Category Archives: Talent

The Voice, Season 10 – Blind Auditions #2

Voice030116Right out of the box on Monday night’s The Voice Season Premiere, we had the excitement of both a really good performer and the celebrity factory thrown in when Alisan “Curly Sue” Porter auditioned. Could there be anything left that exciting during these blind auditions? Here’s the more memorable blind auditions from night two.

Bringing some excitement, but not the same amount, is Joe Vivona. He works at a family-owned amusement park and sometimes performs at fairs just for whoever is walking by; however, he still deals with nerves. Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and Blake Shelton turn for his great alternative sound. His 95-year-old grandfather called him the night before, so he picks his Grandpa’s favorite, Pharrell.

Adam Wakefield’s parents were hippies, and they didn’t have much, but did have music. He started a band with his brother, but sadly he died of an overdose. He has an older Southern Rock style and gives a little exciting as well. Both Adam and Blake turn for him, but he picks Blake.

Caroline Burns had auctioned in season nine but didn’t make it, and Pharrell had the audience chant, asking her to come back and try again. She reunited with her band since then and also works as a princess or fairy for kids’ parties. Adam and Blake both turn for her this time, and after Adam remembers her, she picks him.

Laith Al-Saadi has been singing in choirs since he was 4 and playing guitar since the 8th grade. He started playing gigs at 16 and has opened for BB King and Greg Allman. He performs “The Letter” and completely shreds with the guitar. He’s definitely bringing the excitement. Yet again, Blake and Adam both turn, and he picks Adam.

And finally, the last contestant is perhaps even more memorable than Alisan. Kata Hay moved to Nashville just six months before and runs a mechanical bull at a bar. She started singing in pageants at three years old and seems very polished. Adam, Pharrell, and Christina Aguilera all turn their chairs. She tells Christina she was her first girl crush, and Christina suggests they make out. They share a kiss to Pharrell’s delight. She has no choice but to pick Christina in the end.

At the end of the night, Pharrell has six on his team Christina and Adam 5 each, and Blake 4, and possibly two that could make it to the live rounds: Laith and Kata.

Image Credit: YouTube Video (http://youtu.be/TT9BXQ5r2AA)

The Voice, Season 10 – Season Premiere

Voice022916Before it even starts, this season of The Voice just seems like it won’t be as much fun. As we watched Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani fall in love with each other last season, it just seemed like it had something extra. But now she’s gone, save for an advisor role, and Christina Aguilera is back.

There were a few performances in Monday night’s blind auditions that were memorable, but the one at the end will be the one that everyone is talking about this week

The first memorable singer was Paxton Ingram, who was also the first to audition right out of the gate. He is also a hip-hop instructor and showed great passion in his audition. Blake, Pharrell Williams, and Adam Levine all pushed their buttons. Surprisingly, Paxton went with Blake.

Nick Hagelin’s back story made him really memorable. He’s a ballet dancer, and his little boy has a disease that affects his movement. He turned down one recording contract because they wanted him to not be public about his family. Christina, Blake, and Pharrell turned, and he went the “Quincy Jones of our generation.”

Mary Sarah works in the Boot Barn but has worked in the past with Dolly Parton and the Oak Ridge Boys. Blake recognized her. It’s a four-chair turn as she performs “Where the Boys Are,” and she smartly chooses Blake.

Mike Schiavo has a singer-songwriter feel. After a three-chair turn with all the male coaches, he admits he grew up listening to Maroon 5. Christina asks him what his favorite song is by them, and he names “She Will Be Loved.” She then pressures Adam to sing it as a duet with Mike, and they do. Again, he smartly chooses Adam.

John Gilman lives in a log cabin with his brothers and no modern conveniences such as WiFi, but that’s okay with him, as it gives him more time to work on his music. His genre is very retro with rockabilly and doo-wop. He auditions with “Don’t Be Cruel,” and Adam is the only one who turns around.

All of the above are memorable for either their backstory or their audition, but the next singer is the most memorable for both reasons. Alisan Porter was a child actress and played the title role in the movie Curly Sue. As an adult she did Broadway and became and addict, but she’s been sober for eight years and is married with kids. She knows she’s really a singer and not an actress. All four judges fall all over themselves for her. She and Christina bond over both doing Star Search, and Alisan goes ahead and picks her.

It’s hard to imagine anyone being more memorable than Alisan, as she was just that good singing “Blue Bayou.” I woke up this morning with the song still stuck in my head. However, it’s just the first night of the blind auditions. There’s plenty more to come.

Image Credit: YouTube Video

American Idol, Mar. 19 – Top Ten Hits

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I always hate this theme on American Idol. To do top ten hits over the past few years … well that’s what they’ve been doing so far in the competition. We need something else, something different. We need to see what happens when these artists step outside of their comfort zone. Motown, Big Band, 70s, etc. Sure, they had movie hits, but some of them still picked more recent tunes. Until then, here’s how the idols did with this week’s theme.

Dexter RobertsCruise He continues to pick the perfect songs for himself. However, he didn’t connect with the audience enough. He may have strutted out there and stuck his hand out to the crowd, but he should be able to connect without even having to do that.

Malaya WatsonWhen I Was Your Man She did really well on this. I think it was an interesting decision to not try and change up the lyrics to make it “woman” instead of “man.” I just wish we would have heard why, if it was too hard to remember, if it was to match what she was used to singing in the car, whatever.

C.J. HarrisInvisibile He always sounds great when he’s dialed down and always seems to pack the emotion into his songs. Thats how we get that singing from the side of his mouth thing. He did it all tonight.

MK NobilettePerfect MK’s heart is in the right place, and I really love her for that. She had mentioned she was doing this song to help people. But the performance just didn’t do it for me this week, and I love Pink. MK seemed to be off the entire time.

Majesty RoseWake Me Up She does great with the folk-sounding songs. it seemed she was running out of breath at the end of some of her phrasing though. I hope it’s enough to keep her out of the bottom three this week. But as the judges pointed out, she seemed to be fearing a reappearance while performing

Jena IreneClarity She did well, but definitely didn’t make me forget the original. And the forced bit with the glow sticks was just too much. So were the pink socks. If it wasn’t a song I’d heard a thousand times and I had nothing to compare it to, I probably would have liked it more.

Alex PrestonStory of My Life I’ll admit, I’m not too familiar with One Direction songs. I don’t recall hearing this before. Of course maybe Alex just made it so much his that it’s not reminiscent of the original. Regardless, I think Alex did really well on it. I’m betting I would like this version more than One Direction’s.

Jessica MeusePumped Up Kicks I like this song a lot. I never paid enough attention to the lyrics to find out how dark it was. She said she changed some words to make it less so, but my research says she didn’t. Regardless, she did well with it, except like harry Connick Jr. pointed out, she wasn’t emoting too much with lyrics that clearly required it.

Sam WoolfWe Are Young He succeeded in putting his own take on this song. I wasn’t even sure what song it was at first. The chorus is a dead giveaway though. As he fits more and more into that Kris Allen type of mold, I’m liking him more and more. It’s also the first song tonight that makes me want to download it from iTunes.

Caleb JohnsonEdge of Glory He did well taking this pop song and turning it into a rock tune. He did what he was supposed to and made us forget it was a Gaga tune. Although after last week, I’m yearning to hear that side of him again.

This is a pivotal week. The judges have been saying the same thing each week to bring more of a performance, stay in tune, own the stage, etc. If the idols are still not doing it, will they in the eventual weeks?

American Idol, Mar. 5 – Here We Go Again

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After I praised this group of talent last week for singing songs that hadn’t been done multiple times on American Idol, they went and made a liar out of me this week. Some of them tonight did songs that have been done multiple times and/or were heavily associated with the original artist. And for the most part, they weren’t making us forget the previous performances, so that’s a big fail.

Dexter RobertsLucky Man He has done this two weeks in a row: Picked the perfect song for him. He has an advantage there as he seems to be the only one who can do that consistently, if you can call two week consistently.

Malaya WatsonTake Me to the King I like that she did gospel, but she was straining far too much with this song. It sounded like screaming in the end to me, but the judges liked it a lot. J-Lo even got her goosies.

Ben BrileyTurning Home It was hard to get a feel for his voice last week on the Johnny Cash tune, but with this one, he let his vocal soar and speak for itself. It seemed flawless, but the judges thought he and the music weren’t together in the beginning.

C.J. HarrisWaiting on the World to Change He put a lot of heart into this. You could nearly see it coming out of him. I liked it a lot, and that’s even after hearing the song not just from John Mayer, but through multiple reality talent shows.

MK NobiletteDrops of Jupiter She looked really uncomfortable the whole song, but did a great job with it. Again, it’s a song we’ve heard a lot, and it wasn’t better than Train, but it was good. What killed it though was her looking uncomfortable, which is going to come after you land in the bottom three the week before.

Majesty RoseFix You This had some great emotion flowing through it. There were some off notes when she pushed for the high note, but it kind of fit with the performance.

Jena IreneSuddenly I See She was infectious up there with this song. It’s hard to be in a bad mood watching her and that’s a good quality to have, to be able to bring that out.

Alex PrestonI Don’t Want to Be This is one of those songs that has been done often on Idol. Alex did a re-arrangement on it and it wasn’t quite as good as the original or as the other times I’ve heard it.

Jessica MeuseWhite Flag I like her performance, just not the tone of her voice in this song. I couldn’t listen to a whole album like that.

Emily PirizLet’s Get Loud She took a big risk singing a J-Lo tune. She did really well on it but the judges blasted her for cozying up to a musician instead of connecting with the audience. Well, I thought it was good.

Sam WoolfJust One I see a possible Kris Allen thing happening with Sam. He just gets a little better every week. However, the judges think he’s been singing the same emotionally since the beginning. I disagree.

Caleb JohnsonWorking Man He took Rush to the next level. This was a good version of the song, although some die-hard Rush fans might not like it. It was good, but now we need to see another side of Caleb.

I hope the theme next week is something that forces these artists to sing out of their comfort zone like Motown or 70s or Broadway. We have a good feeling now for who they are and what they like, but now we need to see them step outside of that box to see if they can still succeed. If they want to know how it’s done, they should ask James Durbin who was in the audience or Phillip Phillips who will be performing Thursday night.

The Voice, Mar. 4 – The Real Stars

The banter between the coaches on The Voice has overtaken the show. Don’t get me wrong. I dig it. I get into it. But it’s also the reason why I watch the show right now. The contestants, the “voices,” are secondary.

I can’t tell you the names of anyone who has auditioned so far this year. I can appreciate them when they’re singing, but the personalities onstage as the coaches are so overwhelming that they’re what I remember. I don’t remember a single name.

It’s more than just the banter between the coaches. They’re starting to develop a strategy. Usher is waiting until the last second sometimes to push his button for a singer just to throw the other coaches off. The thinking is if he pushes his button earlier, the others might realize the talent onstage is worth it, and they might push their buttons as well to compete with Usher.

Then there’s the banter between the coaches as they fight over contestants they hope to get on their teams. They all go up against each other, but many times it comes down to banter between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, most likely because they are the only two who have been there every season. They even take to Twitter to air their banter and even switched accounts on one audition night, giving them even more ways to tear each other up.

I hope to get more interested in the contestants in the battle round. Hopefully much more emphasis will be placed on them rather than the coaches. But until then, we still have at least one more week of auditions to pick up more singers whose names I will forget until after the battle round.

American Idol, Feb. 26 – Something Different for a Change

It turns out we didn’t just get new judges this year on American Idol. We got a whole new show, or at least what seems like a new show. Gone are the tired out Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder songs, replaced by Matchbox 20, John Mayer, and Pink. Sure, we had songs by those artists once in awhile before, but these kids were told to pick something that explained who they were and instead of picking up something Idol had already secured the rights to, they went off the board. It made it like a whole new show.

Dexter RobertsAw Naw I don’t usually listen to country music, so this was a song I’v never heard. This definitely told us he’s a country dude. Success all around.

Malaya WatsonRunaway Baby She chose this Bruno Mars hit and had a hard time with pitch, but there’s just something damn likable about this girl in the braces and glasses.

Kristen O’ConnorBeautiful Disaster I need to start out by saying I’m always highly critical of anyone performing a Kelly Clarkson tune. But even forgetting that it was a Kelly tune, she seemed to have a difficult time with pitch.

Ben BrileyFolsom Prison Blues He did Johnny Cash proud, although Harry Connick Jr. thought he sped up the song too much. Personally I liked it.

C.J. HarrisRadio I agree with the judges that this didn’t really show us much about his skills as a singer, yet it’s probably more of a fun song than something that would have shown his skills.

MK NobiletteSatisfaction This is something different for MK, and I tend to like the other stuff she sings more. Listening to the song a second time, though, I liked it more. Maybe it just needs to grow on you.

Majesty RoseTightrope This was really good. She showed some skill with singing the lyrics in the verses that are quick-paced, leading into the melodic chorus.

Jena IreneThe Scientist She had a few pitch problems, only made worse when she belted it out. Nevertheless, overall it was a good performance as the good outweighed the bad.

Alex PrestonA Beautiful Mess Jennifer Lopez looks to get goosies with songs, and I look for chills or tears. Didn’t get it, but came close to tears. This was beautiful, but anything but a mess. He’s unique.

Jessica MeuseThe Crow & the Butterfly Here’s another unique one. It’s hard not to watch when she’s performing. I’ll add that it looks like they gave her extensions.

Emily PirizGlitter in the Air At times she was singing too quietly and you couldn’t hear her. When you could, it was beautiful.

Sam WooolfUnwell I’ll start out saying this is a favorite song of mine. I thought he did it justice. Better than Matchbox 20? No. But justice. No complaints here. I also think it does a good job of saying who he is.

Caleb JohnsonPressure and Time I don’t know if the Idol stage has rocked out this much since James Durbin was a contestant. If anyone doesn’t know who Caleb is after this, they weren’t paying attention. Taylor Hicks in the audience seemed to approve too.

At least eleven of these songs have never been performed before. Beautiful Disaster and Folsom Prison Blues may have been. Better yet, they all did fairly well save for a few pitch issues here and there. There wasn’t anyone on the stage that I thought didn’t belong there, and there isn’t anyone that I am hoping will go home tonight. It was such a refreshing change, especially after last season.

The Voice, Feb. 24 – Welcome back Shakira and Usher

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It turns out they don’t just have spinning chairs on The Voice, they have a revolving door as well. This is the second time Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera have decided to sit out, leaving Shakira and Usher to replace them.

Cee Lo announced last week he would not be returning to The Voice at all this time. Some aren’t very broken up about it, but I personally liked the heart that he brought to the show and that he promised to work with the singers even after the show was over.

However, you can’t deny what Usher brings to the table. He discovered Justin Bieber after all. Not that I think he’s an incredible talent or anything, but if you can create a star from what he had to work with there, odds are he can create a star out of just about anybody. But because he has multiple outside interests, he might not be too keen on staying with the show permanently, for the two seasons that air each year.

I’m not overly fond of Christina, so if she wants to use this as an excuse to take an exit, that would be fine by me. I find her far too fake and phony. Besides, she’s getting married and is pregnant, so she won’t have a lot of time. Maybe we’ll keep Shakira and Usher for at least one more season after this one.

As far as this first night of season six, there weren’t any shocking surprises, and only one big wowing performance. All the performers were good, but the gal who was on last was flat out amazing. She’ll go far in this competition, especially since she picked Usher as her coach after turning all four chairs.

There were a few performers who didn’t get any chairs to turn, but again only one stands out in my mind. This guy thought he was all that and a bag of chips. He thought he was Robin Thicke. He even sang Blurred Lines.

And here’s what talent shows have been telling singers since the first season of American Idol. If you’re going to sing a well-known song, especially a recent one, you have to do it either better or different than the original. And that song is so stylized, that by singing it the same way Robin Thicke does, you’re just opening yourself up to a comparison. That’s what happened here, and this guy couldn’t compare.

I’m looking forward to night two of the auditions tonight. I do have to say the show is more fun with Shakira rather than Christina. She just seems to get a long with the guys more. Christina always seemed like she was being bothered to be there or something and didn’t participate much in their joking around.

What do you think of this coaching lineup and which performances stood out or you? Comment on the post and let us know.

The Voice, Oct. 21 – Real Battles

Unlike the previous week’s battles, these really are battles and not duets. Not that duets are bad, it just makes it really hard to choose one or see one of them go home. Tonight it’s not as difficult.

Battle: Josh Logan, 33, Manchester, NH vs. Michael Lynch, 27, Chicago, IL. Team Christina and Ed Sheeran. They both have a lot of soul, leaving Christina to think this song is perfect for them to explore and “bring their own energy to the table.” Christina encourages them to make it their own instead of following the Maroon 5 original. She would also like them to move around and play with the audience instead of just standing in one place to sing. The secondary goal to winning is to impress Adam since he wrote it.

Song: Harder to Breathe

Me: Josh is just so much more natural with this song. Michael does admirably, but it’s just not in his wheelhouse.
Cee Lo: He enjoyed the confidence and effortlessness of both performances, but Josh almost sounded identical to Adam, and that’s a compliment. He didn’t even see Michael coming.
Blake: He was into it and recognizes Josh’s likeness to Adam as well. He knows it’s easy to get wrapped up in Josh being overpowering, but they both gave 110%.
Adam: It’s really easy to screw up this song, but it was a lot of fun, and these two guys did amazing. Josh did overpower Michael, yet there isn’t anything he could say negative about either one.
Christina: The song was written in a way where rhythm is crucial. She adores Michael, and he’s so talented. Josh is amazing, and it’s no joke the way he put his own spin on ad libs and soul.
Winner: Josh

Battle: George Horga Jr., 19, Portland, OR vs. Juhi, 16, Franklin, TN. Team Cee Lo and advisor Miguel. Cee Lo likes the song choice because it’s young and fresh, and that’s what he’s expecting from these two singers. George reminds Miguel of a Bruno Mars type with the grit in his voice. There are a lot of times where Juhi is putting in her own personality to the song, and George needs to do that too.

Song: The Best I’ve Ever Had

Me: His voice cracks a little, taking away from a very solid performance. This one just comes down to a matter of preference in style.
Adam: George had a bad note, but sang well after that. Juhi has a great voice, but he worries she’d be backed into a corner because she’s so specific.
Blake: The good thing is he isn’t George’s coach, as he was too aught up in the bad note. There’s something that really jumps out at him with Juhi. He would go with her.
Christina: Both brought something interesting to the song. Juhi has character in her vocal that makes her stand out, and George stood out as well, just differently.
Cee Lo: Juhi is just 16, but very brilliant. George came out after being here for three years to pursue a passion. He wants to bring someone who wants to pursue this and doesn’t even consider a plan B.
Winner: George
Steal: Adam steals Juhi, not believing that Cee Lo is letting her go.

Battle: Austin Jenckes, 25, Duvall, WA vs. Brian Pounds, 24, Austin, TX. Team Blake and his advisor Cher. He paired Austin and Brian together because they’re both edgy but can also be vulnerable. He’s thinking of the Hank Williams Jr. version of the song for these two country singers. Cher wants Austin to think about not showing all his cards in the beginning. Brian needs to find a way to connect to the song. Austin is used to playing smaller venues without a mic and needs to adjust his performance. Brian decides to lose his guitar for the performance and just sing.

Song: Love Somebody

Me: Like the first battle tonight, they’re both fantastic, but Austin is just far too natural. He has a ready-to-record voice.
Christina: On a more emotional level, she connected more with Austin and would go with him.
Cee Lo: Brian’s voice is strong, but a few moments needed to connect more. Austin’s approach is more effortless.
Adam: What Austin did with the song gave him the advantage, but that’s not to say Brian’s voice isn’t equally strong. Yet, he gives it to Austin.
Blake: The way Austin loses himself in a song, he leaves his heart laying on the stage. They’re dead even as far as their vocals.
Winner: Austin

Battle: James Irwin, 31, St. Louis, MO vs. Matt Cermanski, 20, Phoenixville, PA. Team Adam and advisor Ryan Tedder. They’re paired together because both of them have auditioned for the show before but didn’t make it. Whoever moves him the most will get his vote. This is a Ryan Tedder song. He explains it’s about his struggles to pursue music when he married young and was supporting someone else. James needs to not draw the words out. Matt requests a key change and loses the request but finds what he thought he couldn’t.

Song: Counting Stars

Me: Matt starts out shaky but picks it up after the first few lines finding his voice. But James still seems to be more of a natural.
Blake: He heard the same strengths and weaknesses in their voices, but it was cool to watch James perform, while Matt has a voice that reminds him of Adam’s. He’d go with James.
Christina: Matt did a better job on his first falsetto. James started strong, but Matt ended strongest.
Cee Lo: He agrees with Blake and not Christina. Matt has a fuller voice as compared to James’ chest vocal, but it cut through clearer for Cee Lo.
Adam: He believes in them both and thinks they both have work to do.
Winner: James

Battle: Destinee Quinn, 20, Surprise, AZ vs. Lina Gaudenzi, 23, Miami, FL. Team Christina and Ed Sheeran. They were paired together for their ability to bring a soft sensibility to a song. Christina chose this song to make each other step outside their comfort zones. Christina can’t get them into the emotion of the song. She wants them to be “mad as hell” like what they’re singing. This is probably one battle that doesn’t seem near ready for “primetime.”

Song: Not Ready to Make Nice

Me: While the coaches all seem really impressed, I’m still not finding the emotions in this. It seems more faked with body movements.
Cee Lo: Lina has a strong, definitive voice, but he watched Destinee really live that song out loud.
Adam: He saw no issues with emoting, but heard some technical problems. He’d choose Lina.
Blake: He’d choose Destinee because of her connection with the song and the way she was almost about to cry. As for execution, though, it has to go to Lina.
Christina: Destinee won it for her emotion, yet Lina won it for her range and pushing to other places.
Winner: Destinee
Steal: Adam steals Lina because of her potential.

Battle: James Wulpert, 22, Lancaster, PA vs. Will Champlin, 30, Receda, CA. Team Adam and advisor Ryan Tedder. They are paired together not because they both wear glasses but because he wants to take them both out of their comfort zone. They’re cut from the same cloth musically, making it’s redundant to have them both move forward, so he needs to see who’s stronger. Will has soul, but doesn’t have the range and great pitch that James has. While James is technically perfect, he needs to tap into that emotion.

Song: Radioactive

Me: Both of these guys can rock it out way more than you would think by looking at them. And both worked on the things they were told to.
Blake: James was a surprise since he doesn’t look the part, And Will looks the part and is a badass musically. He’d go with James.
Christina: There’s no question. She’d go with Will because he had the more solid performance. She was surprised that James pushed a little too hard.
Cee Lo: He likes James’ style because it’s so unassuming. For his own intrigue and amusement, he’d go with him.
Adam: James had the least to prove and did an incredible job. Will stepped it up in rehearsals.
Winner: James
Steal: Christina steals Will just when you think he’s out of it.

There’s just one steal left, and that belongs to Cee Lo. Just like in the Blinds, he was the only coach who had a spot left on his team. For anyone who is already on his team and hasn’t battled yet, it’s not a good thing. They know if he doesn’t pick them, they’re out, as no one else can steam them.

The Voice, Oct. 15 – Battles or Duets?

These battles continue to blow me away. They are all so good that I’d rather have them just keep them around as duets. If you listen to the iTunes versions of the winners singing the songs, they’re not nearly as good as when they were battling someone else.

Battle: Jacob Poole, 30, Warner Robbins, GA vs. Matthew Schuler, 20, Yardley, PA. Team Christina and her advisor Ed Sheeran. She teamed these two guys up because they both have rock inspirations. She chose the song for them because because it says “Battle.” She thinks if Jacob would have chosen a song like this in the blinds, he would have turned more chairs. Matthew runs the risk of being overzealous. Christina and Ed don’t like the way Matthew changes it up but do like what Jacob does.

Song: My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark

Me: This is phenomenal! I like this version better than the Fall Out Boy version.
Cee Lo: It’s one of the best battle rounds he’s ever seen.
Adam: It was like a musical ass-whooping. Matthew was a favorite going into it, but no one got their asses whooped today. He’d still go with Matthew.
Blake: He’s waiting for noses to start to bleed. Jacob was a one-chair turn, and he’s more impressed by him right now.
Christina: They are both so beyond talented.
Winner: Matthew

Battle: Kat Robichaud, 29, Raleigh, NC vs. R. Anthony, 23, Tampa, FL. Team Cee Lo and his advisor Miguel. He picked this song because it has a lot of angst and attitude and is sensual with power. He wants to see if they can form a personal connection to the song. Instead of pairing them for their similarities, he did it because of their differences. Miguel expects R. to run every line; he thinks doing it less will make it more interesting. Cee Lo wants to hear Kat’s roar and rasp, and Ed wants her to let it build.

Song: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

Me: It’s an amazing battle, but Kat’s the one who gives it something you won’t see anywhere else.
Adam: His biggest regret from the blinds is not turning around for Kat. R. is a new surprise and challenges his love for Kat.
Blake: He agrees with Adam about R., but Kat is pumped and puts that intensity into everything she does. He gives the battle to her.
Christina: She compares Kat to a tiger with a claw coming out. She has much love and appreciation for R.’s crazy vocal control.
Cee Lo: The most untrained ear could hear the precision in R.’s voic. Kat is a dynamo, and he needs a natural disaster like that on his team.
Winner: Kat

Battle: Cole Vosbury vs. Lupe Carroll. Team Cee Lo

Song: Africa

Cee Lo: Very well-performed by both, but Cole was cool while handling it with care.
Winner: Cole

Battle: E.G. Daily vs. Sam Cerniglia. Team Blake.

Song: Something to Talk About

Blake: E.G. did a phenomenal job of waiting until the end, then letting it fly.
Winner: E.G.

Battle: Ashley Dubose vs. Justin Blake. Team Adam

Song: Just a Fool

Adam: Moving forward, he has to go with somebody who is prepared for everything he knows is coming.
Winner: Ashley

Battle: Monika Leigh, 28, Boulder, CO vs. Ray Boudreaux, 25, Lafayette, LA. Team Blake with advisor Cher. He pairs these two together because they both have that blues thing he wishes he had. He gives them this song because it’s fun and fits into their sound. Ray has great volume, meaning Monika needs to pull from her “bootstraps.” Ray’s having a hard time hitting the high notes. Cher finds Monika too inconsistent. Blake doesn’t want Ray to hold back.

Song: Some Kind of Wonderful

Me: Monika does improve on her performance based on the first time she sang the song in rehearsals, but it just doesn’t come close enough to comparing to Ray. I would have liked to have heard E.G. or Donna from yesterday’s Battles singing it instead of Monika.
Christina: She felt Ray was digging a little more deeper, while Monika had a great moment opening up the second verse.
Cee Lo: There’s a difference between singing and sanging, and Ray can sang. Monika seemed to get lost a little in the vibe.
Adam: He’s still mad at Monika for not turning around for him, and Ray is capable of so much he couldn’t see in the blinds. He has a lot of talent.
Blake: He loves Monika’s freedom onstage, and trying to get her to do the same thing twice is like herding cats. Ray just “sang the crap out of that” and showed range.
Winner: Ray (with his toddler daughter rooting for him loudly in the audience)
Steal: Cee Lo steals Monika, surprisingly. Christina know it’s because she’s using her heart just like him.

I’m surprised Monika was stolen, but it’s interesting that Christina believes it’s because of emotional reasons rather than her talent. If anyone is going to make choices based on emotion, though, it’s Cee Lo. Being that he said earlier he wasn’t stealing because he was waiting or just the right person, it seems strange.

The Voice, Oct. 14 – Battle Rounds Begin

Looking through preview of who will be performing tonight, I can’t say I want half of them to go home. I’m hoping for a lot of saves, but if it follows the same as the blind auditions. we won’t have many on the first night, as judges are going to be careful and safe them for who they really want.

Battle: Grey, 25, Jacksonville, FL vs. Nic Hawk, 26, Dallas, TX. Team Adam and his advisor Ryan Tedder. Adam chose the Jessie J. song because she’s diverse and eclectic, just like this pairing. Grey is nervous going against Nic because of his energy and presence onstage, and Nic is a little afraid of her. Adam wants her to to save a little breath for the end of the song. He knows from the get go that this is a huge challenge for Nic.

Song: Domino

Me: Grey is right about Nic’s energy; that’s for sure. Yet it does seem a little more natural for her.
Blake: He feels Nic’s value for the show and doesn’t know how you don’t go with him.
Christina: Nic has an energy level to keep up, but Grey did a really good job balancing it. She’d go with her for the consistent vocals.
Cee Lo: Grey deserves to be here, but he’s partial to what Nic is bringing to the stage.
Adam: This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Grey’s vocal ability, and Nic’s energy and unique character are infectious.
Winner: Grey
Steal:Blake takes Nic, telling Adam he “screwed up so bad.”

Battle: Amber Nicole, 17, Houston, TX vs. Timyra-Joi, 15, San Diego, CA. Team Christina and her advisor Ed Sheeran. Christina paired them because of their similarities of youthfulness and potential. She is choosing this song for them as she wants them to dig a little deeper. Ed and Christina want Timyra to watch her tremble, and Christina thinks Amber came up with great “louds and softs.” Ed feels Timyra’s voice is really suited to the song, while Christina thinks she’s only giving fifty percent. Christina wants to make sure Amber doesn’t doubt herself.

Song: Listen

Me: It seems like the song starts a little too low for Timyra, while Amber seems more ready to record from the very start.
Cee Lo: He was more partial to Amber because of her experience, but Timyra’s voice really cuts. He gives it to her.
Adam: He heard Timyra get nervous, but after that it was incredible. Amber was real crisp.
Blake: He’s never seen Christina cry in a battle round, and he can’t even help her with who to pick.
Christina: She is proud to know that she heard them first and pushed her button. She tries to follow her gut and instinct.
Winner: Amber

Battle: Justin Chain, 23, Fort Payne, AL vs. Shelbie Z, 21, Jasper, AL. Team Blake and his advisor Cher. For Blake it was the most obvious pairing. He’s giving them the love song ballad to see what they do at the peak of their range. Cher advises Shelbie she has to think down and not be nervous of the high notes and tells Justin to find his power and use it. Blake feels the harmonies are all over the map. Cher admits she’s not good at it either.

Song: Don’t You Wanna Stay

Me: They’re both fantastic and find great harmony, but for straight versatility, I’d go with Shelbie. It’s never easy for anyone to sing Kelly Clarkson songs, but she nails it.
Christina: She realizes they’d be a great duet pairing, as it’s hard to do, but they blended perfectly. To choose just one artist, she’d go with Shelbie.
Cee Lo: They’re word “Stay” was beautiful, and he realizes this gave Shelbie more opportunities, so he has to pick her.
Adam: The best battles are the ones that don’t feel like it. He couldn’t focus on separation, as they were such a great unit. He found someone a little sharp, and didn’t know who he was, but Cee Lo confirms it was Shelbie, so Adam would go with Justin.
Blake: Blake has performed this with Kelly and thinks Justin would kick the hell out of what he did, yet Shelbie delivered what Kelly did.
Winner: Shelbie Z.

Battle: Anthony Paul, 18, Twinburg, OH vs Caroline Pennell, 17, Saddle River, NJ. Team Cee Lo and advisor Miguel. While Caroline is shy, Anthony is outgoing, and he thinks this choice of song gives them a chance to signify themselves. Miguel thinks Caroline’s instinctive changes heighten the meaning of the words. Cee Lo doesn’t want Anthony to overdo the song. They can feel the emotion in Anthony, and Caroline needs to work on that a little.

Song: As Long as You Love Me

Me: She brings her interesting voice to this, while he brings his years of show choir. She couldn’t sing everything, while it seems like he could.
Adam: It’s more in line with Anthony, but she took it to something he could see becoming popular, making him choose her as the winner.
Blake: He thinks they’re both good, but he showed more versatility.
Christina: Sh loves what Caroline did with the chorus, yet he really worked the louds and softs. She’s torn.
Cee Lo: There’s something so efficient about Anthony’s voice, and something so surreal about Caroline’s.
Winner: Caroline
Steal:Christina steals Anthony because of his vocal control.

Battle: Donna Allen, 54, Hollywood, FL vs Tessanne Chin, 28, Kingston, Jamaica. Team Adam and advisor Ryan Tedder. He chooses this song to challenge both of them for Tess to have Donna’s soul and for her to have Tessanne’s smoothness. Tessanne’s warned not to take a backseat to Donna, as she’ll steamroll her. Tessanne scared Ryan when she went for a crazy high note, but nailed it.

Song: Next to Me

Me: They are both incredible and deserve to be the winner, but I have to go with Donna’s power. It’s the difference between great and amazing.
Blake: To have Donna’s range and raspy sound is great, and Tessane has an ability to put everything she’s heard someone else do into her battle. He goes with Donna.
Christina: She asks Donna if she’s Tina Turner and tells Tessanne she didn’t even know she had that range. She’d go with Tessanne.
Cee Lo: As far as the control and poise of Tessanne, it’s more attractive to him, yet he can’t deny the raw power of Donna. He’d go with Tess.
Adam: Tina Turner is one of the best singers who’s graced this earth, and Cee Lo agrees Donna is cut from the same cloth. Tessanne makes it all seem so effortless.
Winner: Tessanne (who rightfully thanks Donna for making her a better singer.)

Battle: Brianna Cuoco, 24, Los Angeles, vs Jacquie Lee. 16, Colts Neck, NJ. Team Christina and Ed Sheeran. Christina feels this song is appropriate and likes the experimentation of the female voices. She wants Brianna to get more bluesy with it, and Ed advises Jacquie to go her own way with it. She additionally has to watch her timidness.

Song: House of the Rising Sun

Me: Both of them rise up to the standards of the other, just like the last battle with Donna and Tessane.
Cee Lo: Brianna’s voice compliments the grittiness of the song, but Jacquie brought a youthful spin to it. He’d normally go with Brianna, but Jacquie did a great job.
Adam: First he thought Brianna, then Jacquie, but doesn’t know who he’d eventually choose.
Blake: Jacquie has incredible control for a 16-year-old, and Brianna brought all the same performance and captured what is meant to happen, so he’d go with her.
Christina: They both won the battle and did the homework to dig deep. She’s torn.
Winner: Jacquie
Steal: Cee Lo steals her before Carson Daly even starts talking, then Blake hits his button as well. She goes with Blake, somewhat inexplicably.

I’m surprised there were still three steals throughout. Blake is done for the rest of the Battle Round. He’s used up his two spots. I wish Brianna had gone with Cee Lo though. When it’s that obvious that someone has that much faith in you, you have to choose them. I think Brianna is just going to get lost on Blake’s team. It’s not always about winning.