Category Archives: Talent

The Voice, Season 10 – Battle Rounds #4

TheVoice032216It’s the last night of the Battle Rounds tonight. There is one Steal left, and that’s for Christina Aguilera, meaning she has her choice of three artists, and she has to take one of them.

The first battle up tonight is Laith Al-Saadi vs. Matt Tedder for Team Adam with Tori Kelly as mentor. They’ll be singing “Honky Tonk Women.”Tori notes that as both are guitar players, they really connect with their instruments. Laith believes it’s forcing them both to up their game. They do a really interesting bluesy version of the song, but Matt’s singing definitely pales. Blake Shelton says Laith sang his face off. Adam notes Laith is more established and Matt ready to learn. He keeps Laith. As Matt walks off, Pharrell Williams tells him to go make a record.

Up for Team Pharrell is Caity Peters vs. Joe Vivona along with Sean “Diddy” Combs as mentor. They’re singing “Honesty.” Pharrell likes Caity’s rasp and says Joe’s voice is getting eclipsed right now by his nerves. Diddy hugs Joe before the last rehearsal to give him a little confidence. The battle starts off with the nerves, but Joe works to lose that throughout the song. Blake thinks Caity has the more unique voice, but Joe also has a few things in there. Pharrell heard a moment where Caity really dug in, but Joe got to a point finally of having no fear. He goes with his heart and picks Caity.

Team Blake with his mentor Gwen Stefani work with their last battle paring, Brittany Kennell and Trey O’Dell. They’ll be singing “The Chain.” Blake says Brittany is born sounding like nobody else, and Gwen thinks she’s a little too happy. She tells Trey it looks like he’s really in it, and Blake tells him he’s singing so much better than he did in the Blinds. Both improve even more by their battle. Christina thinks there’s some vibrato in Caity similar to Gwen’s and has no comparison for Trey. Blake calls it a tough one and goes with his gut, Brittany. Despite it seeming like she was angling more towards Brittany, Christina steals him.

The teams are now all set, and Monday they will start with the Knockout Rounds with Miley Cyrus as mentor. That’s going to be an interesting round.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Top 4 with Steven Van Zandt and Sia

Idol032416Tonight not only do we have our final four revealed, but we’re also getting Steven Van Zandt and Sia as mentors, and Katherine McPlee and David Cook will perform. Sia will also perform. Each Idol sings a classic rock song and a Sia song. The show starts out somewhat slow, but it picks up momentum toward the end.

The first one up tonight to work with Steven is La’Porsha Renae. She’s singing “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” Steven thinks it works because it’s so unexpected, and she says she really feels it when she sings the song. She definitely has the attitude down for this, and she has a new dreadlocks hairstyle that looks great on her. Keith Urban says it was cool that she brought out the blues undertones of the song. Jennifer Lopez feels she could sing the phone book, and it wouldn’t matter. Harry Connick Jr. notices that she slowed down her vibrato for the song.

MacKenzie Bourg is up next, and he’ll be singing “I Want You to Want Me.” He realizes it’s out of his wheelhouse. Steven isn’t thrilled with it until he takes it in a completely different way, but he warns him not to change the melody too much. He does manage to take it to a singer/songwriter place, and it’s good, but I am left wishing for the original. JLo doesn’t know that she loves how he MacKenzie’d it. Harry wishes he would have sang a version with more energy. Keith comes right out and says he hated the arrangement.

David Cook, the winner of season seven of American Idol, comes back for a visit to sing his song “Heartbeat,” and behind him we see play out the winning moments of the other Idols to come before and after him, all of them, the ones we liked and the ones we didn’t.

The remaining singers are up waiting for the results: Trent Harmon, Sonika Vaid, and Dalton Rappatoni. One is safe, and the other are the bottom two. Trent is safe, surprisingly leaving Dalton in the bottom two.

Trent and Steven are trying to make “Sharp Dressed Man” unique, and they find this part in the middle that makes it what Trent explains is “not a cover.” And sure, it’s unique, but this jazzy version just isn’t the same. I’d rather listen to MacKenzie’s Cheap Trick. Harry was content with the groove but says he could have stretched the slower part out for ten minutes in a concert. Keith says he needs a performance that stands out at this point. Jen has been waiting for him to have this performance.

It’s now between Sonika and Dalton as to who is moving on. And everyone I know is ready to say goodbye to Sonika, so we’ll see if the voters feel the same way. The final person moving on into the final four is Dalton. We say goodbye to Sonika.

Dalton says it was hard to choose a song this week and was dead set on “Seven Nation Army,” and they start brainstorming on his other choice “God Only Knows.” This is my favorite Beach Boys song, and he does Brian Wilson proud. He does have a few pitchy moments, but you couldn’t be any more tender. Keith was impressed by him saying earlier he only had 90 seconds to impress America. Jen is glad he took the advice to change up his song. Harry says this was the most complex song he’s done so far, and the arrangement showed his vulnerabilities.

Katherine McPhee comes back to sing the song that probably cemented her as final two in season five, “Over the Rainbow.”

Sia meets up with the Idols to have them sing her songs. Up first is La’Porsha. She admits to fangirling when she met Sia, who returns the favor by saying she heard La’Porsha’s version of “Diamonds,” and she was totally blown away. This time she’s singing “Elastic Heart,” and she makes Sia cry. Tonight she sings it and sounds very powerful,but it’s not my favorite of hers. JLo feels like she’s not even doing her job anymore when she’s watching her. Harry feels like he’s in the passenger seat of a NASCAR car when she sings. Keith feels like he’s at an awards show watching her.

MacKenzie is the next to meet with Sia. He’s singing “Titanium” and admits it’s out of his comfort zone. She works with him on trying to hit the high note and advises him to trust himself. He MacKenzies this song much better than his first song. Harry is irritated by everyone looking for the “triple axle” at this point. Keith thought it was really beautiful to hear it as a singer/songwriter song. Jen thinks it’s great that Sia made him go there with it.

Sia takes a break in mentoring the Idols to sing her own song, singing “Cheap Thrills.” She performs on a pedestal behind her wig while others dance to her music as is her usual.

Trent gets a chance to work with Sia and says seeing her in the flesh is like seeing a unicorn. He’s singing “Chandelier.” She’s happy that he’s making it his own but would love to hear it in the normal octave with the first verse. This is a song that works with Trent and his style extremely well. Keith says it played to everything he has that’s so special to him. Jen points out it’s so different than what he sang earlier, so he can do anything. Harry thought it was phenomenal.

Last up is Dalton who is singing “Bird Set Free.” She notes he has the most restrained voice of everyone, and when he lets go it brings a sense of relief. He tells her he absolutely adores the words to this song, and they bond over both being bipolar. Singing this song tonight, he brings tears to my eyes. He breaks just like La’Porsha did last week. Jen tells him everyone is cheering for his bravery. Harry says it was the most powerful for him when he sang there’s a scream inside that he tries to hide. Keith loves that he’s up against some insane singers, but he goes right through and pushes through his limitations.

I believe Dalton just got through to the final three, and we know La”Porsha has to be there. I think the third spot is between Trent and MacKenzie. We’ll see next week. Until then, I’ll be playing tonight’s music which will finally be available on iTunes.

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The Voice, Season 10 – Battle Rounds #3

TheVoice032116The Battle Rounds are continuing on The Voice this week, and we’re right in the thick of it. There have already been a fair number of steals, so the coaches are starting to get a little stingy with them. They aren’t as likely to hit their button for everyone they wish didn’t have to leave the show.

Up first tonight is Team Blake Shelton with his advisor Gwen Stefani. It’s Adam Wakefield taking on Jared Harder. Gwen notes that Adam already comes across as such a natural, while Blake thinks Jared is still learning who he is. They have a great back and forth battle with Adam on keyboard and Jared on guitar. Adam Levine can see Adam Wakefield going out on tour with the Allman Brothers tomorrow. Adam makes Blake Shelton think of the word character, both in voice and because he looks like one. The difference is experience, so the winner is Adam.

Pharrell Williams is working with Sean “Diddy” Combs as an advisor. This battle will be between Emily Keener and Jonathan Bach. Diddy tells Jonathan not to be premeditated with the emotions and tells Emily that her emotion has to match her performance. They sing “Explosions,” and he has a nice falsetto while she has a nice tone. While Blake Shelton thought Jonathan made it more theatrical, he connected more with Emily. Pharrell explains that while it wasn’t in Emily’s wheelhouse, she continues to push, so he chooses to move forward with her.

Daniel Passino and Kristen Marie will be battling it out for Christina Aguilera and her advisor Patti LaBelle. They’ll be singing Adele’s “Turning Tables” which is interesting because Kristen sounds so much like her. Patti thinks she has a beautiful tone but loves Daniel’s range. In their battle, they are as promised. All the judges lean towards keeping Daniel. Christina decides to go with the singer who is more sure of themselves and what they want to be, and that’s Daniel.

Up next for Team Pharrell are Abby Celso and Brian Hnira. They’re singing Maroon 5’s “Sugar.” Diddy notes that the way they deliver it will make the song more impactful. Both he and Pharrell want them to bring more emotion into it. They do better with that in the battle, but their version still pales compared to Adam’s. All the judges think Brian should be the winner. Pharrell believes they both should stay in the competition. He mentions putting his faith in others and chooses Abby.

It seems like Pharrell picked Abby because he knew one of the others would pick up Brian and felt if he reversed it that Abby would go home. Sure enough. Adam and Christina both push their buttons for Brian. Adam says he’d be on a pedestal on his team, while she says she knows what to do with him. He picks Adam.

Adam and his mentor Tori Kelly work with the next pairing, Caroline Burns and Mick Schiavo. Adam knows he has great instincts from when he played with him at his audition. He wants Caroline to have more confidence. They sing “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” and she seems nervous and a little immature in her emotions. The judges differ on who had the better performance. In the end Adam goes with the one who he sees more potential from, and that’s Caroline.

The last pairing of the night is between Alisan “Curly Sue” Porter and Lacy Mandigo for Team Christina. They’ll be singing “California Dreamin’.” Patti says Alisan has a powerful voice while Lacy can be a hot mama vocally. In the Battle, both are incredible, but you have to give it to Alisan in the end. Blake thinks they’re two different types of vocalists, so they’re hard to compare, but he thinks Lacy needs more time. While Christina is moved by both of them, the winner is Alisan. And just when Lacy starts to walk off, Blake steals her.

There are just a few more Battle Rounds left and one steal before the Knockout Rounds begin next week.

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The Voice, Season 10 – Battle Rounds #2

TheVoice031516We’re getting into the thick of the battle rounds. They showed just a tiny bit of them on Monday’s show, and now with the first full night of pairings, we get six exciting battles.

First up is team Christina Aguilera who has Patti LaBelle as a mentor to her team. Shalyah Fearing and Tamar Davis are paired up to sing “Lady Marmalade,” Patti’s classic hit. Christina thinks Tamar has an incredible range while Shalyah is beyond her years with grip and soul. All four sing the song together which is amazingly good. When it comes to their battle, you just can’t surpass the polish of Tamar. Pharrell Williams believes Christina can’t go wrong, and when she goes with Tamar, he steals Shalyah.

Blake Shelton is working with Gwen Stefani as an advisor, and up first for them is Justin Whisnant vs. Mary Sarah. Blake chooses “Louisiana Woman Mississippi Man” for them because they both have a vintage sound. Gwen says Justin’s voice is so warm and full of character while Mary has a lot of style to her voice. When the two battle it out, they could be the next Conway and Loretta. Christina notes Justin is accurate while Mary’s high notes were really nice. Blake notes that Mary blended personality and fun which is hard to do and goes with her.

Next up is Pharrell and his mentor Sean “Diddy” Combs’ first battle, Jessica Crosbie vs. Nick Hagelin. They’re singing “Electric Feel.” Diddy advises them to dance a little, both with the song and to feel the beat. They both improve a lot by their performance. Adam notes that he turned for Jessica during the blind auditions, and it broke his heart when she went with Pharrell. However, he goes on to pick Nick, leaving Adam to steal Jessica.

Chelsea Gann vs. Kata Hay is the next pairing for Christina and Patti. They’re taking on “I’m the Only One.” They comment that Chelsea is all smooth, while Kata is all fire, making it the perfect fit for them to learn and grow from each other. During the battle Kata has more personality, while Chelsea has a clearer voice. Blake realizes that these are both country artists, yet he didn’t hit his button originally for either one, despite them both being from Oklahoma. Christina mentions Chelsea’s powerful high notes while Kata seems genuine. She picks the latter, and Blake does not try to steal Chelsea.

Adam and his mentor Tori Kelly get their only pairing of the night: Natalie Yacovazzi and Nate Butler. They’re tackling one of Tori’s songs, “Hollow.” Nate reminds Adam of himself, while Natalie has a cool rasp. While Adam noticed how hard Nate was working, she still sounded stronger in the battle, yet Christina thinks they’re neck and neck. Adam chooses who he believes he can move forward with confidently, and that’s Nate.

In the last pairing of the Nate, it’s Hannah Huston vs. Maya Smith for Team Pharrell and Diddy. He tells them not to be intimidated by the song and that they have to pull it together. They give a pep talk to each other onstage before the battle. They sing “Elastic Heart” and Maya has a powerful run while Hannah eventually brings out her power. Christina noticed how solid they both were with their vibratos. Noting that Hannah’s control is on another level, Pharrell goes with her.

Christina hits her button to steal Maya right when she begins to walk offstage. Right when Christina thinks she has it sewn up, Blake tries to steal her as well. They fight over yet another contestant, but Maya eventually picks Christina.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Top 5 Sing America’s Choice

Idol031716This week the Idols are singing America’s Choice, two songs that fans have picked for them, and it has led to mixed results. The leaders are only continuing to pull away from the pack. La’Porsha Renae and Dalton Rappatoni still seem like the definite front runners with Trent Harmon and MacKenzie Bourg the dark horses. Sonika Vaid just doesn’t seem to get it, and the fans notice, but the judges keep saving her anyway.

Adam Lambert made a return to the show, reprising the song he took on in 2009, “Mad World,” as well as his new song “Welcome to the Show.” He’s just as captivating as he was back then, reminding me a lot of Dalton this year. Yazz and Jussie Smolett from Empire also appear and sing “Never Let It Die,” but it just seems like shameless promotion for Fox.

This week we’re going to the Idols hometowns, a few weeks earlier than is normally done, and we start with Trent Harmon from Amory, Mississippi. His fans there note that the first Idol, Elvis, was from the area, so the last American Idol should be as well. He sings “Counting Stars,” but I don’t like his interpretation of the song. Keith Urban wasn’t pulled in either, and Jennifer Lopez feels like he did what he could with what he was given. Harry Connick Jr. felt like it was a hoedown

Dalton Rappatoni’s hometown of Sunnyvale, Texas, is shown through the eyes of the women in his grandmother’s beauty shop. He sings “Numb,” and it’s good, but just isn’t too exciting. Jen feels like he took the oomph off the song, Harry thought he poured his guts into the lyrics, and Keith suggests that it should have been stripped down even more.

La’Porsha Renae’s superfans from her hometown of McComb, Mississippi are shown as well as her old band director. She sings “Ready for Love,” and it’s a slam dunk. But then I start to wonder if it’s perfect for her or if she made it perfect for her. Harry recognizes that she sways her strength to whatever she needs to do for each song. Keith realized he was no longer judging and was just enjoying it from an audience perspective, and Jen says it’s her favorite India.Arie song.

It’s between Sonika, MacKenzie, and Tristan for the last spot to automatically make it to next week. It’s Mackenzie up next, meaning Tristan and Sonika will sing afterwards hoping that they’ll earn the judges’ save.

In MacKenzie Bourg’s hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, young girls argue over which of them he is signing to. He sings “Wild World” and updates the song a little bit making it more upbeat. Keith compares him to cake batter saying when when it’s not cooked it’s still good. Jen thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Harry thinks MacKenzie could record this and release it as his own.

Tristan McIntosh is from Nashville, Tennessee, and we see superfans and her church. She sings “Independence Day” and accompanies herself on the piano. She seems to be dealing with nerves but comes on strong at the end. Jen suggests trying different things because she feels like they have the same performance from her every week. Harry believes she’s really good at singing songs from a place of pain. Keith suggests she either strip down the song or do it full-on with the band. It’s not looking too good for the judges to save her.

In Sonika Vaid’s hometown of Weston, Massachusetts, we’re taken to a golf club and a vision center. I’m not sure why those were chosen. She sings “Let It Go” and doesn’t seem to do much for the song over what we see little girls doing on YouTube. Harry says she needs to work on how to work with more powerful underscoring. Keith thinks the performance really started to come alive, while Jen believes they saw her trying to fight to stay.

It’s is’t too much of a surprise when Keith announces that both Tristan and Sonika are beautiful singers, yet they are choosing to save Sonika yet again.

The second set for the show has the Idols explaining some very difficult emotionally-trying times in their lives, followed by more America’s Choice songs.

Dalton explains he felt like there were two sides to him as a kid. He was finally diagnosed as bipolar, and once he picked up the guitar, everything fell into place for him. He sings “The Sound of Silence,” and the knowledge that he’s bipolar makes this more haunting. Keith liked how he put so much emphasis on the lyrics. Jen felt like we were all getting a piece of his soul. Harry describes him treating every song like a blank wall, then spray painting it.

MacKenenzie describes his childhood as doing all kinds of sports. But as a junior he got sick with a virus that gave him congestive heart failure. He was told he couldn’t play sports again and was inspired to go into music by his brother. He sings “Billie Jean,” another cool version that is somehow different than the one David Cook did. Jen thinks he just showed everyone why he’s still there, while Harry felt it was in his wheelhouse. Keith makes the comparison of the gerbil idolizing Bolt in the animated film. He’s the gerbil and MacKenenzie is Bolt.

Trent built his favorite guitar with his best friend who passed away before he ever got a chance to play it. It’s hard for him to even look at it, and he always thinks about him onstage. He performs “Simple Man,” and I wish he had the guitar with him. Harry would like to hear him do a duet with Adam Lambert. Keith says it’s his favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Jen begins to tear up and says it’s while she’ll miss Idol, having the seat in the front row and watching the perfect song and the perfect singer come together.

Sonika talks about her biggest emotional journey being when she tried out for American Idol, and it falls short of the other previous stories. That’s why her performances lack the emotional punch. She hasn’t experienced the emotions to throw behind the performances. She sings “Clarity,” and just like her emotional story, it’s empty. Keith suggests she keep letting go because she’s still too controlled. Jen didn’t love the song for her. Harry liked her standing on stage with Tristan better than the song.

La’Porsha talks about being 18 and meeting a guy who became abusive. He hated her voice, her hair, all the things that made her who she was. After her daughter was born, she moved into a shelter and remembered wanting to be a singer and be on Idol. She sings “No More Drama,” a song that couldn’t be more fitting. It’s hard to imagine her not being strong. She breaks down after the performance. Through tears Jen says it takes a lot of strength to overcome that and thanks her for that powerful moment.

At this point it doesn’t matter who is named the American Idol of season 15. With that performance, La’Porsha just won. Not the show, but her life. She just proved to herself that she never has to put up with that shit again.

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The Voice, Season 10 – The Blind Auditions Wrap Up and Battle Rounds Begin

TheVoice031416The Voice is flying right through the blind auditions. On Monday the Blind Auditions wrapped up with all four judges filling up their teams, and the show moved quickly into the Battle Rounds. Here’s how it played out.

The End of the Blinds

Jared Harder has been singing since he was three years old, with a church event being the first time he sang for a crowd. His small town of Joplin, Missouri, was struck by one of the largest tornadoes in history in 2011, and he recalls everything was destroyed. He sings “Merry Go Round” to show his support for his town. Blake Shelton turns around, making him the last singer on Blake’s team.

Moushumi went to medical school in India, the same one her parents attended, but she missed music, so came back to the U.S. and started doing open mic nights. She sings “Wicked Game” and has such a unique tone. Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and Pharrell Williams turn around. Despite Christina saying she has a beautiful name to match her beautiful voice, Moushumi picks Pharrell.

Katie Basden grew up listening to classic rock with her dad and went to college in Nashville. She left and came back home when she heard her dad was having heart surgery. She sings “Midnight Rider,” turning the chairs of Adam, Pharrell, and Christina. They peg her as country, yet Adam sees it as more southern rock. She goes on to pick him as her coach, filling up his team.

Jonathan Huthcherson lives on a five-acre farm with his parents and three younger brothers. He has been hard of hearing since he was born. His mom is so happy that he can sing as they had told her he might not even talk. He sings “You and I.” Pharrell turns for him as he fills up the last spot on his team.

Christina is the only one with a spot left on her team. Ayanna Jahneé is the next auditioner. Her first role in musical theater was as a munchkin in The Wiz. She found out in eighth grade that her mom had cancer. She eventually passed away and music became therapeutic for Ayanna. She sings “Skyfall,” and Christina turns her chair to fill her team. She and her newest team member then sing an impromptu “My Team Is Full” together.

Battle Rounds

Tori Kelly is helping mentor Team Adam. The first pairing is Katie Basden and Ryan Quinn. Ryan is the frontrunner on the team, and Adam thinks if anyone can challenge him Katie can. They sing “Maybe I’m Amazed.” She holds her own, but you have to give it to him. However, Blake says he would pick Katie. Adam says she’s great even when she’s sick, but Ryan does it with a lot of heart and soul. He chooses Ryan, leaving Christina and Blake to both try to steal Katie. In the end she goes with Blake.

Occasional coach Gwen Stefani helps mentor Team Blake. The first battle is between Brittney Lawrence and Paxton Ingram. They are singing “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. Gwen notices that Brittney isn’t emotionally feeling the pain and that Paxton performs well. When they sing in their battle, he has the emotions down, but she has the bigger voice. Both Christina and Pharrell think Brittney’s performance could have been improved. Blake goes on to choose Paxton as he says there’s just something about him.

Team Christina is getting help from Patti LaBelle as a mentor. Their first pairing is Bryan Bautista and Malik Heard. They’re taking on “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.” Patti warns they need to have the chops to step into James Brown’s world. In their battle they play off each other and blend so well and appear equal. Instead of giving criticism or praise, the other coaches all make a play for stealing whoever doesn’t move on with Christina. She picks Bryan, and the other three hit their buttons to steal. Malik goes on to choose Pharrell.

It’s a very strong start for the Battle Rounds and an even bigger start for Team Christina. The others will have to do a lot to measure up to what her first pairing just did.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Top 8 Sing American Idol Songbook

Idol031016I’m not really fond of tonight’s theme: American Idol Songbook. This means any song that has been performed throughout these fifteen seasons of the show, and to me that just cuts too wide of a path. It is interesting, though, to see the retrospect on the different Idols to sing some of the songs. In addition, the Idols are also doing duets with each other.

The first duet is with La’Porsha Renae and Trent Harmon. He talks about the power in her voice while she takes about how high his voice is. They sing “See You Again,” and their voices blend really well together with great vocal gymnastics. Keith Urban notes that it played to both of their strengths. Jennifer Lopez found the whole thing just magical. At one point Harry Connick Jr. didn’t know who was singing which part because their voices blended so well.

Next up are Avalon Young and Sonika Vaid. Sonika loves Avalon’s voice, while Avalon says it’s nerve-wracking because Sonika has one of the best voices there. They sing “Rise Up,” and while I would have never put these two together, their voices do match up really well. Jen thought their angelic voices were pushing each other. Harry notes that Avalon is more rhythmic while Sonika more melodic. Keith expounds more on that, saying Sonika’s tone is so angelic, but Avalon is such a natural singer.

Mackenzie Bourg and Dalton Rappatoni are combining on “I Want It That Way.” Mackenzie thinks it’s a perfect song for Dalton but not for him since he’s not the boy band type, while Dalton notes Mackenzie is very good at the singer/songwriter thing. The song doesn’t really do either of them any favors. Harry, Keith, and JLo agree that it was not a good song choice.

Lee Jean and Tristan McIntosh are the last duet. She talks about his higher notes, while he mentions the power in her voice. She also says it’s difficult for them to do a love song since he’s shorter than her. They sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, and he sounds like he’s off key, but they mentioned earlier that he wasn’t feeling well. Keith figures it was hard for them to find a song that with in a key for both of them, and JLo recognizes that Tristan’s voice really shined, but it wasn’t the thing for Lee. Harry figures it was just a problem with the arrangement.

La’Porsha is the first soloist, and she talks about a teacher she had who told her not to try to fit in. The teacher surprises her there at Idol, and she talks about it being an honor to teach someone so special. In a big departure, La’Porsha sings “Come Together” showing that she can rock it out, too. Jen points out that she goes full diva every time. Harry jokes if she can make sense of those lyrics … and Keith thinks any song is a terrific song for her.

MacKenzie was always into sports, and the first time he played music in front of people it was for his basketball team. His coach still swears he discovered him. He sings “You Are So Beautiful” without his guitar, and it’s so tender and beautiful. Harry says he couldn’t have picked a more appropriate song. It speaks volumes to Keith that he picked that song because he made it sound brand new. Jen found it to be croonerish as well as indie rock.

Nick Fradiani, last season’s winner, makes a return appearance. He sings his new song “Get You Home.” It reminds me a lot of Robin Thicke and seems to be a departure from the genres he’d sing on Idol. He says afterward that it’s like coming back to family.

Trent asked his parents not to come to the show yet because he never even told them he was auditioning until he made it. He’s been doing it on his own so far, so wants to continue, but does want them at the finale if he makes it. He sings “Stand By Me,” and it sounds beautiful, but I think he put too much into what should be a simple melody. Keith tells him not to lean too heavy on the stylistic moments. Jen isn’t sure the audience is getting how much of a badass he is. Harry suggests the harder he sinks into a song the better it will be.

Tristan’s grandfather always wanted someone in the family to be a singer and goes to wherever she’s performing in his wheelchair. She sings “Broken Wing” and seems flawless. Jen tells her she has a perfectly-suited country voice. Harry asks what happens to the girl in the second verse, and Tristan believes she left because she couldn’t deal with it anymore. Keith agrees that it’s the perfect kind of song for her and loves her grandfather being so supportive.

The last person to automatically make it to the top six is between Sonika, Dalton, Avalon, and Lee. This means one of them is automatically in from the votes last week, and the judges will save one of the other three with the other two going home. It’s not a shock to anyone that Dalton is the one who makes it through on the votes.

Dalton says that while his mom is a typical suburban mom, she used to be a total badass and into the punk scene. He wears her old leather trench coat now, but she knows he doesn’t have the “heinie” to wear her leather pants. He sings “Eleanor Rigby” and makes it into a perfect song for him. Harry was dying to hear what he was going to do with the song arrangement. Keith says like a good waffle iron, he made an impression. Jen points to the theatricality of it saying it was so him.

Avalon is the first of the bottom three to sing. She explains that she has a facial tic from her OCD that goes away when she sings and that she first picked up the guitar at 10 years old. She sings “PYT (Pretty Young Thing).” It’s a good song for her, but I don’t know if it will be enough to save her. It’s confusing to Keith that she always connects with everyone but keeps winding up in the bottom three. JLo notes that she’s a natural performer. Harry suggests she sing a ballad next time.

Lee moved around a lot when he was growing up, and once they stopped moving, his one friend was the fellow student who’s supposed to show you around school. That friend heard him singing one time, and his whole world changed after that. He sings “Let I Be.” He’s off with the timing and just off tonight in general. Jen isn’t sure if this will be enough to save him. Harry found him really sharp which was surprising to him. Keith remembers that he did a show like Idol at Lee’s age and had to try hard to reign the nerves in.

Sonika notes that her mom would sing her lullabies and make up her own. Her grandfather taught her mom how to sing, and she performed in Bollywood. She sings “I Have Nothing,” but the song is too big for her. However, I have a feeling the judges will pick her. Harry calls it a big risk but said he loved it. Keith wants her to continue to release and let go to show that type of stuff more often. This is Jen’s favorite Whitney Houston song, and she thought she did a good job with it.

When it comes down to the judges’ decision, Harry says it gets harder and harder every week. While the crowd can be heard shouting for them to save Avalon, instead they save Sonika, sending Avalon and Lee home.

It’s a good thing these songs have all been done before on Idol. I realized this week that so far they haven’t made the songs from this season available in downloads – at least I haven’t been able to find them on Apple Music, iTunes, or the official website. Are they waiting until next week for the final six or are they making us do without this year?

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The Voice, Season 10 – Blind Auditions #4

TheVoice030816These blind auditions are zooming by really quickly. The coaches nearly have their teams filled up already. We’ll end tonight with two of the coaches only having one spot apiece on their teams The following are the more memorable auditions.

Tamar Davis joined a group called Girl Time when she was 11 years old. Her parents pulled her out of the group, and it went on to become Destiny’s Child. As an adult she sang with Prince and worked with Tyler Perry who is here supporting her today and encouraged her to auction. She has a well-seasoned voice, and Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton both turn their chairs. Adam Levine thinks it makes sense for her to be on Christina’s team, and in the end she decides to go with her.

Jessica Crosbie grew up in England but is living in Atlanta now believing her small hometown wouldn’t offer her what she needed for her career. She would love to work with Adam. She sings a more delicate version of “Viva La Vida,” and has a very pretty soft voice. Christina, Adam, and Pharrell Williams all turn their chairs. Christina believes there are things in her they haven’t heard, but Jessica decides it will be Pharrell who gets to help her figure that out.

Justin Whisnant is from a small town where his parents separated early in his life, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. He was given an ultimatum at work, either the job or music. He chose music, and here he is. He sings “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” turning both Adam and Blake’s chairs. Not only is he country, but he’s also from Oklahoma, making it look really good for Blake. He announces that he traded in his sneakers for “wing toes,” but Blake heard “wheat toast.” Despite that, he become Justin’s new coach.

Owen Danoff’s father was in Starland Vocal Band, the group behind the hit “Afternoon Delight.” However, the choice to go into music for a career was all Owen’s and not his dad.’s He’d be excited to work with Pharrell. He sings a Bob Dylan song, and you can hear the old-time folk in him. He turns all four chairs. Adam announces that seeing him play was even better than listening to him with his back turned. He goes on to chose Adam who meets his dad who announces that they both share a Best New Artist Grammy.

Brittney Lawrence has wanted to sing ever since hearing the Dixie Chicks. She is a cheerleading coach and also works full time for a textbook company and is studying to be a teacher. She tried out seven times for the show, but this is the first time she made it to the Blind Auditions. Christina and Blake both turn for her, and Pharrell encourages her to pick someone who helps her find her vibrato. Blake thinks not having a vibrato can be a good thing, and she goes on to pick him.

Matt Tedder grew up listening to the blues greats and even met BB King. He moved to Nashville as an adult and busks and teaches lessons to get by. He decides to sing a Muddy Waters song and thinks it would be really fulfilling for a coach to turn on that. Adam is the only coach who turns, and he’s even more impressed by his slide guitar playing. So that they can hear his guitar playing uninterrupted by his vocals, he does a solo and gets a standing O from Pharrell.

Joe Maye auditioned last season, but no one turned their chair for him. Blake thought it was because he was dancing and got out of breath. He sings a version of “I Put a Spell on You” that is really spirited and from the gut and turns both Blake’s and Christina’s chairs. Christina tells him it’s a favorite song of hers to perform and would love to sing it with him someday. She’s cajoled into doing it with him right then. And after that he has no choice but to pick her.

By the close of the show there are just six openings left to make it onto a team. Christina and Blake both have eleven singers on their team, and Pharrell and Adam both have ten.

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The Voice, Season 10 – Blind Auditions #3

TheVoice030716It was magic when Alisan Porter auditioned for The Voice last week. However, our second chance of a celebrity auditioning didn’t turn out as well. Aijia, singer Andy Grammer’s wife, auditioned Monday night, yet didn’t turn any chairs. It looks like it’s back to singing for Selena Gomez for her.

The following are some of the other memorable performances from the night

Hannah Huston is a preschool teacher, and before she goes onstage, she sees her preschool class wishing her luck which makes her emotional. She has a beautiful voice, and Blake Shelton can’t understand why no one is turning, yet he, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera all turn on the last note. Pharrell saw a lot of her personality come bubbling out, and she goes on to pick him as her coach.

Brian Nhira’s parents are originally from Zimbabwe, and they have a total of ten degrees between the two of them.. He sings “Happy,” and Pharrell and Blake both turn. Blake figures he doesn’t have a shot since this is Pharrell’s song, yet Brian is from Tulsa. He talks about singing “Jesus Loves Me” when he was growing up, and he sings that for the coaches as well, then goes on to pick Pharrell.

Peyton Parker’s parents are in her top five people, and perhaps that’s because they are totally supportive. They picked up and moved to Nashville when she decided she couldn’t pursue music in Georgia. Christina, Pharrell, and Blake turn for her. Blake feels the show is turning into coaches trying to take country artists away from him. In the end, Peyton picked him anyway.

Nate Butler auditioned for the Philadelphia Voice Choir when he was 10 and then did musical theater in high school. He definitely has a fun voice. Blake, Pharrell, and Adam Levine all hit their buttons at the last note. Adam thinks it’s clear who he was, and Nate picks him.

Ryan Quinn has Lyme disease and co-teaches music classes for kids who have suffered traumas. He believes he will choose Pharrell if given a choice. He has an amazing voice and turns all four chairs. Christina tells him his voice is one that needs to be heard, but he goes on to choose Adam.

At the end of the third night of Blind Auditions, Adam, Blake, and Pharrell all have eight artists each on their teams while Christina has just seven.

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American Idol, Season 15 – Final 10 Perform Grammy-Winning Songs

Idol030316I don’t want it to be the final 10 already. This final season of American Idol is ticking away too quickly. And they’re taking the Idols away from us too quickly as well, as tonight the final 10 will become the final 8 as the judges will eliminate two of the bottom three. This means the first seven performers are automatically in the final 8.

First up to perform is Dalton Rapattoni. He wonders before he performs how to become even better which is a great thought for someone who is considered a frontrunner. He sings “Radioactive,” and while the chorus is good, the verses were the first time I didn’t like him. It’s NOT a good competition song until the end when he can belt it. Keith Urban agreed that it wasn’t a great song choice, and Jennifer Lopez tells him he needs to get out of his head. He reminds Harry Connick Jr. of Billy Joe Armstrong.

Lee Jean was bothered last week to be compared to Mackenzie. He sings “Use Somebody,” and he’s right that he’s different, but it’s clear how much that bothered him as this is so out of his Ed Sheeran genre. JLo thinks there’s more voice in him than he even knows. Harry notes how the song relates for him since it’s about being away from home. Keith wishes Lee would have done something else with the song.

Demi Lovato takes the stage with the Idols the sing “Confident,” something new, which was good to see. She then sings “Stone Cold” alone. She has some great emotion in that, making me wonder if she was trying to do something to match Kelly Clarkson’s efforts last week. She did great, but the angst that Kelly showed probably isn’t beatable or even matchable.

Last week Sonika Vaid felt like it was the best she’d ever performed. She chooses “Since U Been Gone” to try to recapture the “angst you bad girl alter ego” she found, but it’s hard to do a song you’re going to be compared to Kelly. It doesn’t match up to her or to what Sonika did last week. Harry thought she was digging her own voice more than trying to sing the words. Keith wanted more “angry girlfriend.” Jen thinks she needs to get lost in the character of what she’s doing and needs to let go.

MacKenzie Bourg wants to stand out; he’s obviously thinking about Lee being compared to him. He sings “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” because he wants people to know he can have fun, too, aside from the singer/songwriter vibe, and he dedicates it to his grandmother in the hospital. If he was looking for “fun,” then he was too subdued. Keith loved the whole thing. Jen adds that some switchups don’t worked, but that one died. Harry would have gone the other direction with it and done something acoustic.

Getting all the great comments last week was an honor for La’Porsha Renae. For twenty-two years her mom was the only one to work on her hair other than her, and now she has to leave it up to the stylists. She sings “Halo,” and it’s just hard to know what else to say about her. She gave me JLo’s goosies, and she loves watching La’Porsha come into her own. Every time she sings, Harry is urged to consider a song from a different perspective. Keith noted you could tell she was trying to figure out how to perform in her elaborate dress.

Harry took the stage to sing “I Do Like We Do,” but it seemed he was searching to find the note in the beginning. Yet, Keith judges him saying it felt like a perfect song choice, while Harry says he almost sang “Halo.”

One entire day was spent on having Trent Harmon working on his face pulling. He feels like it helps him hit the notes. He sings “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and while it’s really good, I want him to let go, making me think may he needs to do his faces until he hits a great note minus the face. Harry loves his voice on high sustained notes. Keith warns him not to let the facial awareness get in the way of his emoting. Jen had a vision of him and La’Porsha at the end.

The four left are Tristan McIntosh, Avalon Young, Olivia Rox, and Gianna Isabella. The final person who is safe is Tristan. She was confident going into rehearsals, but Scott Borchetta didn’t like it. She changed it up and chose “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” and it’s absolutely beautiful. Keith says it was a good move to switch songs. JLo feels this is her sweet spot. Harry confirms she was singing to someone I particular: her grandfather with a broken back.

The first of the bottom three to perform is Avalon. She tried to step out of her zone last week, but it was the wrong song, so needs to do better this week. She sings “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. She’s definitely back in her groove. Jen says tis’ what she needed to come out and do. Harry thinks it was great to sing such a slow song and keep everyone interested. Keith loved that she did her own take on the high falsetto.

Olivia announces that she had the flu last week and was afraid she wouldn’t be able to continue in the competition if she had to stay in the hospital She sings “Trouble” to be out of her comfort zone. It’s good, but I’m not sure if it’s going to beat Avalon. If it does, then the judges aren’t basing their decision on tonight’s performances. Harry tells her the problem is she’s competing again someone who picked a song with more to chew on. Keith notes her vocal range is insane. JLo believes some things didn’t come together because they didn’t feel like she was really “trouble.”

Gianna knows the judges told her not to sing these types of songs, but it’s tough because she grew up with it. She signs “If I Ain’t Got You.” It’s definitely not the wrong song for her. The emotions aren’t there for it, and she really should have listened to the judges. She’s too young for it. Keith, too, wanted more feeling with it. JLo thinks she has a blessed voice. Harry didn’t recognize her with her new look.

Jennifer makes the announcement of who they are saving from the bottom three. She says it was one of the most painful decisions, but they are saving Avalon, sending Olivia, an early frontrunner, and Gianna, the daughter of one of her friends from back in the day, home.

It’s interesting to note that even though the final 10 had more girls than guys, we still ended up with the bottom three being all female, just as what usually happens at the beginning of eliminations. Next week will be another double elimination. Will the gals be targeted again to make it a final six with four guys and two girls?

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