Maroon 5 ‘V’ (Deluxe Edition) Review

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Happy Maroon 5 day! My favorite band has a new album out, so naturally I had to write about it. Ultimately, I felt sort of divided by this one, the same way I did with Overexposed two years ago. I’m curious what my fellow M5 fans think. The band is still evolving, but are they headed in the right direction? Click over to Starpulse to read my thoughts and share your own.

Click here to read my review of Maroon 5’s V at Starpulse.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

News Roundup: June 2, 2014

The Voice

It’s only been about two weeks since Josh Kaufman was named champ of The Voice Season 6, but the show’s coaches and alumni are already making offseason moves. We’ve compiled the notable happenings for you below in this first June edition of our The Voice news roundup.

Adam Levine’s Feature Film Debut Is Almost Here

We’re just a few weeks away from seeing coach Adam Levine make his acting debut. Begin Again, in which Adam plays musician Dave Kohl, has its limited release Friday, June 27 and then expands everywhere on July 11.

The cast also includes Keira Knightley as Dave’s jilted girlfriend, Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers) as a music producer, and coach Cee Lo Green as…well, he seems pretty much like a fictionalized version of Cee Lo Green.

You can check out the new trailer for Begin Again below. It includes Adam singing a new track, “Lost Stars,” which we assume will be included on the movie soundtrack that Adam’s own 222 Records is releasing at the beginning of July. You can pre-order your copy now.

Jake Barker Has A New EP

Fresh off being spontaneously added to The Voice Tour, Season 6 alumni Jake Barker – pictured at the top of this article, and probably best known for taking on Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” before being eliminated in the first round of playoffs – has released a new EP. You can download the four-song Stage Fright on iTunes now.

James Wolpert’s Kickstarter Comes To An End

Team Adam’s James Wolpert was one step shy of making it to the Season 5 finals; he’s been working hard to parlay his exposure into the funds needed to release new music. James’s Kickstarter is almost over, but you still have time to donate and help him reach his goal.

As of Sunday night, when we went to press, James was less than $3,000 shy of his $25,000 target. His campaign ends tomorrow, June 3, just before 9 PM PST. To get more information or to donate, go directly to his Kickstarter page (kickstarter.com/projects/584074878/james-wolpert-makes-a-record).

Casey Weston’s Recent Music Video

Season 1 semifinalist Casey Weston recently dropped a new music video, “Back To The Start.” Take a look at it below.

New Tour Dates For Tony Lucca

One of the busiest alumni is Season 2 finalist Tony Lucca, who’s almost always on the road somewhere. This summer, he’s touring with both Tyler Hilton and Tonic’s Emerson Hart.

Tony and Tyler take to the road beginning July 8 in Louisville, KY and they wrap up July 22 in Nashville, TN. Then in August, Tony jets over to the West Coast to join Emerson for a short stint that runs from August 2 in Phoenix, AZ to August 9 in Seattle, WA. For all the tour dates and locations, hit up his website (tonylucca.com).

If you’re on either coast, these are great opportunities to check Tony out live – we’ve been to several of his shows, and he never, ever disappoints.

Blake Shelton Has A Pizza

You’ve probably seen the billion commercials for this, but it’s just too amusing not to mention. Blake Shelton has teamed up with Pizza Hut, and they’ve given him his own “Blake’s Smokehouse BBQ” pizza – which consists of bacon, ham, and pork covered with honey barbeque sauce. We think it should’ve come with a special latte.

The Voice season 7 will begin airing on NBC this fall; The Voice Tour launches in San Antonio, Texas later this month. For more updates on artists after the show, visit our sister site Big Red Chairs (bigredchairs.com) and follow it on Twitter (@bigredchairs).

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Throwback Saturday

Got this sent to me and thought you would all get a kick out of it: here’s me interviewing Adam Levine and Blake Shelton during Top 8 week on May 5. You can enjoy me in a Hawaiian shirt and Adam complimenting my work (though the video misses Adam pointing out that I’m wearing one of his shirts, and Blake interrogating me about Adam’s new hair color). Thanks to my friend Ruben Jay for catching this great moment on film.

5 Soundbites From The Top 3

The Voice

Here we are, The Voice fans: the home stretch. By the time you’re reading this, voting for Season 6 will have closed and all that will be left to do is announce which one of the three Season 6 finalists gets this spring’s trophy. On Monday night, all three artists made one final pitch to win America’s votes, and afterward BFTV was able to get just a few words from each finalist, as well as from one of the superstar coaches.

01) Christina Grimmie’s post-show plans: The YouTube sensation from Team Adam shared with us what she’s thinking of doing after tonight. “I really would like to release music, sooner than later, win or lose,” she said. “I’m riding high on being on The Voice. I don’t want to wait until there’s like an awkward lull. So I definitely want to get some music out.”

02) How Jake Worthington approached his final performances: “This time I really just cut back and said, you know what, I’m going to have a good time,” the Team Blake finalist told us. “I went out there and just had a good time. I was very fortunate not have any vocal problems. I really learned the hard way not to go all out in rehearsals!”

03) Does Usher think Adam deserves partial credit if Josh Kaufman wins? The Team Usher finalist was lifted off Team Adam in the second battle rounds, and we asked his new coach if the old one should get points if Josh takes home the title. “I give him credit for letting him go,” Usher quipped.

“I think honestly [Josh's] standout moment was ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and tonight just reminded me of that conviction where I was able to exist in his performance in a meaningful way. Because if I didn’t make that connection, then I wouldn’t be here. Everybody that started on Team Usher’s gone home and now he is a shining representation of my entire team. So thank you for signed, sealing and delivering Josh to me, Adam.”

04) What Josh will remember the most from his experience: As it turns out, everything. “It’s hard for me to break it down to a moment,” he admitted. “The whole experience has kind of been just one big thing. You have to look at the journey as a whole and I’ll never be the same as an artist or as a person coming away from this.”

05) Jake on experiencing The Voice so early in his music career: He’s one of many teenage artists who have appeared on the show, and others have even made it to the finale, like Danielle Bradbery (Season 4) and Jacquie Lee (Season 5). We asked Jake if he thought it was good to have such a major experience so early on. “I don’t know,” he reflected. “I’ve never experienced anything else besides playing in small places. But I never expected this to happen at all. So of course it’s crazy. It’s new, and I’m excited for what’s about to happen, because it’s game time.”

The Voice reveals its Season 6 winner tonight at the special time of 9-11 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

5 Soundbites From The Top 5

The Voice

Monday night marked the semifinals of Season 6 of The Voice, and so the Top 5 artists really pulled out all the stops. BFTV was on hand after the performances to get the dish, and here are some of the most fun and memorable soundbites from Monday, including Christina Grimmie explaining these balloons and which two alumni will be returning to the show tonight.

01) No, it wasn’t Christina Grimmie’s birthday. Team Adam’s pop star finished her performance of Fun.’s hit single “Some Nights” with balloons raining down from the rafters, leading Usher to exclaim “Happy Birthday!” and Blake to throw balloons at Usher.

Afterward, Christina explained what was up with the balloons in the first place. “Why not the balloons?” she said. “I feel like they needed to be dropped because it was a party. The whole song was just like get up and [dance].”

02) Kristen Merlin consulted Miranda Lambert before performing “Gunpowder and Lead.” It was a gutsy move for the Team Shakira singer to tackle the song – other Voice artists have tried it and not done so well – but she revealed to us that she actually had some input from Mrs. Blake Shelton beforehand.

“I had a conversation with Miranda over the past week and kind of tried to talk about different things,” she told us. “It’s one of her songs and it makes me really nervous to fill those shoes and Blake’s sitting right in front of me…I just wanted to have fun with it and I wanted to command the stage again.”

03) Will Champlin and Jacquie Lee will be performing their new singles. This is usually the point in the season when Voice alumni return, and as they get ready to set out on the show’s official concert tour next month, Season 5 finalists Will and Jacquie will be presenting their new singles, “Eye of the Pyramid” and “Broken Ones” respectively. We got to speak with both of them on Monday, and they’re both busy.

“I’ve been just putting my nose to the grinder in the studio, just trying to get [my] album done before the tour,” Will told us, while Jacquie added, “I worked my butt off after The Voice and I’m coming back as a new artist, away from the show, as my own person, so it’s a really cool feeling.” If you can’t wait to hear them perform tonight, both songs are already available on iTunes.

04) Usher told us how he’s approaching the final week. Once again, Usher is likely to have a finalist, in his second season of coaching. Asked what it feels like for him right now, he told us, “It’s all about staying focused and keeping the course. This season has been full of unpredictability. Who would’ve ever thought that, from a steal, we would be here? I put so much time and effort and focus in the original Team Usher and yet I lost everybody – and Josh [Kaufman] has become a shining star.

“We have to continue to be consistent,” he added. “I think that week by week, we’re introducing different aspects to who Josh really is and really showing America that he has what it takes to be a real artists so that they’ll continue to vote all the way through. You don’t win it until it’s won.”

05) Carson Daly isn’t worried about The Voice producing a commercially successful star. The main criticism of The Voice has been that its artists haven’t caught on after the show, and the artists’ biggest defender has always been host Carson Daly. We asked him Monday night if he thought any of Season 6’s Top 5 might be the breakout artist critics are looking for, and he shrugged off the pressure.

“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I think making great television is more important. That’s what we do. We’re a network and we’re trying to make a great television show, an entertaining one with great talent, and we do that at the highest level. It’s hard for somebody to break out in the music business anyway. This isn’t American Idol seven years ago; the world’s in a much different place. It’s hard to do that. It’s not even our goal; we would like people to be successful, and we think that they are.”

Tonight’s live elimination show will reveal which three of the Top 5 will make it to next week’s finale, and feature special guest performances from Will Champlin and Jacquie Lee. Tune in tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC to find out who advances and listen to the new music!

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

5 Soundbites From The Top 8

The Voice - Season 6

The Voice dropped a bombshell on Monday night, and we’re not referring to Adam Levine’s change of hair color. Host Carson Daly revealed on-air that to get things down to the right number for next week’s semifinals, the show would be axing three of its remaining singers – almost half the field – after the latest round of performances. We spoke with each of the singers after the show to get their thoughts on that and other things. Here are some of the soundbites from the Top 8.

01) Kristen Merlin’s not afraid to get emotional. Team Shakira’s last remaining artist teared up during her performance of Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” That was something she somewhat expected, given the track’s subject matter and because she was already familiar with it. “I’ve sung this song a ton of times before and each time it brings up emotions,” she said. “I was nervous about getting choked up and I did towards the end of it, but hopefully finished strong.” No doubt, Shakira’s hoping so, too.

02) Christina Grimmie doesn’t want to do a third straight rap song. Last week it was Drake; this week it was Lil Wayne. While Christina proved once again that she knows how to transform a rap track into something uniquely hers, that doesn’t mean that’s the direction she wants to go in. “It is very crucial that I don’t do another rap song and do it the same way that I’ve done it,” she told us. “It was a cool thing, but I want to leave it at that. I want to make another bold choice. If I’m here next week, I would love to do something bold, something people will have to vote for.”

03) James Valentine was an impressive guest mentor. The Maroon 5 guitarist came by The Voice to help Team Adam this week, and the artists had strong praise for Mr. Valentine. “He’s just like Adam,” said Delvin Choice. He is very intuitive when it comes to just like knowing what to do in certain situations to make things better. I enjoyed every moment that I had to share with him.”

Added Christina, “What I loved about him was you can definitely tell he and Adam work together…They know how to pick each other’s brain properly and they’re very honest. That’s what I love.”

04) Having three people eliminated does add to the stress level. Especially when you get that information too late to take it into consideration. “We found out probably shortly after last week. Going through the motions backstage, we heard chatter, and it’s nerve-wracking. Eight going down to five, that’s huge,” Kristen said, though she told us that she didn’t have time to consider changing her plans once the news broke. “For me, it was like immediate after I got off the stage on Tuesday, I was already locking in the song and then starting rehearsal..I kind of just had to throw it all out there and wish for the best.”

05) Adam Levine and Blake Shelton really are the better coaches. As we pointed out two weeks ago, statistics prove that Team Adam and Team Blake fare better with America. We brought that information to Adam and Blake on Monday, and asked them what they think they’ve been doing right. “I really don’t know,” laughed Adam. “We just like to do this. I think we’ve been doing it for so long we’re getting the hang of it. We’ve done 6 seasons of this so we have a lot of experience under our belts.”

“I think it’s knowing what artists to move forward,” Blake theorized. “That’s the most important thing you can do. You start with 12 or, depending on what season it is, 16 or 8. You’ve got to figure out which handful of those are the ones that you think have the best shot at winning this thing. That’s probably what he and I have been the best at, if there’s any advantage that we’ve had or anything that we’ve learned by doing this as long as we have been doing it, is who are those three or four artists that we think can win this thing.”

The Voice eliminates 3 artists and reveals Season 6’s Top 5 tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

5 Soundbites From The Top 10

The Voice

The Voice had a wild Monday night as the Top 10 performed hoping to reach the Top 8, while there were celebrity guests at hand and the coaches got into some shenanigans off-stage. Here are some of the interesting and amusing soundbites from the artists, as well as Shakira’s insight into getting her team back on the right track after a difficult first week of live playoffs, and Usher’s important advice to singers.

01) Delvin Choice didn’t know who Graham Nash was prior to rehearsal. Each of the coaches was permitted to bring in a new advisor, and Adam Levine chose Graham Nash, of the legendary trio Crosby Stills and Nash. But Team Adam’s Delvin didn’t know he was in the presence of a rock superstar until he looked Nash up online. “Once I realized who he was, I knew his name by the end of the night,” he quipped, going on to say, “He had a lot of great things to say. A lot of words of wisdom. He’s a legend. He can tell you how to rewrite your ABC’s and you’ll go back.”

02) Some people double-checked their microphones this week. After the snafu that caused half of Kristen Merlin’s performance to go unheard last Monday, there was some extra precaution when it came to making sure the equipment worked. “I think I checked it twice,” said Delvin. “During rehearsal, I think I checked it three times, because it really wasn’t on.”

The one singer who wasn’t fazed was the person the glitch actually happened to. Kristen told us, “I was just throwing it in their hands and hoping for the best.”

03) Shakira was very careful about picking the right guest mentor. With Team Shakira already down an artist, the Latin superstar brought in producer Busbee – who worked on her recent self-titled album Shakira as well as with Christina Aguilera and Season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton – to help them rebound. She told us why she thought he was the best choice for her duo.

“He’s an amazing producer with a great resume; he’s worked with Pink and Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum and me and Blake. So I thought that his opinion would be very valuable,” she said. “He’s very smart and very direct as well. And I needed that. I needed someone who would not beat around the bushes but deliver straight advice to my contestants. And he did. He did amazingly well.”

04) The artists don’t think that they’re as good as you think they are. We asked two frontrunners, Team Blake’s Sisaundra Lewis and Team Adam’s Christina Grimmie, if they feel like they’re at the top of the competition. They don’t. “I appreciate all the positive comments and everything, but there’s so much amazing talent on the show that there’s no way I would take it for granted that ‘Oh, God, you got this.’ No,” said Sisaundra. “Every single day I live in the moment and just try to practice and present excellence.”

“Tere are nine other incredible artists here and I would be foolish to think that I’m a solo frontrunner. That’s just a very arrogant way of going about it,” concurred Christina. “Everyone here is incredibly talented and any one of us could be going home at any time. I just keep telling myself, just work hard. Just do your thing.”

05) Usher’s tips for balancing everyone else’s opinions. How do you balance your opinions as an artist with those of your coach, your guest mentor of the week, and the social media feedback from America? Usher gave us his thoughts on keeping it all straight. “You know what you do?” he told us. “You go out there and you realize there’s no right or wrong. There’s just the hard work that you put in. Everyone’s going to have an opinion. Do your best, and walk away from it knowing that you gave it your all. That’s the one thing that I tell each and every person about life, period. Someone’s going to have an opinion, whether it’s art, whether it’s a conversation, whatever it may be… But you have to honestly be connected to what you’re doing.”

The Voice narrows down its Top 10 to the Top 8 tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.