"I’m feeling a bit loser-y" - Blake Shelton
NBC's The Voice, in my humble opinion, features the best unknown and relatively unknown singers on television. I don't say this just because I'm a former contestant (I'm also a former contestant on that other singing show, but that's a different blog for a different day). I say it because the talent this season is so undeniable. Even the hopefuls that are unfortunate enough not to make a team are way better than some of the finalists on other shows. And this season most of my favorites aren’t even 18. So here is my personal compilation of some of the incredible aural goodness I heard this week:
1. Avery Wilson
I incredulously watched this kid sing Usher's Without You possibly better than Usher ever has. This kid executed some ridiculously impressive riffs a.k.a "runs." If you are unsure as to what a "run" is, listen to practically any Christina Aguilera song. She "runs" a lot and with flawless technique. The way he commanded the attention of the crowd would suggest he was literally born on a stage. Did I mention he's only 16? As he sang, I was reminded of myself at that age and ultimately thought, "I was not that good at 16. I wasn't even half that good." Blake, Christina, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine all turned their big, red chairs around for him and I believe he most definitely deserved it. Avery ended up choosing Cee Lo (a wise choice if I do say so) and I'm hoping and praying that Cee Lo doesn't make him and Trevin Hunte battle. It would be a shame to see either of these two talents have to go.
2. Melanie Martinez
Two-toned hair? Check. Big, red bow? Check. Quirky rendition of a popular song? Check. This 17 year old from Long Island wowed me with her original take on Britney Spears' Toxic and basically gave me what I love to hear from an artist. This song choice and execution tell me that artistic creativity is definitely her wheelhouse. This girl was playing an acoustic guitar and tapping a tambourine with her feet! I found myself lamenting my own lack of multi-tasking abilities. (Seriously, I can barely sing and clap on beat. But alas, this isn't about me) Blake, Adam and Cee Lo all hit their buttons but she ultimately went with Adam. Mark my words: she's going far in this competition. P.S. I love her smile.
I have an admiration for anyone who changes professions midstream to follow their dreams like ex-racer Benji. This guy can really sing. His distinct tone and gravelly yell on Knockin' on Heavens Door got Adam's and Cee Lo's attention. And this, my friends, is when we were introduced to Cee Lo's happily kicking, shoeless, and white-socked feet. I was reminded of why I love Cee Lo's personality so much. You can take the guy out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out the guy. Cee Lo could afford to put shoes on an entire village, yet he chooses not to wear them to work. Though I tend to be a bit biased towards Ceelo, I think that Benji chose wisely with Adam.
4. Colin McLoughlin
Another one to admire. When you know you're born to do something, you can't help but do it. In reaction to this people nay-say, doubts are cast, the road gets shaky, but the only tangible truth you can hold on to is your purpose. Such is the case with 24 year old Colin who dropped out of grad school to pursue music full time. His mom was not pleased with his decision to pursue singing, of course, but he knew that music was the right course for him. He showed such controlled restraint singing Cat Stevens' Wild World sparking the interest of Cee Lo, Blake and Adam. And though I agree with Blake that "Colin screwed the pooch," I would like to see a little more of what his voice can do in his battle round.
The Little Engines That Couldn't
1. Trevanne Howell
I will always cheer for contestants from the Bronx. However, I must admit that Trevanne's rendition of Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing left much to be desired. Last season, Cheesa sang the same song and sang it to damn near perfection! This version just didn't come close. Though I admire Trevanne's resilience and it broke my heart to see her so disappointed, even if I had never seen Cheesa sing it last season I have to admit that this song was just too a little too ambitious for Trevanne.
Song choice, song choice, song choice. What a lot of people don’t know is that The Voice picks the blind audition song for each contestant. The Voice bases their song choice for you on songs you initially auditioned with, your style and "dream songs" contestants list on their applications. On the bright side, if you are really displeased with your song choice, you can appeal to producers who will change it for you. Alessandra is young, fresh faced, and beautiful. But in singing a dated song like Turn the Beat Around, she sounded cliched and lounge-y. I really liked her tone, but this song did absolutely nothing for her.
One of the cool things of having been on an Emmy nominated show (Outstanding Reality Show) is going to some pretty cool parties. At the Derek Lam Audi Pre Emmy party with actors from The Office, Parks and Recreation, Veep, Glee, Community and that was the only ones I counted. I kept looking around saying to myself, "Am I really here right now?" It was really validating and I must admit that the highlight of the evening was meeting Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family. And though The Voice didn't win the Emmy, I applaud them for even earning the nomination.
I also got to reunite with some friends from season 8 of American Idol. Michael Sarver, Lil Rounds, Alexis Grace and I did a Motown tribute in Maryland for Frostburg State University. I hadn't seen these guys in 3 years and we had a really rad time. I'd like to thank those super cool kids in Frostburg who showed love and amazing hospitality. I wouldn't mind coming back for another go around (hint, hint).
Thanks for reading and don't stop sending the tweets! @JSquidward
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- Adam Levine