NBC hosted a premiere for The Voice Season 4 in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, and pretty much everyone from the past three seasons joined the coaches on the red carpet. Scroll down to see pictures of familiar faces, from coaches Blake Shelton and Usher to Dia Frampton, Terry McDermott and Pip, just to name a few!
Todd Kessler may not have made it past the battle rounds in Season 3 of NBC’s The Voice, but he left the audience wanting more from the soulful singer. Thankfully, Todd and his band The New Folk are busy in 2013, and Todd recently connected with BFTV to reflect on his time as a member of Team Cee Lo and tell me what’s in store for the future – including whether or not he’ll reunite with Nicholas David.
Todd made a huge impression on Voice fans when he teamed with eventual third-place finisher Nicholas for an outstanding version of the Hall and Oates classic “She’s Gone.” If you need a reminder of Todd’s time on the show – or just want to relive that fantastic duet – you can check out the performance in full below.
How did Todd get to that moment? He earned his degree in Music Theory and Composition in 2005, and immediately got started on his career. “The day after graduation I was in the recording studio starting week on my first album [2006's We Are The Musicmakers],” he explained. “Right after school I really hit the ground running. I had been playing for quite awhile professionally on and off, and then about a year after I graduated, right around the time I finished my album, I went full-time.
“The Voice happened because I had some friends tell me about the show after the first season. I was a little skeptical because I never liked American Idol and never saw myself going down that path,” he continued. Todd was eventually persuaded to try out for the show’s second season, and “I made a couple callbacks but didn’t end up making it to the blind auditions. But then I went out again for Season 3.”
“I went into it really knowing that I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” he said of his experience on the series. “I went into it with a completely open mind and with the mindset that I’m just going to enjoy the ride. That being said, you definitely hear stories from other shows. You hear the nightmares of reality TV. You think ‘I really hope it’s not like that.’ And it wasn’t. Everyone from the PA’s to the casting to the producers, they treat everyone with such respect and treat everyone as artists. I was actually very plwasantly surprised at how well we were treated.”
Although his time on The Voice was relatively short, Todd has benefited from the experience both professionally and personally. When it comes to his career, “I’ve definitely seen a difference,” he said, even though he was also montaged during the blind audition phase. “I had released an album right before I was on The Voice [2012's Sea Fever], so I already had that going for me, but I have noticed a difference – more fans at my shows, definitely a lot more press. What The Voice did, it kind of gave me a story if you will. It gave something for people to latch onto.”
While he says the show’s producers did a “really good job” of getting his personal story out during the battle rounds, there’s one part that he wishes would’ve made it to air. “I’m an identical twin,” he revealed. “I think it would’ve been cool for people to see us together and see our relationship. One day on set during the blind auditions, we were doing some preliminary reality filming and my brother and my wife were kind of waiting around [while] I was over in hair and makeup, and one of the main producers walked by my brother and said,’”Todd, what are you doing?’”
What is Todd doing? He and his band The New Folk are hitting the road, and they’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds to buy themselves a van for their touring. They hit their $3,000 goal yesterday, but fans can still contribute until noon PST on Tuesday, and every pledge helps the band with other expenses. “Whatever money we raise is really going to help us out,” Todd said.
That’s not the only way his fans can support this tremendously underrated performer. “Just as an artist we appreciate so much when people share our posts or our videos. Any support we can get is so huge because there is so much competition out there and so much noise out there on the Internet,” he continued. “Any help we get from our fans is what makes us better artists and gets us out there to more people.”
You might even hear that much-requested collaboration between him and Nicholas in the future. “We talk about it every time we speak on the phone which is pretty regularly considering we both have new babies at home,” Todd said. “He’s still kind of working out what his obligations are being a finalist [on The Voice], and what he can and can’t do in terms of playing and recording music. I’m going up to Minneapolis this summer for some gigs and so we’ve been talking about doing something. It’s just a matter of logistics.” Fingers crossed that we’ll be hearing a lot more of Todd’s amazing voice in the future.
Todd and The New Folk are heading out on tour. You can find more information at their official website, follow Todd on Twitter (@toddkessler), and visit his YouTube channel. You can also give the band a listen by checking out the music video below.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.
We’re just shy of a month from a brand-new season of NBC’s The Voice, and only about two months removed from America crowning Team Blake’s Cassadee Pope the winner of the show’s third cycle. What’s been happening with the show and its artists since Cassadee won the title?
As has been heavily publicized, Season 4 will be the first with new coaches Shakira and Usher, who were introduced in the fall. You can read some of their early thoughts on joining The Voice here. This may also be the only season for the new arrivals, as previous coaches Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green – who are on a break this time around – have expressed interest in returning for Season 5 this fall. However, it’s worth noting that nothing has been finalized yet beyond Season 4.
The guest mentors this year will be Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum (Team Adam), Sheryl Crow (Team Blake), Joel Madden (Team Shakira) and Pharrell Williams (Team Usher).
Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope officially signed her recording deal with Universal and has been hard at work writing and recording ever since, according to her Facebook. Universal released a CD version of her Voice performances here. Cassadee posted a video update on her progress here.
Runner-up Terry McDermott hasn’t slowed down since leaving the show, either. In fact, he recently released a new single “Pictures” via SoundCloud, which he co-wrote with Dave Burman. His performance of “Baby, I Love Your Way” with Peter Frampton from the Voice finale was retroactively released on iTunes here.
Here’s a short list of major developments with other Voice artists, past and present.
Team Adam: Season 3′s Amanda Brown appears on the soundtrack to the recent Universal release Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. Her teammate Bryan Keith brought some new music to his live show at the Gramercy Theater; you can watch the video here. Season 2′s Pip released his EP No Formalities; you can get it here. Tony Lucca is hard at work on his new album, and performing some new originals on the road, like “Reckless Love.” Kim Yarbrough is preparing for the release of her single “Brand New Day” (here’s a teaser video), guested on CBS’s Vegas, appears in the March 6 episode of TNT’s Southland, and her Nickelodeon project has been ordered to series. Katrina Parker is working on new music of her own after the successful funding of her Kickstarter project. Season 1′s Tim Mahoney released his next CD, Shine Through, which includes his Voice-related tune “Hey Adam Levine.” Casey Weston has a new album on the way; you can pre-order it here and stay tuned for an upcoming interview.
Team Blake: Season 3′s Suzanna Choffel released her new single “Guardians.” Season 2′s winner, Jermaine Paul, postponed the release of his post-show album Finally until sometime later this year; you can pre-order it at Amazon, although there’s no specific street date listed there. Season 2 alum Jordis Unga is in the home stretch of putting together her new album, and also won a Grammy this year for her work on Jimmy Cliff’s Rebirth, which took the trophy for Best Reggae Album. Erin Willett has recently posted a new cover.
Team Cee Lo: Season 3′s MacKenzie Bourg has dropped his debut single. Season 1′s Nakia is releasing his next EP, Drown In The Crimson Tide, and is playing a few tour dates in his home state of Texas. His battle round partner Tje Austin put out his new CD, Dreamin’ Big. Also, Paste Magazine wants to help you make your own Cee Lo Green.
Team Christina: Season 3′s Devyn DeLoera released a music video with Ready Revolution that you can find here, along with several covers on her Facebook page. She has new music coming your way on March 4. The busiest Voice alum by far is Season 2′s Chris Mann, who recently taped Chris Mann in Concert for PBS to be aired in March. Also next month, Chris will be announcing tour dates, one of which is New York’s Highline Ballroom. Lindsey Pavao put out her new single “No Revelation.” Moses Stone released new music; you can find “Beautiful Nightmare” here.
Season 4 of The Voice begins March 25. For the latest on all things related to NBC’s hit singing competition, you can visit Big Red Chairs.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
NBC has crowned its third ‘The Voice’ in just over a year – and on Tuesday evening, the winner, the runners-up and the coaches joined Big Red Chairs on the red carpet to give their final thoughts about the junior season of the hit series.
Team Blake’s pop-rocker Cassadee Pope was named the winner of the competition at the end of Tuesday night’s season finale, joining previous winners Javier Colon from Team Adam in Season 1 and Jermaine Paul from Team Blake in Season 2.
Her win was expected by most of America – and also by her fellow finalists, teammate Terry McDermott and Team Cee Lo’s Nicholas David. “Absolutely,” said Terry when asked if he had thought Cassadee would take home the title. “I think the biggest reason we had that feeling was because her songs had been reaching such a large cross-section of the public. Her continually crushing iTunes speaks volumes for itself.”
“She deserves it,” he continued. “The right person’s won.”
Added Nicholas, “I had a feeling i was going to go a long time ago – but I never looked at it like a competition. I’ve always just been blessed to be here.”
Even Cassadee, who previously stated that she tried not to be affected by the buzz, said she felt confident in her chances. “At one point I felt like ‘Okay, this could become a reality,’” she said. “I actually felt that back when ‘Over You; got to number one. I was like, ‘If this keeps happening I might have a shot.’”
It proved to be just one of her many charting iTunes hits that helped deliver her the title – as those iTunes downloads which were in the Top 10 singles chart at the close of each round of voting had their total number of downloads (which then translated directly into votes) multiplied by ten.
Her coach, Blake Shelton, had plenty to say about Cassadee’s victory and how he would continue to support her after the show, as he has done with many of his artists throughout the history of The Voice. “She knows that this doesn’t end with the finale of The Voice, [our] relationship,” he told reporters. “I don’t want to make one dime off of her in my life, but i do want to see her go on to be a superstar and end up in relationships in this business that are the best for her.
“If I’ve got to get in the way of something that she doesn’t like or she doesn’t agree with, then I will because I’m her friend,” he continued. “I’m her friend, I’m Terry’s friend, and I will be until the day I die. I just want to see them do whatever it is they dream of doing because they’re good people and they deserve it.”
His fellow coaches Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera – who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday – also weighed in on Team Blake taking the title for the second straight season. “It’s not about did the right person win,” said Christina. “I just think that she kept improving week by week and I think we all recognized that.”
Agreed Adam, “It was her moment. Cassadee excelled at the best times. We’re really happy, even though it’s not our team, we’re happy for Cassadee.
“We chose Cassadee, too, she just didn’t choose us,” he quipped. “We all chose the winner, damn it.”
The coaches closed the season with one final performance reflecting on their three seasons together. As previously revealed in September, Christina and Cee Lo will not be part of The Voice Season 4. They will be replaced by Shakira and Usher respectively.
However, both Christina and Cee Lo are on record as saying they want to return for Season 5, as the series has been renewed through that fifth cycle, which is expected air in the fall of 2013.
What’s next for each of the three finalists? “I’m going to release something quick,” said Cassadee, who asked her fans to support the new music she’ll put out.. “I have to, and it’s going to be great.” You can keep up with her on Twitter at @CassadeePope.
“I’m going home,” said Minnesota native Nicholas, who has family time and Christmas shopping on his to-do list, as “I haven’t really had time to do anything except the show.” He can be found on Twitter at @thefeelin.
“I’ve always been motivated by new music and being part of it and creating it,” said Terry, who added that he has “an idea and direction” for what he wants to do next. His Twitter handle is @TerryMacMusic.
All three artists reflected on the many accomplishments they’d achieved through being part of The Voice‘s third season. “There’s so many, from the chair turning to meeting all the people,” said Nicholas. “Meeting Cee Lo, to sing with Cee Lo, meeting Bill Withers, to sing with Smokey Robinson. it’s a freaking adventure of a lifetime and that’s the truth.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people along this ride and really form relationships with some great people,” concurred Terry. “It’s made it such a pleasurable journey. there’s been nothing negative about this experience.”
Cassadee was able to perform with her musical idol, Avril Lavigne, and remarked that “I met her and she just blew my mind with how nice she was and how thankful she was to have me there.”
Still, she added, she’s ready to see what the music world has in store for her next. “I’m absolutely happy to move onto the next chapter,” she added.
The Voice returns in just over three months – Season 4 premieres on March 25, 2013.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
The Voice is less than 24 hours away from crowning a Season 3 winner. As they waited for America’s votes, finalists Terry McDermott, Cassadee Pope and Nicholas David joined Big Red Chairs on the carpet to share their thoughts.
The evening started with a touching tribute to the victims of the recent Newtown, CT school shooting, as the Voice coaches joined their live show finalists, host Carson Daly and social media correspondent Christina Milian for a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” while holding placards with the names and ages of the victims. If you missed that opening performance, you can view it here.
The tragedy also affected Cassadee later in the evening, during her repeat performance of Blake Shelton’s hit “Over You,” as the artists were asked to reprise their top renditions of the season. “I connected with it even more now because I was thinking about Connecticut and how horrible that is and losing people,” she said afterward. “I was thinking about that.”
The show had to go on, however, and the artists made the most of it with a trio of new performances as well as duets with their coaches. “[The night] started off on a somber note but we’ve got to celebrate life while we have it,” said Nicholas. “I was excited to end [my run on] the show like that. [A] piano was on fire, things were blowing up, people were hanging from trapezes, there’s a mini Cee Lo. It was too cool.”
Going out on a big note was definitely his intention. “After last week’s performance being so stripped down and emotionally raw, I was like ‘Let’s just blow some stuff up,’” he continued. “Let’s go for it.”
Another surprise on Monday night was Adam Levine guesting on Blake Shelton and Terry’s performance of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady” – with the shirtless Maroon 5 front man channeling Axl Rose. According to Terry, Adam’s wardrobe choice (or lack thereof) wasn’t part of the plan.
“I have no idea,” he said when asked where it came from. “All the way through rehearsals, he had a shirt on. There was no headband. There was nothing. So that was a surprise to us. That’s why when I looked over, Blake is laughing his ass off, and I’m like ‘Really, what the hell’s going on here?’”
“We had great fun with that,” he added. “It was just a nice little touch. we were having great fun in rehearsal but that just finished it off.”
Terry was shocked when Blake revealed that his father, Terry McDermott Sr., had flown to Los Angeles to support his son in the finale. “To have him in the room to feel the atmosphere, to see the action, it was wonderful,” he said, though he added that his heart might be a little weak after all the surprise appearances from his loved ones over the season. “I was like, you could just put me through an assault course or an endurance test, you don’t have to keep wheeling out family members,” he quipped.
With their final performances in the books, all the three artists can do is wait for America to vote and crown a winner. Cassadee is the favorite to win if you listen to Internet buzz, but not necessarily if you ask her. “I try not to let it affect me because I feel like the moment you get comfortable in this situation, the moment it bites you in the ass a little bit,” she explained. “It’s been a great encouragement and it makes me feel good, but I’ve always kind of been my worst critic.”
Never having looked at the series as a competition, Nicholas was just enjoying the experience. “This has been the adventure of a lifetime,” he reflected, “but I’m excited to close the chapter on this adventure and start a new book. I felt this was a good way to end it.”
Teammates Cassadee and Terry are now head-to-head, but Cassadee added that it’s not an uncomfortable experience to compete against her friend. “It’s not weird at all because we’re individuals,” she said. “Our coach makes us feel very special individually. He doesn’t do favoritism or anything like that. There’s never been a weird moment.”
“Frankly, we’ve never really been that competitive,” agreed Terry, who could have summed up the entirety of the Voice season as he said, “We get on so well, and the way we’ve always viewed it is you just leave it on the stage and then other people decide. Nobody’s trying to sabotage or be negative. We want the best for each other and if you win, it’s because you deserve to.”
The season 3 winner will be revealed as The Voice wraps up its two-night Season 3 finale Tuesday at the special time of 9 PM ET/PT on NBC.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
After a shortened semifinal performance show on Monday, The Voice sent one more contestant home on Tuesday.
Team Cee Lo’s Trevin Hunte – who had been an early favorite to take the title – was the unlucky man out, and both he and Voice host Carson Daly joined Big Red Chairs on the red carpet after his elimination was revealed.
“This has been the best experience for me in my whole entire life,” said Trevin. “I always say that I didn’t expect to make it this far, even past the blind auditions, so to have made it to the top 4 has been a great accomplishment for me.”
“I would have to say that I prepared myself for something like this,” he continued, adding that he wasn’t brokenhearted about leaving the competition. “I’m definitely super, super excited. I have an opportunity to relax and to see how things go on the other side as far as watching my fellow team member Nicholas [David] perform. I can’t complain. I’ll be here for the week and I’ll get to see Cassadee [Pope], Terry [McDermott] and Nicholas perform at the finale.”
He also had some parting words for his fans. “I just want to thank my fans so much,” he said. “Words can’t even begin to thank them. They’ve been so strong and they’ve been so passionate about me. I definitely thank them and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.”
You can keep up with Trevin Hunte on Twitter (@Tamor_11).
Was Carson Daly surprised by Trevin’s dismissal? “A little bit,” the host admitted. “I didn’t know how it was going to all come down. I might have thought that Trevin was going to get saved, if I’m being completely honest with you. I’m not surprised that Nicholas is in the top three because he’s awesome, but just thinking about the fact that an R&B artist won these last few years, I was kind of thinking that maybe Trevin would have it.”
As far as what he enjoys most about being the master of ceremonies for the show, he said that “Just to be with regular folks is nice – people who I can relate to who love music like I do. I was a radio DJ not that long ago and made $18,000 when I was 24. I still can relate to the common person so I think for me to do the blind auditions where I’m in there with the families and grabbing the moms’ arms is what I love about the show the most. The journey of being with them, making them feel comfortable on a red carpet and a fake environment in Hollywood is something that I actually really enjoy about the job.”
In addition to being the host of The Voice, Daly is also known for using his radio show and late-night NBC talk show to help artists who have appeared on the series, no matter how far they advance in the competition. “I just had Jamar Rogers on my show to try and give him a little help with his promotion. He’s doing really great. He lives in LA now. It’s great to have Juliet [Simms] and RaeLynn and those guys are obviously doing well. Chris Mann is doing well,” he explained.
“At this point with Fallon and Kimmel and Leno and Letterman, there are so many places in late night where all the arrived celebrities can go and chitchat,” he added. “I really like my show to be about trying to help people still make that pursuit. My door is always wide open.”
He also pointed out something that stood out to him about The Voice‘s Final 4. “We’re not talking about somebody that stood in line at the Staples Center because they wanted to be on a singing competition to become famous,” he said. “We’re talking about people that care about music.”
Cassadee Pope, Terry McDermott and Nicholas David remain in the running to be named ‘The Voice’ for Season 3. The final performance show airs next Monday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
The Voice has narrowed its Season 3 field down to 6 artists, and after they once again performed for America’s vote on Monday night, they spoke with Big Red Chairs about their songs and what they’re hoping for going forward.
“I definitely think it’s close. I feel like it could really be anybody that could move forward,” said Team Adam’s Amanda Brown, who sung Aretha Franklin’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)’ and Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again.’
The latter was her coach Adam Levine’s idea, and of the song choice Amanda reflected, “I was just like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ I was excited. I like to do songs that allow me to have fun and kind of be myself and not have to worry about the fact that this is a competition. I feel like the two songs I did tonight allowed me to do that.”
In past seasons, the finalists have done duet performances with their coaches and celebrities, so who would she like to share the stage with? “There’s so many people on my list,” she explained. “I would love to perform with Paul Simon, I’d love to do a song with Dave Grohl, I’d love to do a song with Peter Gabriel, I’d love to do a song with Prince. There are a lot of people.”
Her teammate Melanie Martinez had the most unique performances of the night, with a tiny piano on the set for her rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ and a colorful, school play-esque backdrop for Lenka’s ‘The Show.’ These interesting ideas were the result of collaboration between Melanie and her coach.
“I definitely asked for the tiny piano. I thought that’d be cool,” said Melanie of her take on ‘Crazy,’ crediting another Voice artist with the song choice. “Mackenzie Bourg actually suggested that song to me. I kind of just went with it and I was really happy I got to show both sides to me. ‘The Show’ was very lighthearted and ‘Crazy’ was creepy.”
Part of her performance of ‘The Show’ involved a stagehand pretending to row a boat, and he was particularly enthusiastic about his job. “During rehearsals he was like that too, so it wasn’t just for camera,” Melanie confided. “He was always just really excited to row that boat.”
So after tiny pianos, rowboats and fake dolphins, what would Melanie bring to the table next? “Real dolphins,” she quipped, before saying that she’d love to duet with “Regina Spektor, Ed Sheeran, Kimbra, Lana Del Rey, all my faves.”
Team Cee Lo’s Nicholas David and Trevin Hunte got a surprise this week as their coach fell under the weather and Train lead singer Pat Monahan was brought in to fill his spot during rehearsals. “It was different from working with Cee Lo because we’ve definitely established a relationship with each other,” said Nicholas, “but it was cool to [have] a fresh perspective that kind of shook things up a bit.”
“It was a great experience working with Pat,” agreed Trevin. “I loved it because I actually got different advice and a different spin on how to approach the song. I was definitely happy for that. I love Cee Lo to death and Pat is amazing.”
Of his choice to perform ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ on Monday, Nicholas said, “I’ve tried to do songs that kind of speak a little bit deeper message and so I’ve tried to remain consistent with that. I think that was a fun choice and also a way to just say thank you to my mom, who’s been a huge support. She’s believed in me from the get-go.”
Cee Lo handed Trevin the Katrina and the Waves song ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ and Trevin admitted afterward that “I was very skeptical about that performance. It was kind of out of my realm. But I think I gave it my best shot.”
If he gets the chance to do a celebrity duet, he added that “I have so many people I want to sing with…Fantasia, Beyonce, Celine Dion. The list goes on.”
Team Blake’s Cassadee Pope, who sang Rascal Flatts’ ‘Stand’ and Avril Lavigne’s ‘I’m With You,’ said that her coach choosing the former for her was a bit intimidating. “It scared the crap out of me because it’s a song that, on its own, doesn’t really showcase my vocals and I needed to bring that this week,” she explained.
The latter song was her idea, and she added that “I see that song as such a dramatic song. This show is all about the drama and the theatrics and how you connect with songs, and I’ve connected with that song since I heard it.”
Cassadee’s choice for a celebrity duet partner was fairly close to home. “For my moral values and just wanting to kind of tip the hat to her, I would have to sing with Miranda Lambert,” she said. “Letting me sing her song, such a special song to her, and also for her to show so much support to me and Terry [McDermott] throughout this whole thing. It means a lot to me that she supports us so much. She’s one of the nicest people.”
Her teammate Terry was upbeat after his performances of ‘Stay With Me’ by Rod Stewart and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ by Foreigner. “See what I did there? Foreigner?” quipped the Scottish-born rocker.
How did his rendition of the classic love song come together? “When me and Blake were talking, we actually were earmarking another track,” Terry explained. “But I wasn’t as keen on it and I think at the time I was sitting with Melanie’s dad, Jose, and he had Foreigner on YouTube.
“It was just one of those moments where everything happened the way you want it. I was like ‘Hang on, Blake, I’ve an idea.’ I suggested Foreigner and he was like, ‘I love that tune, let’s do that!’ We’d been talking about stripping down the other song so we said ‘Let’s just do it on this one then.’”
“The cello player was fantastic on it,” he continued. “That was a piece of inspired genius on the part of the band. That arrangement, I think, absolutely fueled the whole emotional side of the track.”
As for Blake picking the Rod Stewart tune for him to perform, Terry said that he was thrilled as it was a song he would have chosen for himself. “It says a lot about how well we’re getting on that he’s apparently reading my mind on a daily basis, or he has enough money that he can buy a device to read my mind, which is possible. I know how they roll in Oklahoma,” he quipped, before adding seriously, “I’m very happy with the song choice.”
Who would he bring back to the Voice stage? Rather than a celebrity guest, Terry would prefer to reunite with some of his colleagues. “I was such good friends with Rudy Parris – I still am – and I love Rudy’s voice,” he said. “He’s got great energy, he’s a very kind guy. I would love to get on stage with him and actually share the stage with him.
“Bryan [Keith] would be another one. Bryan’s voice is so unique. I would love to bring Bryan back. “
Trevin confided that waiting for America’s vote isn’t going to be easy for the artists. “I feel like everybody did a great performance tonight,” he said, “and we all know that this time in the competition is hard because everyone is different and everyone is great.”
One person who’s not worried over the results is Nicholas. “I have never really looked at it like a competition,” he said. “I’ve always looked at it like it’s an opportunity and an experience to be lived in. Everyone’s so gifted and so themselves. Everybody has something to give. I’ve just felt blessed to share this time and space with such a colorful cast of characters.”
The Voice reveals its Final 4 Tuesday night at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.
The Voice‘s Top 10 artists again sung to stay in the competition on Monday night, and after their performances, they joined Big Red Chairs to discuss what went into their songs and what they’ll do while waiting to see if America votes them through into the Top 8.
“I found out today,” said Team Christina’s Sylvia Yacoub when asked when she heard that her performance of Alicia Keys’ ‘Girl on Fire’ would open the show. “It definitely adds more nerves because that’s kind of the note the whole show starts on and then you kind of have to make your performance memorable enough that people want to vote for you by the end of the show.”
The choice put her back behind the piano, something that worked very well for her when she previously sang Katy Perry’s ‘The One That Got Away,’ but Sylvia said that wasn’t an intentional choice on her part. “It just happened. I was feeling the song and Christina was like, ‘I really want you to start in front of the piano again,’ and I thought it was a really good idea,” she explained, adding, “I’m so glad I got to do a song that reached out to a lot of people.”
“I felt pretty good,” said Team Blake’s Terry McDermott after his take on Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer of ’69.’ Talking about his use of the microphone stand throughout the performance, he explained that “I think it’s a throwback to my days in touring. I just love to get the Freddie Mercury on and kind of carry that thing around the stage like I’m going to whack somebody with it. It’s not as light as it looks either, because it’s not counterbalanced right. Don’t grab it in the right place, you’re going to make a fool of yourself pretty quickly.”
“I get on tremendously well with Blake,” he said of his coach. “I like him as a person, I think he’s a great coach. It turns out that Scottish country and American country really aren’t that far apart. They’re very straight talking, down to earth and I think there’s a connection there that really made it easy for me to get on and enjoy being on his team.”
Having performed American rock classics and now a song by a Canadian, Terry added that he just might keep broadening the audience’s musical horizons. “Who knows?” he said. “Maybe I’ll take it back home, go back to the UK.”
His teammate Cassadee Pope did some emotional heavy lifting with her take on ‘Over You,’ the song that Blake and his wife Miranda Lambert wrote about the passing of Blake’s brother. Asked how she held herself together during the tear-inducing tune, she said, “I kind of just told myself that if I started to cry, that it wouldn’t sound good. I just composed myself and I told myself ‘It’s the difference between staying here and going home, and I want to stay.’”
It was the second time she’d handled an emotional song, after her take on Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes,’ which she previously said reminded her of her relationship with her father. “It takes a toll, definitely,” she continued. “I feel emotionally drained after every performance. But I know that’s something I want. If people are going to pick up the phone and vote for me, they need to feel emotionally attached to me.”
“I’m kind of ready to go balls to the wall now,” she added. “I want to show that I can put on a good show and run around and go crazy like that.”
Another person for whom things were personal was Team Adam’s Bryan Keith, whose performance of Billy Joel’s ‘New York State of Mind’ meant a lot to the New York native. “It was all just heart and soul. That’s why I looked so comfortable up there. It just came out of me the way I wanted it to,” he said afterward. “I’m from New York and I love New York, so I feel like I brought the spirit of New York to the stage and into people’s homes, and that’s something for me to be proud of and I am proud of it.”
“I just love being in the streets and like meeting so many people who come to New York and it’s a dream come true for them when they’re there,” he continued. “I have a lot of friends there. It’s all I know. I grew up there. It’s this whole spirit, it’s just very different about New York. People are stronger, I feel like especially with what happened recently with the hurricane, we always bounce back from things and we have this spirit of trying to lend a helping hand to each other. I’ve always been that way. That’s what it is for me. That’s what New York means.”
“I feel like I’ve been doing something different every week and I like the way tonight went. I felt really good,” he added. “This is the kind of stuff that runs through my veins.”
Team Cee Lo’s artists got to bring more of themselves to their performances on Monday. Nicholas David brought a choir to support his version of ‘Lean on Me,’ and called the result “awesome.” Of his relationship with his coach, he said, “There’s a mutual respect, there’s a mutual admiration. It’s really neat how amazing he is but then like how human he is. We bounce ideas off each other, we laugh, we joke, we just respect each other.”
Trevin Hunte convinced Cee Lo to let him perform Usher’s ‘Scream.’ “I ran through the song one time and he was kind of on board with it. He wasn’t a hundred percent at first but I sung it to him and he kind of liked it,” he said, adding that “I feel like song choice is more of a collaborative effort. Cee Lo is always there to support me with whatever decision I make and I’m always there to support him with the decisions he makes for me.”
Of the resulting performance, he explained that “I set a goal for myself and I told myself that I just wanted to have fun. I felt like this was more of a current song and a modern song that people could relate to, and that was my main objective. I know it wasn’t my best performance vocally but I would have to say that I had fun.”
Cody Belew called his energetic version of Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love,’ complete with costumes and background dancers, “all me. This is me being realized finally and I’m just trying to give everyone at home a little taste of the artist they’re going to get after this is over.”
What was the best part of his big number? “Throwing the mic,” he said. “We practiced the throw but I didn’t even ask where it ended up [during the performance]. I wasn’t even aware.”
Team Adam’s Melanie Martinez also had a big hand in her performance, not only choosing her song – The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” – but having her photography featured. “I definitely feel like I was being me on stage and that’s what I really wanted to do,” she reflected. “I’m really happy I did the song because I pushed for it. I’m really happy that Adam trusted me with it and just let me be me.”
She revealed that it was production’s idea to feature her photography in both her backdrop and the dress she wore during the performance. “Wardrobe came to me with the idea for my dress and stuff. When they told me about it, I was so excited,” she said, adding that she didn’t know if they’d let her keep the dress itself but that “It’s kind of irrelevant for anyone else!”
Her teammate Amanda Brown was looking to improve on her performance from last week’s live show. with her rendition of ‘Stars’ by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. “In general last week I wasn’t feeling well, and so I definitely wanted to give my best. I just knew that I could do better,” she explained. “When Adam presented this song to me, I instantly was like, ‘Yes. This song is right for me.’”
Also looking to expand was Team Christina’s fan favorite Dez Duron, who set himself the high bar of performing ‘Feeling Good’ and then promptly cleared said bar. “We definitely wanted to show some depth this week,” he explained. “Sinatra and Buble, they’re legends so to go after them was definitely scary for me, but Christina believed in me enough so I just was like, ‘I’ll roll with it,’ and it ended up being great.”
Asked if he was concerned that his strong appeal with the female audience might shift focus away from his vocal ability, he said, “If anybody will listen to my music, I’m happy. I appreciate all the support. But we wanted to pick a song that was all about the voice. That’s why I stayed with the mic stand the whole time. I was trying to make people listen. I hope we did that.”
Some of the artists got additional help from ‘guest mentors’ this week: Jennifer Hudson assisted Team Cee Lo (which also allowed NBC to cross-promote Season 2 of Smash, in which she appears), while Team Blake and Team Christina called in producers Scott Hendricks and Ron Fair respectively. Surprisingly, Team Adam did not have a ‘guest mentor.’
“I was so shocked. I didn’t know,” said Trevin. “It was the best feeling in the world to have Jennifer Hudson across a piano from [me]. I definitely wasn’t ready for it when I stepped in the room but she gave me great words of advice.”
“Practice had a very different feel this week with me and Christina and Ron,” added Dez. I was so glad Ron was there. He was an amazing coach.”
What were the Top 10 going to do while waiting for America to cast their votes?
“I go home and I’m probably going to have a cheeseburger and then go straight to bed,” said Amanda with a laugh. Added her teammate Melanie: “I just sleep and hope that people will vote for me.”
Nicholas summed it up best: “Right now I’m just here and in the moment and truly grateful,” he said. “We’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow but I’m here today.”
In addition to the Top 10, the show featured a performance by coaches Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera, singing their duet “Just A Fool” from her recently released album Lotus.
Voting for The Voice is open until 10 AM EST tomorrow – and which two artists will be sent home is revealed tomorrow night at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC!
Tuesday night’s episode of The Voice is a special two-hour episode – because the remaining two teams are being cut down in half in the second and final installment of the knockout rounds. It’s time for Teams Blake and Christina to see who makes it into their Top 5.
Team Christina starts the night, and Christina pairs Devyn DeLoera (see my interview with Devyn here) with Laura Vivas, wanting to see “who can deliver a powerful performance under pressure.” Devyn’s song choice is “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston (which Cheesa sung in Season 2), and Christina hopes her nerves don’t play into her live performance. Laura goes with Marc Anthony’s “I Need To Know,” and her coach cautions her about her voice control.
After Devyn unleashed her in-your-face diva in her battle round, it’s impressive to hear the belty, more vulnerable side of her. There’s no denying that Laura’s song choice is in her comfort zone, possibly even too comfortable.
The coaches weigh in with their feedback. Cee Lo, of course, is all about the ladies, and calls Laura’s performance one of the best he’s ever seen. Blake compliments Devyn for stepping into Whitney Houston’s big shoes. Adam doesn’t get to weigh in, as Carson moves right to Christina, who thinks that Devyn can benefit from her coaching more than Laura, so she selects Devyn as the winner – much to the surprise of the rest of Team Christina backstage and Devyn herself.
Christina’s next knockout pairing is Adriana Louise and Celica Westbrook. She wants to see which of these two “powerful pop singers” will “outshine the other.” Adriana’s song selection is Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” as she’s looking to show emotion with a big ballad. Christina thinks she’s “sticking a little too much to the script” in her rehearsal. Celica’s choice is a surprising one, Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never,” because she wants a song that’s closer to her age range.
When it comes time to perform, Adriana has clearly taken the notes that Christina gave her, as she couldn’t wring an iota of emotion more out of those lyrics. In contrast, Celica’s rendition of the Bieber tune is more upbeat, a little bit aggressive, and works better than it sounded.
Adam tells the artists that “you both had different things that made you strong,” and calls Blake a “hard-ass” and that “I wouldn’t want you to judge me” after Blake calls both singers pitchy. Blake retorts that Adam’s been a little bitchy. Laughter ensues. This means Cee Lo has no time to talk. It’s right to Christina, who tells both artists that they gave her “tremendous talent,” but ultimately gives the pass to Adriana. At least a tearful Celica gets a well-deserved hug from Christina.
Following that, Christina selects Alessandra Guercio and Dez Duron. “They clearly have two different styles, and I want to see the contrast and compare the two,” she explains. Alessandra’s song is “Take A Bow” by Rihanna, because she connects with it personally, and Christina wants to hear the “great rasp” in her voice. Dex goes with Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You,” calling it “a different look” from his previous performances. His coach gives him tips on his breath control, noticing that he runs out of breath at a certain point in the song.
Alessandra gives a solid performance that impresses both her current coach and her previous one, Adam. But she’s up against it because of Dez’s huge popularity before he even opens his mouth. He does accomplish his goal of showing another side of himself, and he’s certainly grown in leaps and bounds since he first auditioned in Season 2.
Cee Lo wants to know how Dez feels being on a team of beautiful ladies because his own team is full of men. “You did it to yourself,” Adam tells him, before saying he’d choose his former student Alessandra. Blake wishes he could help Christina more but can’t pick between the two. Christina selects Dez as the winner, much to the joy of the women in the audience.
Fourth to match up are Chevonne and De’Borah, and not because they each go by one name, but because they’re “such energetic performers.” Chevonne goes with Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” and Christina works with her on breaking the song down very specifically. Early fan favorite De’Borah picks The Fray’s “You Found Me” because of how she can relate to the song, and her coach advises her not to set herself up with too many challenges.
Chevonne’s song selection can’t be faulted, as she’s clearly enjoying herself and it seems to be a crowd-pleaser as well. De’Borah brings a certain almost pleading to her performance that wasn’t in the original tune. Both renditions are unique, and that makes for an interesting decision ahead for their coach.
Before she makes that choice, though, she gets some feedback from the panel. Cee Lo says he’d gladly have both singers on her team, to which Chevonne responds, “I was on your team.” Adam compliments both artists’ stage presence, but opts for De’Borah. Blake is skipped over, and Christina moves on with De’Borah. Cee Lo is slightly annoyed that Chevonne is spending her last moments on the stage talking to her new coach Christina and not saying goodbye to him.
That leaves Aquile and Sylvia Yacoub as Team Christina’s final pairing. “I paired them because I need to see who will bring that emotion to the stage,” Christina says via voice-over. Aquile chooses Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” in order to evoke that passion, while Sylvia opts for a Christina song in “Fighter,” which adds an extra bit of nerves to her equation. “It’s hard to get all of that out,” Christina admits, “and she runs the risk of kind of blowing her pipes a bit.”
Aquile makes Bruno Mars proud, but Sylvia deserves an award for getting that many words out without losing her breath. She doesn’t quite have the growl that Christina did in her rendition, but who really does?
Cee Lo does his Randy Jackson impression, leading Blake to ask “Who’s Randy Jackson?” Adam quips that he’s a country singer and Cee Lo jokes that he’s Michael Jackson’s brother. Christina doesn’t get too much feedback from the guys as a result of this banter, so she talks herself through the choice in front of her before going with Sylvia. Like Adam’s team, Christina’s Top 5 is heavy on the ladies, and Blake says in voice-over that he thinks Christina’s made a mistake in picking artists who all represent one genre. Is he right? Time and America’s votes will tell.
In hour two, it’s Team Blake’s show, and Blake begins by putting together Gracia Harrison and Liz Davis. He wants to bring a country artist to the Voice finals this time, and says that “The best way I know how to do that is to not split the vote.” Blake is surprised when Gracia chooses Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” as her knockout song, and advises her to “keep a good grip on your pitch” in rehearsal. After singing “Baggage Claim” in her battle round, Liz picks another Miranda Lambert song for her knockout, “Gunpowder and Lead,” which naturally sets Blake’s expectations for her fairly high.
Gracia suitably turns a rock song into a country ballad with her performance, while Liz doesn’t quite bring the same amount of ferocity to her rendition that the original version had, though it goes over well with her teammates backstage.
Christina says that she has “a whole new appreciation for country” after having met Blake and Miranda, and picks Liz based on her song choice. Adam doesn’t like Gracia’s song choice, but sees a lot of potential in her anyway and says he’d select her. Cee Lo is skipped over this time. Blake admits he’s also confused by the song choice and that Liz has a better grasp on what she wants to do as an artist, which leads him to award the win to Liz. “Gracia, I think, is still searching for who she is as an artist,” he says afterward.
After that, it’s Rudy Parris and Terry McDermott, matching a pair of family men who are also rockers. Rudy’s song choice is a surprising one: Chris Brown’s “Forever.” Blake can’t really coach him on how to sing it, because it’s way out of Blake’s age range and genre. Terry sticks with classic rock, picking Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and does something every Voice artist should do: he asks questions, instead of just standing there and taking his coach’s feedback. “If you have any regret, it’s on a plane flying home,” he says, and he’s absolutely right.
The audience doesn’t quite seem to know what to make of Rudy singing a Chris Brown song, but he pulls it off. Before Terry starts singing, Adam says that he loves the song, which raises the bar for the performance immediately. But Terry has nothing to fear regardless: his knowledge of the track – he’s performed it before with his band – is obvious, as he makes it look easy. He’s got his teammates backstage bowing to him.
Christina tells Rudy that she wasn’t sure about his connection with the song he picked, and says “it’s Terry all the way.” Cee Lo compliments Rudy’s rendition, but also admires Terry’s stage presence and takes Terry as well. Adam tells Terry “crazy good” and also wants him. Blake talks again about one of his artists knowing what they want to do, and doesn’t think Rudy’s song choice played into his hands, selecting Terry. Terry was one of my early favorites in Season 3, and having watched his performances in both battles and now the knockouts, he remains at the top of my list as a contender. But will he have to branch out beyond his genre to win the popular vote?
Then it’s Collin McLoughlin against Michaela Paige. “They both have such great command of their tone and pitch,” Blake says in explaining why he put them together. Collin’s “a little sad to leave Team Adam” but glad he chose Blake as his new coach, and picks “Breakeven” by The Script (previously done by Xenia) as his song. Michaela continues her trend of rocking out, selecting the Pat Benatar classic “Love is a Battlefield,” which was tackled by Cee Lo and Vicci Martinez in Season 1.
Collin’s performance is basically the manifestation of everything he said in rehearsal: it shows a very clear direction for him creatively (not to mention very clear lyrics; he knows how to enunciate, which isn’t to be underappreciated). The question is if it will stand up against Michaela’s rock power.
Christina and Cee Lo prefer Michaela, while Adam is rooting for former Team Adam member Collin, and Blake sees both strengths and weaknesses in each performance. He ultimately chooses Michaela, who thanks Collin for pushing her “that much harder.” Collin grew on me very quickly after Adam selected him (his blind audition version of “Wild World” is probably the one song from Season 3 so far that I play the most), and I’m sorry to see him go, but hopefully this won’t be the last we hear of him.
Blake next pairs Julio Cesar Castillo with MarissaAnn, saying that “They’re both young and I need to know who’s got what it takes.” Julio picks another Justin Bieber song, “Somebody to Love,” and it’s not what he normally sings, so that makes him just that much more nervous. Blake coaches him to enunciate more. MarissaAnn goes with “Lady Marmalade,” and Blake helps her to keep the song’s “in your face” quality throughout.
Without getting any feedback from the other coaches, except for Christina reflecting on how her former team member did, Blake chooses Julio, saying that MarissaAnn didn’t do enough to sway him off of picking Julio.
The very last knockout match of Season 3 belongs to Cassadee Pope and Suzanna Choffel. Cassadee wants to do Maroon 5′s “Payphone,” which if you’re keeping score is the third time in three seasons someone on Team Blake has done a Maroon 5 song, after the team version of “This Love” in Season 1 and Raelynn’s take on “Wake Up Call” in Season 2. Blake’s concerned about Cassadee trying some new things with the song. Suzanna goes for Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved,” which she calls risky because it “doesn’t have a particular standout vocal moment.”
The in-studio cameras make sure to get plenty of looks at Adam while Cassadee performs, although she skips (or maybe had to skip, since she’s only got 90 seconds) an entire part of her chosen verse. Feedback begins with Christina, who loves Suzanna’s song choice (“What’s wrong with the other song choice?” Adam asks). Adam says he’d choose Cassadee, impressed with her take on his song. No one asks what Cee Lo thinks, so it’s decision time for Blake, who again points to song choice in making his decision before moving forward with Cassadee.
To recap, Team Blake’s Top 5 are Liz Davis, Terry McDermott, Michaela Paige, Julio Cesar Castillo and Cassadee Pope. Team Christina’s Top 5 are Devyn DeLoera, Adriana Louise, Dez Duron, De’Borah and Sylvia Yacoub. They’re joined by the previously announced artists from Teams Adam and Cee Lo to form Season 3′s Top 20.
If you missed any knockout round action, NBC is airing an encore presentation beginning at 8 PM ET/PT this Thursday, November 1. Starting next Monday, November 5, the Top 20 will be performing live for America’s vote, beginning six weeks of competition on the way to one of them being named “The Voice.” Who will you be voting for?
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.
Monday night begins the much talked-about new phase of The Voice – the “knockout rounds” – but don’t blink: they’re only one week long, and in those two episodes half the artists on the show will be going home while the other half advance to next week’s live shows. Who stays? Who goes? And how can all that fit into one week?
Here’s how it works: a coach’s entire team is brought back into the battle ring, at which point they choose two artists to match together, just like a battle. There are two major differences: now the artists perform individually, and they get to choose their song. After hearing both artists, their coach selects one to advance to live shows (which Carson Daly is now calling “playoffs”) and the other leaves the competition. There are no steals in the knockout rounds.
In part one, it’s Teams Adam and Cee Lo that find out their fates, with Team Adam the first squad to be pared down, while the non-performing members watch their teammates from backstage.
Adam starts by pairing Joselyn Rivera against Kayla Nevarez “because they’re both young pop singers.” Joselyn, who Adam stole from Christina, picks Beyonce’s “Love on Top” and Kayla goes with V.V. Brown’s “Shark In The Water.” After just snippets of rehearsal footage and very little introduction from Carson, it’s time for the ladies to sing, and both of them do well with their respective songs. There’s not much difference between them, either in sound or in performance, which makes Adam’s decision that much more difficult.
Thankfully, he has help from his fellow coaches. Blake thinks Kayla may have played things a little safer, and goes with Joselyn. Christina remarks that she’s happy to see Joselyn still in the competition, and compliments her. Cee Lo also sides with Joselyn for her grace and confidence. With that, it’s time for Adam to make up his mind, and he admires Joselyn’s ambitious song choice as well as Kayla’s poise. After much fretting, he selects Joselyn – and apologizes to an emotional Kayla. “It broke my heart to do that,” he reflects to camera afterward.
Adam next matches Joe Kirkland with Bryan Keith because “they both have very distinct rock ‘n’ roll voices.” Joe picks Taylor Swift’s “Mean” in an attempt to show his versatility, while Bryan selects a song by another Bryan – Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It For You).” Joe takes Adam’s note to inject more attitude into his rendition and runs with it, getting the audience up on their feet. On the complete other end of the spectrum, Bryan has the female members of said audience swooning as he injects a new energy into a vastly overplayed song.
Blake is pleasantly surprised that Joe took on a Taylor Swift song, while Christina likes both artists for different reasons, and Cee Lo admires Bryan’s “working-class hero type of quality.” After hearing from everyone else, Adam gives Bryan the pass into the next round, based on his ability to connect with an audience.
Adam’s third pairing is Amanda Brown against Michelle Brooks-Thompson, because he wants to see “who has more range as an artist.” Amanda’s song choice is “Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which we heard twice last season (courtesy of Brian Fuente and Ashley de la Rosa), and Michelle picks Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight.” Amanda’s in full diva mode once she starts singing, while Michelle has much more of a classic, soulful feel to her performance, not unlike Kim Yarbrough from Season 2, and hits a note that leaves Christina shaking her head in surprise.
Blake says “Michelle just kicked the door in on this thing.” Christina compliments Amanda’s voice control. Cee Lo believes Amanda has “infinite possibility” but calls Michelle the winner. Adam wonders aloud who he could be a better coach for, and apparently that’s Amanda, because he selects her to more forward. He then reflects that clearly he made the right steals, because both the artists he swiped – Joselyn and Amanda – are in his final five.
The fourth matchup is between Loren Allred and Nicole Nelson. Loren wants “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse, which Pip and Nathan Parrett killed in last season’s battles; Nicole goes for Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” which not only did we hear in Season 2 (Jesse Campbell and Anthony Evans), but Adam himself has performed (it’s a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Maroon 5′s 2010 album Hands All Over). Loren gives a good display of what she’d bring to the live shows, but Nicole has a certain confidence in her sound that’s also impressive.
Feedback time: Blake informs us that Loren “just became what we’re supposed to be looking for” and sides with her, while Christina wonders where Loren’s been, and Cee Lo calls Nicole’s voice “alive and it’s vibrant.” Adam realizes the battle was closer than he expected, and broods for a moment before he chooses Loren. His decision shocks everyone, including Adam himself. “I was pretty sure I was going to choose Nicole,” he explains. “Loren came out here and immediately took command…I’ve never seen that happen before.”
Team Adam’s final knockout pairing then is Melanie Martinez against Sam James. Melanie wants La Roux’s “Bulletproof” while Sam sings a favorite of mine, Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis” – except he’s got a hard time pronouncing the city in the title. Adam says that it sounds like “a very strange disease” when Sam says it. Melanie’s rendition is just as unique as all her previous performances, while Sam gets over that pronunciation flub and delivers a gritty version that would make Marc Cohn proud. He does justice to the song, but it’s a song that the Voice audience doesn’t quite seem to know.
Blake tells Adam that he’d pick Sam, Christina says that her personal preference goes to Melanie, and Cee Lo doesn’t get to give feedback on this one. Adam has picked up on Melanie’s nerves and wants Sam to get out of his comfort zone. Sam won’t have a chance to, though, because Melanie is the winner. “Melanie has this really unique voice,” Adam says, explaining why he chose her. It’s worth noting that Adam’s team is female-heavy this season, after his finalists from the first two cycles were both vastly talented guys (Javier Colon and Tony Lucca).
After a Team Adam group hug, the show moves on to Team Cee Lo. Cee Lo begins with Avery Wilson and Cody Belew, or his pair of “born entertainers.” Avery picks Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3X” as his knockout tune, but has an issue not running out of breath by the end of it. Cody picks Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” which Vicci Martinez crushed in Season 1, and while he doesn’t quite have the growl and desperation that she infused in it, he hits some pretty solid notes along the way.
Feedback from the coaches is a clean sweep. Adam calls Avery’s performance “a little all over the place,” and hands the win to Cody. Blake thinks Cody’s performance was the best he’s heard from him so far. Christina thinks Avery’s dance moves might have taken away from his singing. Cee Lo sides with his colleagues and keeps Cody, although he tells Avery to keep in touch with him. Hearing Avery say he “screwed up this one time,’ Christina says afterward that she hates hearing artists beat themselves up unnecessarily, and I agree with her completely.
Cee Lo next matches Mackenzie Bourg and Daniel Rosa, calling them both “emotional performers” and looking for the one who connects the most with both himself and the audience. Mackenzie takes on Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (the second time he’s sung a Carly Rae Jepsen song, following his battle round version of “Good Time,” her collaboration with Owl City), while Daniel opts for another Taylor Swift song, “Back to December.”
After a serviceable pair of renditions, Adam picks Daniel, Blake and Christina want Mackenzie, and Cee Lo tells Daniel “You are better than your performance today.” That’s not a good sign, and Cee Lo awards Mackenzie the win, ending Daniel’s second attempt on The Voice. “Don’t feel sad for me,” Daniel says in his parting comments. “I got the greatest opportunity.” Whether or not you liked his music, you have to respect how Daniel has conducted himself as a person throughout the competition.
Afterward, Adam quips that he liked how Cee Lo used the lyrics of the song in his explanation, calling that “badass,” and Cee Lo retorts that “I’ll call you from a payphone.”
Terisa Griffin – who’s broken her ankle since we saw her last – gets paired with Trevin Hunte, which Trevin calls “kind of crazy” since he looks up to Terisa. Cee Lo wants to match his “two powerhouses” and talks again about how the artist that connects more with the audience will win the knockout. Terisa admits that she felt a little out of place on Team Blake, and she’s excited to sing Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You,” which is a tall order. Trevin selects Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds,” which he wants to dedicate to that teacher who didn’t believe in him back in the day, but that stirs up emotions he has to deal with.
Terisa’s performance visibly impresses Adam, Christina and Trevin, while Trevin likewise gets Terisa and Christina’s approval, and brings Cee Lo to tears. Trevin and Terisa share a hug before the coaches give their feedback: Blake votes for Trevin, Christina says she’d love to “co-coach” Trevin with Cee Lo, and Adam doesn’t get asked what he thinks. It’s a very tough decision for Cee Lo, who keeps Trevin. Both artists express their love for each other after the battle, as Trevin gets choked up backstage.
Team Cee Lo’s fourth match is Mycle Wastman and Nicholas David, with their “soulful, smooth voices,” and again Cee Lo talks about bringing the one that gives “the most passionate performance.” Nicholas chooses Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” while Mycle opts for Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” which we haven’t heard since Jeff Jenkins and Casey Desmond in Season 1. Mycle wonders about Cee Lo telling him to take a “fierce” approach to an Elton John song, but goes with it. Once he’s in the ring, he’s got Adam singing along with him (as we learned in Season 1 that this is one of Adam’s favorite songs). Nicholas, on the other hand, has his teammates backstage grooving with his performance.
Blake thinks Nicholas is “special” and with “the perfect coach,” and chooses him. Christina thinks that Mycle allowed himself to open up to the audience more. Again, nobody asks what Adam thinks. Cee Lo thinks Mycle’s performance was “by numbers” and that “somebody could figure out what you do,” and goes with Nicholas.
By process of elimination, Caitlin Michele and Diego Val are paired together. Caitlin, stolen from Team Adam, picks Evanescence’s hit “Bring Me To Life,” which isn’t easy given Amy Lee’s phenomenal vocals in the original version. Diego’s choice is Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” which is also a tall order given how well Jamar Rogers performed it in Season 2. Both artists have their strengths and stumbles, but his more upbeat song choice seems to play in Diego’s favor, at least with the crowd.
Finally, Adam gets to give feedback again, and he calls the Evanescence song a perfect match for Caitlin. Christina says that she thought “oh, she sounds just like Evanescence” (perhaps not knowing Amy Lee by name). Blake gets to stay quiet this time. Cee Lo tells his artists that “neither one of your guys gave the best performance that you could do,” and awards the final spot on his team to Diego, while a tearful Caitlin hugs both her coaches goodbye. “I don’t know what the hell you were thinking,” Adam tells Cee Lo, but Christina says she gets it.
Half the field is now decided: Team Adam’s Top 5 are Joselyn Rivera, Bryan Keith, Amanda Brown, Loren Allred and Melanie Martinez. Team Cee Lo’s Top 5 are Cody Belew, Mackenzie Bourg, Trevin Hunte, Nicholas David and Diego Val.
This new round of competition does its job paring down the field, but it also shows that the pacing of The Voice still isn’t perfect. After two previous phases that sometimes were too long, now this is a part of the show that goes by so fast that the audience doesn’t get to really connect with it. There’s very little rehearsal footage and the performances are so quick that by the time viewers have thought on someone’s song choice, they’re singing, and by the time their rendition sinks in, the knockout is over. It would have been wiser to spread this phase over two weeks, at least.
But this appears to be an unfortunately unavoidable flaw in the schedule – unconfirmed rumors suggest that Season 3 will end the week of December 17, so there’s not another week to spare on the calendar (as then the show would run on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).
Tomorrow night (at the earlier time of 8 PM ET/PT!), the knockouts continue as another twenty artists will go home, and then the Top 20 will be revealed. What do you think of this new phase of competition so far? Would you bring it back for next season? Sound off in the comments.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.