Hey y’all! I’m back! Apologies for being a slacker. Time got away from me. I went away for Easter, and computer and tablet issues to boot. (You should see the jacked up computer set up I have going right now, old keyboard with electric tape on the cord plugged into a laptop that has a bad battery and shuts down randomly, and a bluetooth mouse.) Allergies are kicking my ass too, along with an overly full schedule. Thank God for filing taxes online!!!
So, since my last blog we’ve had a full set of Battle Rounds and the Knock Outs. We’re finally on to the Live performances, but we still have a bucket load of potential artists and I am still learning names
This season specifically, I’m struggling a little. I’ve said before that a season where the title is clearly up for grabs is exciting, BUT that was after a run of clear winners. Even in a season where it was up for grabs, there were jaw dropping, spine tingling performances. Last season, I wanted to know what Chloe was going to think to wear and perform, and what Keisha or Hannah were going to do. Do not get me wrong, the number of truly solid performers has been astounding this season. No one has really biffed it. Maybe it is in part because in the fall and winter, I want to get home fast, get into the PJs, and drink wine while I enjoy my shows. In the spring, I’m stunned when 8 PM rolls around because it is still light out. Last season even if I got home at 10 PM on a Voice night, I couldn’t help it, I stayed up to watch. This season, I fall asleep.
The Battle guest coaches were decent, and I am LOVING that they are having the coaches get more involved with the rehearsals and the entire production of the number that will be performed. I also think I might be getting really really tired of Adam telling us how stupid Blake is. We get it Adam, country folk are apparently stupid hicks. Why do you want a country artist then? Bet you wouldn’t say that to he of the really sexy speaking voice, Trace Adkins.
There is ONE Battle performance that I can’t stop thinking about, weeks later. She might be the one I continue to root for, and I hope will win. Don’t even go to the YouTube video, as they don’t show you the coaching or the coaches comments after the performance. On the premiere episode of the Battles, 39 minutes in, is the battle between Team Blake’s JessLee and Kyla Jade. If you recall, Kyla is a background singer, with an impressive resume, and JessLynn has an indie country rocker chick that I usually root for (I’m waiting for a female Joan Jett or Belinda Carlisle each season).
Watch the rehearsal… Trace liked them both, but if I read body language and eye movements right, he was absolutely impressed and enamoured with Kyla’s talent. If you do find this and watch, you also get a perfect example of why Blake has coached so many on to success (FYI, I am not just counting the winners of the contest here. A lot of former Team Blake have found success as musicians. By success, Blake and I mean that music is their full time job and they support themselves doing it).
Kyla performed so well, and the coaches’ commentary afterward is why these professionals impress me over any other competition show. Kyla went into “background singer” mode in rehearsals (and was called out on it), and while better, she slipped slightly into background singer in the Battle. Alicia specifically called her out on it, and Blake affirmed it (shows their fantastic ears!). I won’t give it all away in case you watch, but there were a couple of moments after the performance that just broke my heart and won it over to Kyla forever. The fact that they recognized that Kyla was slipping into that “support” mode and yet no one can deny that she STILL held her own against JessLynn is what made Blake pick her in my opinion. She’s a special one for sure.
I don’t mean to gush over her, but she then went on to KILL IT in her Knockout performance. I LOVED her song choice of You Don’t Own Me. Now, I’ll admit that song is one of my favorites because of my obsession back in the day with Dirty Dancing and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. But this puts a whole new meaning to it. I also loved that you could just see her confidence bloom during the performance. If she continues to grow? It is hers to win.
I’m getting ahead of myself. In the Battles, we had the new twist of the coaches being more involved in developing the performances. In the Knock Outs, instead of having the opportunity to simply ask an artist back that they eliminated, they get to hit the button ONCE for one of their own artists. They have to do it right after the performance, and after they’ve picked the winner. The twist? The other coaches can hit their buttons for a steal! This means someone can get a 4 Chair turn at the Knock Outs. I haven’t been sure about some of the changes, wondering if the show isn’t at least in the water with the sharks getting ready to jump, but I do like this one. Artists were “saved” by their coach in the past, but with this and the potential for another coach to pitch to him or her, it gives the power back to the artist.
In another interesting twist that I think is a jab at American Idol, instead of one (or two) famous music people working with the artists, each coach has a past Voice winner come help. Of course Adam, Blake, and Alicia have their own winners return with help from fan favorites Jordan Smith, Chloe Kohanski, and Chris Blue. Kelly Clarkson got Cassadee Pope. Cassadee was an early winner of Blake’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly didn’t know her as Cassadee has been working in the industry and even has a Grammy nomination on her resume. I am calling it… if a past winner ever becomes a coach, it will be Chris Blue. All were decent, but Chris was very good at it!
Song choices have been very good at the Knock Outs, so I have some anticipation for the lives. The Climb, Fallin (Alicia Keys first hit!), Wade in the Water, Yellow Brick Road, Rise Up, and All I Could Do Was Cry (ETTA JAMES!!!) ? Yes please!
Definitely keep an eye on Britton Buchanan. He was paired with the sweet 14 year old Dallas Caroline, that everyone gushed over. I don’t like being too critical of young artists, but her nerves were some of the worst I can remember. Her voice was way too trembly, even for Bless the Broken Road (another great song choice). As for Britton, I suspect that he has a not so happy small town upbringing, as he talked about how when everyone was out “making friends” he was working on his music and performing in bars, etc. It was a SMALL mention, which made me respect him more. I am VERY picky with anyone who sings a Billy Joel song, and he killed New York State of Mind. He needs to get over the modesty though, as he didn’t even tell Alicia at first that he plays the piano! IF YOU ARE SINGING A BILLY JOEL SONG AND YOU CAN PLAY THE PIANO, YOU MUST DO IT. It is a law.
It is going to be fun watching Tish Haynes Keys. When she chooses a song she picks one that is perfect for her voice (Chain of Fools, Lady Marmalade), that the audience is going to know, and she has FUN with them. There are a number of people with age and experience, but I don’t think anyone really matches her yet in comfort level or letting her personality SHINE through. I am glad that she stuck with Kelly, even though Kelly inexplicably picked D.R. King in the KO round (only to hit her save button immediately).
OK, I know the show is about not focusing on looks, hence the “Blind” auditions. But Adam’s new look is TOTALLY distracting, and not in a I want to jump his bones/he’s so pretty I didn’t hear a word he said kind of way. I hate the white blond hair on him, and I REALLY dislike it when he has his very dark beard growing out. He’s wearing plaid like he’s some lumberjack, but no Scandinavian lumberjack I’ve ever seen. The outfit he wears for the KO rehearsals has me thinking he is auditioning for some weird Harry Potter fan play, with his Malfoy slicked back hairdo. As a Potterhead, I can’t stop thinking about it in that way. If he looked at Wilkes, a Team Blake member, and said “Red Hair, Must be a Weasley” I would not be shocked.
Programming note: This week NBC is trying to kill me, with Voice episodes on Monday, Tuesday, AND Wednesday. I presume that Monday and Tuesday are performances, while Wednesday is when they cut the teams down to three each.