Hi all! I’m FINALLY back. It is a good season to jump into, if you’ve ever thought about it!
The coaches this season are Adam, Blake, Kelly, and Jennifer Hudson. Honestly, I was extremely close to not watching The Voice this season. I wasn’t sure I could handle another season of Kelly and JHud. TT twisted my arm and then I watched the first episode of the blinds. There were some GREAT voices and miracle of miracles, Kelly wasn’t as annoying and JHud seems lighter now! I’m still pissed Miley isn’t back, but I’m watching. I do like it when either Jennifer or Kelly just randomly bust out a note, and the other one joins in.
I’ve also noticed that there are not many 4 chair turns, but do NOT take that as an indication that the talent is any less than any other season. Just the opposite may be true. I think that the diversity and range of voices and GENRES is very interesting, and the coaches have to be more mindful of the makeup of their teams and their own abilities. For instance, I don’t think I’ve heard the blues, the REAL blues sung before on the show so well, and there is more than one artist capable of it.
I was initially not pleased about a new “wrinkle” in the process, called “The Comeback Stage”. There is, in essence, a fifth coach, a woman I have never heard of named Kelsea Ballerini. She will be picking 6 people who didn’t get a chair turn but she feels deserve a second chance. They will be competing online for a shot at the live rounds. (I’m not quite sure yet how it works). I was poo pooing the idea until one of THOSE moments happened. You know, where you are yelling at the TV “Song Choice! Song Choice! Will these people never learn!” (Or is that just me?). I prefer it when they give some coaching tips on what to work on, and then the DETERMINED ones go home, work their asses off, and come back to try again. Those are some of my favorite moments on The Voice Blinds (both when they give the coaching tips and when the artist comes back.)
But then young 18 year old Lynnea Moorer sang. She clearly has the type of voice that should have some range, and her song choice was totally wrong. She wasn’t off tempo, but it was like it had too many lyrics for the notes being played. I’m not even sure it covered a full octave. No chair turns, obviously. Then Kelly pulls “I don’t mean to put you on the spot but could you sing something slow, like a ballad?” with Jennifer totally agreeing. THE GIRL ALMOST IMMEDIATELY BUSTS OUT SINGING ADELE. Seriously, she sang Someone Like You ACAPELLA. Gorgeous vocals. If she had sung that? Four chair turn for sure. Hopefully this Comeback Coach is good. If she’s smart, they’ll have Lynnea sing Someone Like You when she goes live. If she has brass ovaries, she’ll do it acapella.
In reviewing the Youtubes to refresh my tired memory of the last 3 weeks of Blind Auditions, I realized Tamara is right. This may be the best season so far talent wise. I’m talking potentially better than the seasons where Sundance and Chloe won. BETTER THAN SUNDANCE’S SEASON, Y’ALL. I MEAN IT.
ARTISTS I AM TRACKING
RADHA, age 19. She goes by one name, in all caps. I loved her bio clip. Her family lives in New Jersey, but her parents are from the Philippines. She said that karaoke is big in their community, and her dad sang. RADHA did not inherit her pipes from her father’s side. She might be adopted if vocal talents are a paternal thing. She came out so cool and sweet, just looking polished. Then she started BELTING her song, giving us power and range and variety. Glancing through Adam’s team, she may be his best shot at making the finals.
Kennedy Holmes. 13. YES 13 YEARS OLD. I’m glad that she’s Team JHud, because even though I’ve not always been a JHud fan as a coach, I just feel instinctively that Jennifer will always be mindful that Kennedy is only 13. It would be very easy to forget. It isn’t that Kennedy has a look that is timeless. She doesn’t look old, per se, but she could be in her early 20s. However, she has the most poise I’ve ever seen in a 13-year-old. I’d I’ve known a number of teens that age or older. I used to teach 9th grade, so I KNOW. Her version of Adele’s Turning Tables was perfection. She had her dad and Kelly in tears. I was almost thinking she was a little too perfect, or practiced. Then in the midst of talking to the coaches, she got emotional. How Blake knows the mind and emotion of teenage girls is still so surprising even after all these seasons with his best being young women. His mama and his sister did a great job. He immediately said “Oh, she just realized Jennifer Hudson was talkin’ to her”, and Kennedy started nodding through the tears.
I can’t be mad at Jennifer for being soooo willing to show off her voice when it gives us beautiful moments like Kennedy telling her that it has always been her dream to sing with her, that her first performance was singing “I am Changing”. Jennifer immediately got up with an “I’m ready”. Here is why I do really, down deep, appreciate Kelly too. No ego… just more tears and I am “I am so happy” because she knows this is going to be amazing. And it was. Blake had a shit eatin’ grin on his face, and Kelly and I were a teary hot mess.
Michael Lee, 30. Oh my God. He KILLED it with the Thrill is Gone. Such a damn smart song choice when he also plays guitar. I love that he made it his own yet still honored B.B. King and Lucille by making sure he and his guitar were not singing at the same time. I do NOT make the B.B. reference lightly, people. I saw B.B. King perform live. I was literally less than 10 feet away from him. One of the concerts that I brag about, frankly. If Michael keeps performing at this level, he’s going to go far and I’ll want to see him. I thought because of the guitar he might go with Adam, but honestly, if he wants to go the blues route, Blake was not a bad choice as a coach.
Audri Bartholomew, 19. Those of you who are watching MIGHT be thinking I’m crazy for highlighting Audri over some of the 3 or 4 chair turn performances. I don’t care. I loved that she picked a very current song; one that both Kelly and Jennifer immediately acknowledged as a tough one. I admired Audri’s courage. But I also loved that we got a glimmer of the Jennifer that we saw in the UK edition, if you saw the popular YouTube clip where she didn’t blow smoke up the artist’s bum but immediately gave her a taste of what Jennifer could bring to the table as a coach by discussing what she needed to work on (and the artist sang again, and it was BETTER.) There were flaws in Audri’s performance, but ones that I believe JHud knows she can fix. She was muttering coaching tips before her chair turn. Jennifer always waits for the artist to hit a certain note or phrase in the song, no matter who is turning or not turning, which I love. Then Jennifer went up and sang the song with her (even though she was the only chair turn, so there was no need to convince Audri to pick her). I firmly believe that was Audri’s first coaching session, even though it wasn’t obvious.
Sandy Redd. 35. Ladies and Gentlemen, this woman has the potential of being this era’s Tina Turner. She was so damn good that if you showed me just a clip of her performance devoid of any indication that this was a Voice audition, I would think it was a teaser trailer of her concert. She had everything together. Her look, her moves, her voice were all on point. She went with Kelly, which may be a good choice because of Kelly’s apparent knowledge of a lot of different genres and her experience on a competition show. Honestly though, all Sandy Redd needed was a position on a team. I’m not sure she needs much coaching other than just a good sounding board.
Lela. 15. I loved this girl’s zippy, cute personality. I’ve been disappointed by the Spanish speaking singers in the past, and this young woman may be the One. She is bright, sparkly, and her transition from English to Spanish and back again was fluid and inspiring. You know someone is good when you don’t give a crap that you can’t understand the lyrics because it is a language you don’t speak. It is a genre and fan base that has never been explored on this show, and I hope Lela and Kelly make it happen. It has the potential of being truly exciting.
TT’s Video Pick of the Week! Katrina Cain
Whew! On to the Battle Rounds!
On a personal note, many thank yous to Tamara for her patience and to those of you reading this. It’s been rough and busy for me in real life the last month or two, as TT knows. She’s been an absolute gem.
I have to give a shout out to those of you that regularly post and have been honest about your #MeToo experiences along with Tamara. My own #MeToo is mild in comparison. With this summer and fall’s brutal news cycle, I have a much deeper understanding of what it means to be truly ‘triggered’. My hope is that The Voice can be a safe space, even safer than our beloved Bravo shows, and certainly more drama free.
So come join me in the show I consider my “self care” show… no or very few triggers, yet moments where I have a cathartic cry and then after the next commercial I’m dancing in my pajamas with my glass of wine. I also look forward to arguing about details of a performance with you all.