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The Voice 2, April 2: Let’s Get Liveby Barbara McDowell -- 04/03/2011
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Welcome to the first night of the live rounds! Brace yourself because something has been put in the coaches’ water. Cee Lo has on a wig a la a ‘70s pimp and is dressed in a red sparkle outfit to match. Adam has shaved off all his hair. Christina looks refreshed and is styled better. Blake is just normal Blake. Host Carson Daly tells us that voting can be done via calling the 866 numbers, texting from Sprint phones, downloading your favorite artist’s song from iTunes, or voting via Facebook. Tomorrow, we’ll lose three contestants from each of the performing teams.
Jermaine Paul – “Living on a Prayer”
Blake says that Jermaine is one of the “most passionate singers” he’s heard in years. It is interesting that the stage sets are amped up and full of bright, choreographed lighting and even dancers. It is reminiscent of the performance feel that The X Factor used to make the contestants seem like they are performing in concert versus just on a reality show stage.
Jermaine starts off the song well enough, though I must say, with his song choices so far, I’m not sure who he wants to be as a solo artist. Did he pick this song because he connects to the lyrics from his years of singing in the background to support his family? Or was it a strategic choice of using a well known rock song to catch people’s ears? Either way, about halfway through, Jermaine’s voice starts to sound pushed from screaming. This is average at best.
Christina says she’s impressed that he was able to work the stage during the quick time he had, but also didn’t get the connection of him to the song. Blake says he wants Jermaine to be able to enjoy his experience on the show, no matter how fast it is going by. Blake then discounts Christina’s comments and says that he will go to iTunes and see how much people love the song and are downloading it.
Now that we are at the live shows, we’ll be checking in with Christina Milian in the Sprint media lounge backstage. She will chat with the contestants as they come off the stage. Yeah, nothing earth-shattering there.
Chris Mann – “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Chris, our classically trained singer, is hoping to bring a contemporary edge to his performance. Christina felt this was the perfect song for him to connect. He says all he can think of is his mother, who is fighting pancreatic cancer.
We already know Chris has an amazing voice and tonight it is haunting as he sings with sparse backing instruments and pulls the notes out from the depths of heart. Wow. This is something I would download. It is also reminiscent, at times, of the version Clay Aiken did for the finale of American Idol in Season Two. Chris and Clay are similar in the control of their voices and tone. Chris is night and day better than what Jermaine just did, and I’m tempted to go ahead and declare him best of the night.
Cee Lo is almost at a loss for words and says that it was a “beautiful” performance. Adam agrees and loves what he did with the arrangement. Christina echoes that it was “beautiful” and “heartfelt.”
RaeLynn – “Wake Up Call”
RaeLynn is the youngest contestant in the show and fancies herself to be a song “stylist.” Um, why is she here? I’ve watched each round thinking she should not make it out, yet she does. This is like watching quite bad karaoke. Yes, she has attitude and a comfortable stage presence, but the show is about singing. Her singing is to growl into notes.
Christina says RaeLynn is a “sassy little thing” and she’s impressed with her stage presence. She also makes a comment about some type of “man on man love thing” by Blake picking one of Adam’s songs. Adam simply says she did a good job. Blake says she’s representing a “new type of country” and that Nashville is already buzzing about her. Okay, somebody needs to explain to me what I’m missing with her.
Moses Stone – “Stronger” and “Power”
This one still puzzles me as they are now pushing him into singing versus rapping. This is a singing show, so that part makes sense. But he really doesn’t cut it against the stronger singers. The spin must be that he is one of the most contemporary. Moses hopes to show people everything he can do tonight. As expected, the vocals are average, but with the staging, arrangement, his rapping, and dancing, it is entertaining.
Cee Lo says Moses is a “natural on stage” and he likes his style. Adam says “there is no doubt” that Moses knows how to entertain. Adam also thinks he has more potential as a singer versus a rapper and wants to see him do more of that. Blake says he can tell that Moses’s vocals have improved from working with Christina. Christina, as his coach, loves that he is a fully-rounded artist and can sing with the rapping and without autotune.
Naia Kete – “Turning Tables”
Blake suggests that Naia break away from doing the song with her typical reggae edge. To me, this is a mistake. Stripped from hiding behind that technique, her voice is very breathy with a warbling pitch. At times it is like she is whisper-singing and not actually making notes. It is weird.
Christina says, “Um, it was cool,” as her first comment. Her tone and facial expression give away that it was not. She says that she would have liked to hear the reggae thing if that was more Naia’s style and flags that there were “some moments that weren’t great.” Bailing from making more negative comments, she looks around for help and calls out to Cee Lo. Carson swoops in and kicks it to Blake. He says his logic was to have her prove that she can do other things than reggae. The others don’t get to weigh in.
Lindsey Pavao – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Lindsey fancies herself to be a stylist of songs as well. She likes to arrange songs in a creative way and be quirky. For staging, she’s got four mime-masked ballerina dancers. Tonight she reminds me in tone and sound to Katy Perry. I’m not familiar with the song, but feel it is a good fit for her style and voice. She knows herself as an artist.
Adam says he loves the song, but was missing the power he is used to feeling from the chorus. That is the only thing he thought wasn’t amazing. Christina says she is unique and stands alone in a “category all her own.”1 2 Next-->
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