houston. I could never see Whitney on Broadway, but I sure as hell could see Diana Ross. That is who Courtney should have channeled. She had so much potential with this song choice, and it fell flat.
The team performances are what keep me watching the elimination episodes; well, that and the fact that I have to blog them! Ha! Last week Team Adam and Team Miley showed their stuff, and Alicia premiered a song from her new album. This week it is Team Blake, Team Alicia, and Voice Season 9 winner Jordan Smith performing in between “safe” announcements.
Lord knows I love me some Team Blake but I was somewhat unimpressed with their “The Heart of Rock and Roll”. I just didn’t believe it with not one, not two, but three distinct country accents singing about how they wouldn’t want to be any place else but New York City. Team Alicia’s “People Get Ready” was wonderful. Their harmonies were spot on. As for Jordan Smith, what more can I say than he is perfection? His “O Holy Night” was beautiful, and I will be ordering his Christmas album!
As for the bottom two, I was half right. Darby was deservedly on the bottom, but I was a little surprised that Aaron was there again. I just don’t think Darby’s genre has enough followers to ensure her going very far even if she were to sing perfectly every time. Her twitter save performance of “Your Song” was meh, while Aaron maybe should have done “Budapest” last night. More upbeat, and had the crowd clapping to the beat. Darby went home and it was time. Aaron needs to mix it up.
Tell me your thoughts, and as we are down to ten, tell me your PREDICTIONS! Happy Turkey Day, y’all!