03 April 2012

The Voice: First Live Rounds

The Voice went live this week, giving the voting public the opportunity to cut each team in half - then the bottom six will have to sing for their lives in the hopes that their coach will keep them.

This week the artists from Team Christina and Team Blake took the stage to appeal to the voting public for the first time.  I have my favorites, but it is interesting to see how the newer/younger artists do with "real" staging and the pressure of going up "live."

  • Jermaine Paul - singing Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer"
    • I love his voice and energy.  As an experienced performer and backup singer he already knows how to use the stage and make eye-contact.  The only drawback, for me, was that it felt like he was hiding from the highest notes on the chorus, swallowing them/pulling the mike away instead of really going for it.  Maybe they should have taken the song down a half step if he felt that nervous.
  • Chris Mann - singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
    • I am totally in Chris Mann's corner.  I am classically-trained singer (I don't sing much anymore, just in the shower - great acoustics) and I can tell you from personal experience that it is so hard as a classical singer to get noticed because there are so many of us and so few recording contracts.  Classical singers don't get to fall back on runs or trills to hide bad notes - we hang on to the high ones for life.  Chris is following in Josh Groban's path as a cross-over artist.  I would love it if he won.
  • RaeLynn - singing Maroon5's "Wake Up Call"
    • This brings up an issue I have - age appropriateness of performance types.  I do not believe RaeLynn for a second when she talks about catching another girl in her man's bed.  That said, she was really entertaining with that very country-stomp performance.  She sells it but if she's going to really be a vocal stylist then she needs better diction (as my coach used to say: more words).  The band gets props on this song - very fun.
  • Moses Stone - singing Kanye's "Stronger/Power"
    • I have to agree with Blake - this really is a singing competition.  Moses did really well singing against The Line in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" but this week he didn't sound solid as a singer.  On the other hand, he is easily as good an MC as all those other guys on the radio and TV.
  • Naia Kete - singing Adele's "Turning Tables"
    • I think I would have liked to see this done with more of a reggae style.  Doing it straight did make me compare her too much to Adele's vocal choices.  She does have really nice styling and I enjoyed the dynamic contrasts.
  • Lindsey Pavao - singing Gotye's "Someone That I Used to Know"
    • I got so excited when Christina chose this song for Lindsey because I like the song and I think it fits her personal style.  I quite don't know what I was expecting but I was waiting for her to just rip it on the chorus.  She's such a shy singer that it works against her a bit but I hope she makes it through - she has so much room to develop.
  • Jordis Unga - singing Heart's "Alone"
    • I loved this choice for Jordis, giving her a chance to belt and scream on the chorus.  She has a great rock voice and I want to see her make it farther in the competition.
  • Sera Hill - singing Drake's "Find Your Love"
    • Sera has a great voice.  She can work the song, work the runs, work the tricks - very smooth.  She definitely has a career as an R&B/soul singer.  Props to the band again: loved the funk vibe.
  • Erin Willett - singing Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City"
    • Erin is another singing that I want to see go far.  She's got a big (big!) voice and I love it.  Like Jordis, she's a bit of a head-case so she just needs to believe.  We believe, Blake believes - she needs to believe because she has it.
  • Ashley de la Rosa - singing Alanis Morissette's "Right Through You"
    • I like Asheley OK.  I don't dislike her and her performance was good.  But next to Erin and Sera and Jordis, she didn't quite get "angry" enough for me.  And this is an Alanis Morissette song - it has to go there.  She get's props for the boots - not everyone up there has to rock the super-high heels.
  • Charlotte Sometimes - singing Paramore's "Misery Business"
    • She started out a bit flat, got back on pitch, then lost it a bit again (PS Adam: pointing out pitch issues is not hypercritical; she needs better breath support in quiet sections).   She has a round sound and I started losing her in the middle of the orchestra (can I just say again how the band for The Voice kills it every song).  She needs to brighten up her sound so she doesn't get lost.
  • Jesse Campbell - singing Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"
    • This song kills me every time I hear it.  Every time.  Jesse has such an emotional past he can draw on for a song with these words and the gospel feel to the arrangement suited him so well.  He made me tear up.  I would also love it if he won.
Side notes:
  • Dear CeeLo - I love you, and the jumpsuit can stay, but please don't wear that wig.  It looks like one of Elton John's rejects
  • Adam, I love you, please keep being awesome.
  • The coaches need to not be bitchy to one another.  It gets old.

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