Archive for the 'The Voice' Category

The Voice: They’re Still Battling

The problem with having legitimate star power sitting at your judges/coaches table is that they inevitably overshadow the amateurish (I use the word loosely in light of the years of combined professional experience of the contestants) talent that the show should be focused on. When it comes down to it, The Voice has sub-par talent, a gimmicky format and dragging pacing. But the four coaches still make it an enjoyable viewing experience. Some may argue that certain coaches (or rather, a certain inked coach) provide more entertainment, but I’m almost equally satisfied with all four. They bring what they’re supposed to bring and have not yet devolved into annoying caricatures. Cee-Lo is oddly warm, Blake is surprisingly quick, Christina is Christina Aguilera (no further explanation needed), and Adam is, according to my Twitter feed, the best thing to happen to television, ever. (Really, though, my Twitter feed loves itself some Adam Levine. I’d probably consider it unhealthy if he wasn’t so hilarious and awesome.)

Oh. Right. BATTLE ROUNDS happened and contestants sang! I’m not gonna lie, I missed the first half of the episode and haven’t been able to bring myself to catch up on it. As much as I enjoy the show, I don’t know if I’m going to willingly put myself through two “duets” with four contestants I couldn’t stand the first run through. I guess I’m glad Not Chris Daughtry Who Sang Cobra Starship advanced over Tone Deaf Couple Living In A Basement, but for the most part I think music lost that battle regardless of the outcome. On the flip side, I would have liked Black Afro Dude With White Parents to have beaten Somehow Even Growlier And Shoutier Casey Abrams, but cannot be too sad that at least one of them was sent packing. The battle formula already creates loud, shouty duets that don’t put musicality first, so I’m not entirely sad I missed these two screech-fests.
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The Voice: Let’s Get Ready To Ruuuumble!

It’s The Voice BATTLE ROUNDS, where two singers enter and… well, both singers leave. Yeah, it’s hardcore but there’s no fighting to the death. This ain’t no Hunger Games. (I assume there is fighting to the death in those books, I have actually never read them. If there isn’t, insert some other fight-to-the-death reference there. You know, I’d talk about Fight Club but…) Anyway, in the BATTLE ROUNDS (which will always be capslocked and bolded because such a dramatic concept deserves an equally dramatic representation) coaches typecast their contestants and make the two with the most face value similarities sing against each other. These contestants then get coached by their coach and another famous person (or Maroon 5’s music director) before they step into the ring and screech as loudly as they possibly can while drawing unanimous praise, regardless. They’re brilliantly produced (if excruciatingly slow) and hilariously indulgent. It’s going to be an amazing (if excruciatingly slow) four weeks of BATTLE ROUNDS.

I don’t have a lot more to say, so let’s just dive right on in to the matchups, shall we?
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The Voice: Sophomore Slump

Alright, so not every episode can be a winner, I guess. It wasn’t a terrible episode, though. It just never really felt like it went anywhere. All the singers were middling and on a talent competition, having shitty talent hurts a ton. Just ask American Idol Episode 1: The Paint-Selling Menace Season 9. Also? Two hours is way too long for an audition episode that isn’t the premiere. In the premiere it’s new and fresh so you can get away with it. Sometimes later on in the season it’s not absolutely terrible because we feel a little invested in some of the contestants and maybe are actually interested in hearing them sing. This? This was like, “oh god I pray the next person isn’t awful” or “oh god, at least let them be hot.” Speaking of which, this show needs to up its hotness factor stat. Season One of American Idol might have been low on singing talent, but at least it had Christina Christian.

The coaches were still on their game, even if they had to pretend to actually like 90% of the mediocre singers that sang for them. “I wanted Adam/Blake/Christina/Cee-Lo to pick you” became coach-code for “stay the hell away from my team but I hoped one of those other sad sacks in the spinning super-villain chairs would be saddled with your sorry talentless fleshbag.” Adam provided much entertainment through comedy (and my Twitter feed would probably suggest that he provided entertainment through another means). Blake is his own brand of subtle hilarity. Christina is gorgeous. Cee-Lo has turned half-joking-but-really-dead-serious flirting into an art form. This episode was definitely carried by the strength of this panel. (To come: even more star power in the form of special mentors! Yeah!)

I am feeling dreadfully lazy right now and completely unmotivated to go through each individual contestant again. So, instead, I will go from memory and see what I come up with on the individuals.
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The Voice: The Blind(ly Fun) Auditions

Ever since NBC released the extended preview for The Voice last week, I’ve been ridiculously excited for the premiere. I mean, it already has the star-studded judging coaching team of Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo Green, but you don’t really get the full force of that star power until you’ve seen them on stage together rocking out to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” I tried to imagine a similar situation with the Idol judges and it just wasn’t working out. Like, would it just be Steven Tyler screaming crazy runs while J. Lo did some booty-shaking and Randy Jackson name-dropped people who are still relevant? I don’t know, I don’t know. I can tell you it wouldn’t be anything close to the terrific performance that kicked off the series premiere of The Voice though.

The concept of the show is definitely gimmicky. I mean, the “blind” auditions are only going to last for, what seems to be, two episodes. Then it’s not just the voice but the voice and the image and the stage presence and the confidence and the not-looking-like-you-fell-face-first-into-a-kindergarten-art-project factor. Then there’s the whole deal with each coach creating a team of singers and competing on a stage styled after a boxing ring. Whatever, though. If the coaches keep bringing the level of entertainment they brought tonight without overrunning the entire show and the contestants continue to deliver, I’ll definitely stay tuned.

Anyway, on to the voices!
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