Hello all my Voice lurkers!!! Spring has sprung, pollen is kicking my ass, and it is time for the Battle Rounds! TT tells me that the Voice entries get a lot of views – give me a shout out in the comments! If there is an area or topic of conversation I’m missing – TELL ME. I’ll add it so we can all talk about it. Catch up on previous episodes here and jump in!
It is hard this week – I love the show for its concept of support, uplifting artists, pursuing dreams (and NOT at the expense of others), but that doesn’t lead to arguments and bitch fights which leads to lots of commentary. It was a solid week of performances, but no goosebump performances. Plus I’ve been distracted by all the drama of Vanderpump Rules and those crazy bitches from Beverly Hills. #TeamErika
It isn’t a bad thing to be just “solid”. It is kind of great to know that any one of these artists have the potential to knock our socks off, and that the coaches could have a bigger role in that compared to Season 9 winner Jordan Smith and Season 10 Alison Porter. Frankly, they didn’t need the coach as much as they needed the platform. I think their relationships with their coaches were more important on how to navigate the industry, instead of perfecting their craft.
Not having any particular “horse” in the race, here are my notable battles, in order of appearance.
TEAM GWEN: JChosen vs Kenny P. Song: I was Made to Love Her
Not my favorite song pick by far, but I love these two, with JChosen edging out Kenny P. Honestly, while I normally suggest bypassing the NBC stream of the show for YouTube vids of the actual performances – do yourself a favor and watch this battle from initial practice to the end. I count this as a favorite because JChosen’s improvement was VISIBLE. His surprise and fanboy nervousness walking in and seeing that Celine Dion is the mentor yet rising to the occasion is really why I keep watching this show. He is totally talented, totally adorable, and totally human. I was slightly surprised that Kenny P wasn’t stolen – my mother blames the weird evil mustache.
TEAM ALICIA: Quizz Swanigan vs Felicia Temple Song: Titanium
Ugh! Why do coaches pair up two artists I like? Felicia was notable because she sang with Alicia in the Blinds, and Quizz is the youngest contestant ever at 13. It was a good song choice for them both, as it gave an opportunity to show their range abilities. Quizz if you recall, has appeared in a Michael Jackson stage production, AS MJ. I thought Quizz’s age and nerves were really showing in the rehearsals. Puberty is starting to hit the vocal cords and he wasn’t sure he could hit them any more. But he managed to shake them off and gave a solid performance against talented Felicia, and is continuing on for Team Alicia. I’m happy that Felicia was stolen by Blake.
TEAM BLAKE: Casi Joy vs. Ashley Levin Song: How Blue
Do I regularly listen to country? No ma’am. My car satellite radio is pretty much set to Radio Andy first, then Entertainment Weekly, Stars channel, and maybe Jimmy Buffett or the 80s channel. I’ve got Willie Nelson’s channel and some others set for road trips with my Mom and Dad. But old school country sounds like this amazing duet speak to my very soul. I blame my grandfather. I can picture his records, then cassettes of people like Dolly and Marty Robbins, #1 Cowboy, even though he died decades ago. I’m an absolute sucker for someone who can yodel, with a fiddle playing in the background. Casi Joy could bring me to tears with that. My granddad was tough as nails, but unabashedly cried at significant moments in our lives… he’d probably be crying right along with me. Casi Joy could be our winner, but will America vote for classic country two years in a row? Her competitor shouldn’t be discounted either. She had the other three judges all pressing their buttons to steal her! I can’t remember the last time that happened.
TEAM GWEN: Johnny Gates vs. Sammie Zonana Song: I Drove All NightAll I can say is… if I had a singing talent, and had to sing a Celine song in front of Celine, I’d probably need to use the restroom first. I’d be so nervous! This song is so recognized as a Celine song – I forgot that it is actually a cover of Cyndi Lauper, and I’m a big Cyndi fan! Johnny was one of the talents I mentioned in the blinds, but he wasn’t necessarily one of my “top talents”. I liked his Italian family, and thought it was interesting he toured with Rod Stewart. Well, now I am a fan. He owned that stage. Sammie was good – but Johnny was much better. If I had to put my finger on it, it was that he dropped all nerves and was having fun with it, while you could feel her thinking how she had to do well, and her focus on the coaches.
TEAM BLAKE: Aliyah Moulden vs. Dawson Coyle Song: Walking on Sunshine
Raise your hand if you think these two are too cute for words, and if Ryan Murphy ever were to revive Glee, they could be the stars! Dawson, at 17, was one of my honorable mentions last week, mainly because he was the one Blake picked to fill his team, even though no other coach turned. Fifteen year old Aliyah singing Hound Dog clear back in Week One of the Blinds also got her an honorable mention from me. Their personalities shone on the stage and they both did well in their stage choreography. Simply put, it lifted my spirits. You could tell that the judges, especially Alicia enjoyed it as well. It wasn’t a surprise when, after Blake chose Aliyah, Alicia hit her button to steal Dawson. I look forward to their future performances.
COACHES, MENTORS, AND THE STEALS
For the first time in a long while (if ever), I like all of the mentors from the get go! Sometimes I wonder what they were thinking in picking the mentor – only to see a glimmer of why at the very last. I only know DJ Khaled from the commercials for Turbo Tax – thank God for Wikipedia. Turns out, he has an extremely impressive list of people he has collaborated with, as well as accomplishments on his own. It is so awesome to see Celine Dion again, and smiling. I know she’s been performing since the deaths of both her husband and her brother only two days apart in January 2016, but it is the first time I’ve seen her on TV where she is clearly happy and having a good time. I loved her reactions to the artists, especially the two who sang “her” song. On a side note, I saw Celine in her Cirque du Soleil inspired “A New Day” show in Vegas when that was still on. Amazing. But I’d sit and listen to her sing, just standing on stage without the mimes and acrobats and floating pianos in the background. See her if you ever have the opportunity to do so.
Edit by TT, I went to pick up the JChosen battle for you and he is in the VERY tight top three most viewed, but these two are about to hit a million views today.
The coaches have the song choice this round, and I really feel that for most of the songs this week, they are picking them simply to see if an artist can do a particular vocal trick or hit a particular octave. Something that only they know they need to hear to make their decision, without real regard of appealing to the audience. With the exception of some of the battles I mentioned above, most of the song choices left me feeling very “meh.” The one I would have enjoyed “Everybody wants to Rule the World” wasn’t even aired more than 5 seconds! But we’re still at the point where our viewer opinions matter very little, unless coaches are monitoring the blogs and Twitter. If they are, HEY GUYS! CALL ME!
As for the steals, half of them are gone. It is very clear that the coaches know who they want already, even before the performances happen. Alicia mentions this at one point, as several worthy artists lose their round and go home. I was particularly surprised at Kenny P. and Missy Roberson. The REAL surprise was Alicia using her last steal for Dawson. I sincerely believe that he was NOT on her original “I want to steal” list. She clearly enjoyed the performance; I don’t think the camera showed Blake once and it was his team performing! It as another reason it was one of my favorite performances of the week.
Next week, we will have the final battle rounds, where we will find out who Adam saving his steals for!