Buckle up, because it is Battle time! (Or at least, grab your favorite alcoholic beverage. This week, it is wine for me. Giving the tequila a break.)
I think this is genuinely tough for the coaches. They know how important this is to these people. I don’t know about this season, but there are some artists in past seasons who quit their jobs for this opportunity. Kids who have given up their high school graduations. Family members who miss out on milestones. They want this BADLY, and while they may not win, if you go far, it can be a huge boost for their careers. I still follow someone from 4 or 5 seasons ago (Austin Jenks), and because of this show he now makes his living and supports his family through his music.
Someone smarter than me maybe can figure out a pattern to the order of the songs.. I have a feeling this is CLOSE to the order in which they perform, probably with a little tweaking here and there so that the episodes begin and end with especially good performances. They certainly don’t do a rotating order with the judges. On Monday’s two hour episode, we got two Team Jennifer’s and two Team Miley’s, with only one each from Adam and Blake.
Oh, LOVE Miley’s performance night jacket!
Another season with a good crop of mentors! There were some of my favorite kind of moments in the practice sessions this week, the reason why I love The Voice above other talent competitions. In multiple practice sessions, and in multiple performances, the improvements were audible and visible. Visible you ask? Yes. I could see an improvement in body language. For some, it was how they worked the stage better. For a couple others, I could see that they were more confidence from the initial practice session to the second, final one with the judges.
Unless you live in the UK, this is our first solid look at Jennifer as a coach. Two thumbs up. Jennifer and her mentor have a great way of communicating what they think each artist needs to work on or what they are doing well. It is also very clear that they are genuinely friends, not just professional friends. I had no doubt JHud is talented in performance, but the woman has teaching skills. Actually, all the coaches are fairly strong in that department, and that is exciting. I think there have been coaches in the past that were weaker. One little note about Billy Ray. Miley said she asked him to be on the show with her because he has been her [musical[ mentor her entire life. That they often spent time around the piano as a family. It would have been VERY natural for him to dominate the coaching a bit, both as Miley’s father AND her own mentor. He really didn’t. Miley was definitely the leader. I also appreciated his enthusiasm and the fact that his advice wasn’t just for THAT performance or even for The Voice, but more of take this with you as you pursue your dreams.
Sometimes I feel that the coaches pick a song for a duet that they themselves love but the rest of us don’t know or don’t like, because they want to see the artists hit a particular note or range. I will say that I loved a good number of the song choices this week, as “entertaining the crowd” was a factor! So hard to narrow it down this week!
Moriah Formica vs Shilo Gold Song: American Woman
Hot, hot, hot damn. I watched this three times. Moved my head and rocked out about each time. I can’t get over that Moriah is only 16. I can’t believe I didn’t pay more attention to her in the Blinds! Jennifer hit it on the head that it was like a 35 or 40 year old singing up there, that she certainly knows her craft. Miley said that her heart was racing over this one, and mine was as well. I completely understand why she picked Moriah. She KILLED it. But it killed me that Shilo went home. I adored her voice, and loved her story and wanted more of that to come out. She clearly WANTS this, as she’s bucking a 7 generation trend to take her musical talent and become a cantor. It would be hard to be the one to break that tradition when you do have the talent. But, Miley was CLEARLY teaming them up as her “growly girls” with this song choice, and I think, while this is being nitpicky, Shilo made hers a bit too pure and clean. She also wasn’t quite there yet in her confidence. Winner Moriah
Adam Pearce vs. Whitney Fenimore Song: Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
I LOVE the song choice Adam made for these two, and this was filmed BEFORE Tom Petty passed away. I absolutely knew this song as a Stevie Nicks song, one of my favorites. I either forgot or never knew that it was with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. As fantastic as Tom Petty is, in the original we all know that it was Stevie Nicks’ that made it really iconic. Which, to me, is what made Adam’s performance so fantastic. In fact, at one point in the practices, Adam stopped and said “Sorry, I botched the Tom Petty. I wanted to go with to Stevie Nicks”. (Adam certainly shares that grit and gravel quality with Stevie, and might even have a higher range than she does!) He not only found his inner Tom Petty, he grabbed this song and made himself the headliner. Whitney was extremely good, but like Shilo, perhaps she was a bit too pure. She admitted in the practice interviews that she knows she can belt it, but she doesn’t have that rocker vibe as much as Adam. Actually, if Adam P. hadn’t risen above and beyond, her more “pure” quality would have been recognized as a lovely, different version of this song. It is no surprise that Miley snatched her up for her all female team! Winner Adam Miley Steals Whitney
Davon Fleming vs. Maharasyi Song: I’m Your Baby Tonight
Honestly, this segment grabbed me from start to finish. Each practice session gave me what I am looking for every season, and the performance was one for the record books. We all know this song as a Whitney Houston song, but after tonight I am thinking why the hell was this not originally a duet? Jennifer and Kelly were GREAT as tag team teachers in this segment. I didn’t always get exactly what they were talking about musically, but the changes and improvements in the performance was noticeable. Also, there was a moment where Jennifer wanted to demonstrate singing together, in harmony. She simply said “sing it with me Kelly” and they started, and they were PERFECT. That, my friends, is the epitome of what these artists are striving to become. Both Davon and Maharasyi gave everything on the stage. Davon was a 4 chair turn in the Blinds, but as Blake put it, there was nothing in the Battle that he did that she didn’t do as equally incredible. But, as Miley said earlier it depends on what Jennifer sees “happening moving forward, what songs she would like to use, and who fits that pocket best.” Honestly, if the makeup of the coaches had been different (if it had been Alicia or Christina in Miley’s seat, for instance) I think Maharasyi would have been stolen. But, she was clearly in Jennifer’s wheelhouse, and wouldn’t have necessarily fit well into how the other coaches have formed their teams. Winner Davon.
I have to also note that I’m thrilled that Lucas Holliday (Team Jennifer – the one Blake called Frasier in the Blinds) and Keisha Renee (Team Blake – former backup for Nikki Minaj from LA, but wants to do old school country) are moving on. Not my favorite duets this week, but they individually did well and I can’t wait for them in the Knock Outs!