Countdown to ‘The Voice’ Season 4: What Have You Missed?

The Voice - Season 3We’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.

Episode Postmortem: Season 3 Live Shows, Night 7

The Voice Season 3 is now down to eight.

The NBC competition series narrowed down its field by cutting another two vocalists on Tuesday night. Those two were Team Adam’s Bryan Keith and Team Christina’s Sylvia Yacoub, who joined Big Red Chairs on the red carpet afterward to discuss their eliminations.

An emotional Sylvia, who put off attending law school for music, said she had no doubt it was the right decision for her. “It’s scary to put a stop on school to achieve your dreams and I’m really happy. I love music so much that I couldn’t let it go. I don’t regret anything. I’m so happy with everything I’ve done and gone through and how much I’ve grown,” she explained.

“There’s so many things I learned about myself that I never would’ve learned without this show, without meeting these people, without working with my coach. I realize that I can go out there and I have a voice and I can make a difference and I can use music to do that.”

Looking past the show, “I’m really excited to kind of go out now and put out my own music. I write music and I’m really lyric-loving and I love analyzing lyrics. You still want to go out and be an artist and create your own stuff,” she said, adding that fans should keep an eye on YouTube for more from her.

Even though it wasn’t enough to save her, Sylvia doesn’t regret a thing about her performance from Monday night: “I left it all out there and it was the first time I went on stage and didn’t let the nerves get to me,” she said.

You can continue to support Sylvia by following her on Twitter (@sylvsyacoub) and visiting her Facebook page (Facebook.com/SylvsYacoub).

Sylvia’s departure means that Team Christina has only one artist remaining in the competition: Dez Duron.

Team Adam lost its first member of the Top 12 this week, as America sent home Bryan Keith, who turned four chairs during his blind audition and had been a consistently strong performer throughout Season 3.

Like Sylvia, he had no regrets about the way in which he exited the show. “I went out doing something that I love. Singing a Billy Joel song was an honor,” he said. “I’m just happy. I’m going to go home and watch all the videos over again and just enjoy the memories of being here.”

What are some of those memories he’ll treasure from his time on The Voice? “Just everything behind the scenes with my friends, the people that I met,” he continued. “Everyone’s so talented. People that didn’t get to move on in the competition, they had way more to offer than they got to. Those are the things I hold onto the most.”

As for Bryan’s next moves, he told fans to “Just look out for any music I’m going to be putting out, the shows I’m going to be doing.”

You can continue to support Bryan by following him on Twitter (@BryanPeeps) and visiting his Facebook page (Facebook.com/BryanKeithNYC).

The results show featured a performance by Team Christina with their coach – which you can view using the media player attached to this article – as well as a performance by Team Adam with coach Adam Levine, a fan-selected number by Teams Blake and Christina, and a special appearance by country hitmakers Rascal Flatts, who also popped by the red carpet after the show.

What’s next for them? “Sleep’s going to be great,” said lead singer Gary LeVox. Added his bandmate Jay DeMarcus, “We’re actually going to do the CMT Artist of the Year Awards with Hayden Panettiere, and that’s going to be fun co-hosting with her, and then we’re coming back out here to Los Angeles to film our own Christmas special called Home for the Holidays with Rascal Flatts.” The special will air on CBS (specific airdate and time TBA).

The trio are also releasing a new DVD, All Access and Uncovered, that will give fans insight into what makes the long-running group tick. “It’s tough to be in a band. When you have three different guys with three different distinct points of view and opinions, it can be very, very tough,” continued Jay. “Part of what our DVD deals with is how we work out those conflicts and how we keep the band together and how we try to approach everything with mutual love and respect for each other.”

Rascal Flatts’ new CD, Changed, is now available.

The Voice continues Monday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Episode Postmortem: Season 3 Live Shows, Night 6

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!

For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Interviews: A Few Minutes with Season 3′s Terry McDermott, Devyn DeLoera, Bryan Keith, Daniel Rosa and Joe Kirkland

You know that they can sing – but who are these artists who make up the new class of The Voice? I recently talked with some the first performers to make it through blind auditions: Terry McDermott (Team Blake), Devyn DeLoera (Team Christina), Bryan Keith (Team Adam), Daniel Rosa (Team Cee Lo) and Joe Kirkland (Team Adam). Here’s a little more from each of them.

“The flight home was actually going through my mind,” admitted Terry (@TerryMacMusic), who was the first artist to make a team in Season 3, but it came down to the wire. “I think you kind of see it on the television I go for the last note on the track and I look up,  and at that point the last thing I’ve seen is that there are no chairs turned around. I’m like ‘Oh well, that’s it then. Free flight home leaving tomorrow.’ I finished the note and I looked down and there’s three chairs turned around. I’m like ‘Okay, I’ll just put the bags on hold then!’”

As for why he chose to join Team Blake? Chalk that up to “Blake’s approach – he’s very supportive and he’s very hands-on. I got that impression from watching the previous season. There’s a very encouraging atmosphere when he’s working with his artists, a very positive, nurturing sense. That really carried over with me. I wanted to embrace that, I wanted to grab that if I could.”

With a laugh, he added, “Plus my wife’s an enormous country music fan and has worked on converting me, so she would have been mad at me if I hadn’t gone with Blake!”

Speaking of fans, Devyn (@DevynDeLoera) spoke of how her coach, Christina Aguilera, was an influence on her and how she reflected that influence in her choice to perform Christina’s “Ain’t No Other Man” in her blind audition. “Christina has inspired me,” she explained. “She’s a very strong woman and she stands up for what she believes in. She’s a strong vocalist. And I think she’s a very admirable celebrity because she keeps her personal life personal and she does her business. That was really inspiring. I’ve always looked up to her since I was a little kid.

“And that’s a song off of my favorite album of hers. I chose that song because I figured she would either love me or hate me, but I was willing to take the risk in case she loved me.” Now that Devyn is a pround member of Team Christina, we know the answer to that question.

“I was watching the show and I was like ‘I don’t even remember half the things that happened,’ confessed Daniel (@DanielRosaMusic), who made The Voice history by being the first artist to be turned down in one season, then come back and make it to the blind auditions a second time. This time, he was luckier and made Team Cee Lo. Asked what he was thinking when he saw chairs turn around, he said “I completely forgot what I was singing at that point. After that, it was just memories from then on.”

He reiterated a point he made on the show Monday, which is that he has no hard feelings from his experience before – in fact, he saw it as something positive and took the coaches’ constructive criticism to heart. “The greatest thing that ever could have happened to me was to not make it on the show last season,” he explained. “I know that last season helped me so much to get here. I feel like a completely different person from last season, so I think that’s really going to help me through.” Would that we all could take rejection as well as Daniel did.

Having also faced rough times with his band, Artist vs. Poet, Team Adam’s Joe (@joekavp) agreed that sometimes the negative can become a blessing in disguise. “The industry is extremely, extremely cutthroat,” he said, “and it was honestly a very difficult time just because we honestly were given  everything. We were a favorite on the label, and once everything went down it was just like ‘Who are you again?’ It literally went from love to like nothing.

“It’s extremely, extremely ruthless, but being told no is probably the best thing that can happen to someone in their career, because it straightens you up and it makes you figure out what you need to do. That’s what happened to us and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

He also explained why he chose Adam as his coach: “I know a lot about his history; he actually used to not be a front man, and I kind of really enjoyed the thought of him helping me figure out how to exactly be that front man. He comes from the same music-style background that I do. I felt like he’s the one who could teach me the most, so it honestly seemed like a perfect fit.”

Joe’s teammate on Team Adam is Bryan Keith (@BryanPeeps), who was the first Season 3 artist to have all four coaches want him on their team. Of having the entire panel vying for his talent, he said, “I kept picturing it to happen that way and it happened that way. It felt like a dream really coming true  right in front of me. Watching it with my family and friends just really put things into perspective and made me feel like I reached my goal.

“We knew what we were getting ourselves into by joining the show. And we started to just realize that this is like us leaving our mark; this is our chance to go out there, and this could be our last shot and we would just go for it.”

It was Joe who reaffirmed a sentiment many, many artists have spoken when it comes to The Voice: that this isn’t like any other singing competition before or since. “I checked it out and I noticed that the show was more unique than any of the shows I’d seen because it actually kind of held true to us as artists; it didn’t really try to make us seem any different than what we really are,” he explained, “like they were very open to the fact that I was in a band and I was trying to lead that band, and they didn’t try and just make me who they thought I could be. [We're] all unique individual artists, and The Voice promotes that instead of tries to hide it.”

Stay tuned to see how Terry, Devyn, Daniel, Bryan and Joe develop on their respective teams – and find out who joins them when we resume Season 3 blind auditions next Monday, September 17 at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).  

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.