5 Soundbites From The Top 5

The Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carson Daly Dishes On Season 6

The Voice

Whenever we need an answer about The Voice, we can always go to Carson Daly. The show’s host – and one of its producers – has served as the link between the hit singing competition and its audience, explaining the various changes and listening to our questions and concerns. So when we found Carson at The Voice‘s red carpet Thursday, we welcomed the chance to ask him about the alterations in Season 6 and how the Emmy-winning series has evolved over the last three years.

First, about replacing the knockout rounds with a second set of battle rounds. “We loved it,” Carson told us. “I think it was a little simpler, a little cleaner. People understand what the battles are. The competitive factor of bringing two people together to sing one song, but to share it also, that dynamic of competing but sharing works well. So to have people advance, and then it’s like a playoff system. You get even better people in the second round of that. I think that was a smart thing to do.”

For those of you disappointed in the change eliminating the one part of the show where the competing artists get to choose their own songs, don’t lose hope. He told us that’s still a part of the process. “You’ll see that, yes,” he said. “[In the] playoffs, they do that.”

Making alterations has become a regular happening when it comes to The Voice; producers have shown that they are willing to introduce changes each season, and just as quickly discard those changes the following season. The result is a show that is ever-evolving, rather than its counterparts whose structures stay mostly the same. “I think we continue to just make small choices that reap benefits,” Carson reflected.

“Usher and Shakira are back, and they’re stronger in their chairs than they were [in] Season 4. We learn a little more about editing. More and more people who want to make good music finally have the courage to try out for the show. Every time we all get together to make a new season, it’s just a little bit better.”

What does he think has made this reality show rise to the top of a hugely competitive field? “We just felt like we had something different to offer,” he said. “And we attracted great talent right off the bat. When it was going away [in Season 3], we created the Steal. That was something that we tweaked. We always tweak the format a little bit to try and make it better.”

We also asked Carson about one of the biggest parts of his on-camera duties – working with the artists and their families, particularly during the blind auditions, where you can see him in the room with each contestant’s loved ones while they perform for the superstar coaches. He really does care about these folks, and so it’s not easy when someone doesn’t get a chair to turn around. “My heart breaks,” he told us, adding that “I want these people who come here to have a good experience. But equally, when someone gets a button, that’s why you see me [so excited].”

Carson’s not afraid to say that there have been instances where he disagrees with some of the biggest names in music. “I’ve said it on camera. They usually cut it out,” he revealed. “As a producer of this show, I’m in like the executive rooms where I know who’s been invited. And we try and put some of the best singers in front of our coaches. So I walk in knowing we’ve got a good group.

“And there are times in that two minutes [of their audition] where people clam up, get nervous and they don’t get a chair to turn. I know they had an off day. And I’m just like ‘Oh, man.’ And I’ll tell them, they come in the room and I’m like ‘You know what, honestly, I think they got it wrong.’ I don’t think the coaches always get it right. That’s part of the show.

“But,” he added with a smile, “those people come back.”

The Voice playoffs begin tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC, with the live playoffs starting on Monday, April 21. For more on Carson, be sure you’re following him on Twitter (@CarsonDaly).

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

Interviews From Last Night: Blake Shelton and Cole Vosbury

The Voice - Season 5

TODAY.com has some words from Blake and Cole on Team Blake’s elimination last night. Click here to read my interview, which also features some soundbites from Christina Aguilera and Carson Daly. This one’s missing some pretty interesting stuff that I did not have the space to run, so stay tuned as I’m trying to find somewhere to post that right now. And of course, I have a great chat with James Wolpert as well, but I’m holding on to that in order to do a separate article either later this week or early next week. Just depends on schedule.

Carson Daly: ‘The Voice’ Master of Ceremonies

The Voice - Season 5

With all the attention we give to The Voice‘s coaches, it’s important not to overlook the person who keeps the show on course: host and producer Carson Daly.

Quite simply, the show wouldn’t be the same without Carson, who reminds us on a weekly basis that hosting is a whole lot more than reading off a TelePrompter into a microphone. It’s his job to keep the show on target and on time, no matter what. We’re not just talking when one of the coaches goes off on a tangent during their comments; this is the guy who steered the ship during triple-digit heat with no air conditioning.

And it’s Carson who essentially serves as the bridge between the audience and the competition. He has to make sure America understands everything that’s happening each week. He’s the one who explained that voting snafu that took place in Season 4. And while we’re still not sure about this Instant Save thing, when we had questions, it was Carson who took the time to explain the concept to us.

Frankly, we don’t think that Carson gets enough credit for how much he gives to The Voice. And that’s probably because most of what he does, you never see. In addition to his hosting duties, he serves as a producer on the show. He’s incredibly supportive of the artists and their families; sometimes, he’s almost as excited about someone’s blind audition as their loved ones are. He’s got a kind word for everyone, including those of us who aren’t part of the production. Come to a taping and watch him interact with everyone, and you’ll see that he really gives a damn.

Something else that sets him apart are his credentials. After the success of MTV’s Total Request Live, with more than a decade of Last Call With Carson Daly under his belt, plus his radio show and his new hosting gig on NBC’s Today, Carson doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. We know he’s an experienced host, as well as someone who knows and is genuinely passionate about music.

Just watch an episode of Last Call. Carson puts his money where his mouth is. He actively works to support new music, including artists he’s worked with on The Voice, like Tony Lucca and Angie Johnson, just to name two. Nobody asks him to continue his relationship with them after the show; that’s something he chooses to do. Will that continue with the artists from Season 5?

“Yes. I hope so,” he said during our interview on Tuesday. “For Last Call, I mean it’s a show that’s on in the middle of the night, but for the faithful few that watch it, one of the things we try and do is shine a light on new music. We love to do that kind of thing and The Voice has become a great additive to that where I can look at people like Kat Robichaud and Austin Jenckes, who went home tonight, and maybe those are people that I can help on Last Call.”

So he’s a lot more than just the host of The Voice. He’s a producer, too. He’s a support for the artists, their families, and even the fans. He’s the guy that stepped up and defended Season 1’s performers during a Television Critics Association panel when a reporter tried to say they weren’t successful. The artists are the focus, the coaches might be the stars, but it’s Carson Daly who serves as the rock of The Voice.

If you really want to know why we love Carson, just listen to what he had to say when we asked him if The Voice had raised his profile at all. “Who cares?” he told us. “I don’t do it for [that]. I have two kids and a woman that I love. I’m just trying to pay my mortgage and spend time with my kids. I don’t care about me at all. My job is to make this show run on time and I get paid to do a job and I do my job, and the less about me, the better.”

He might not want the extra attention, but we’re going to give it to him anyway, because he deserves the praise. Here’s to hoping Carson sticks with The Voice for a long time to come.

The Voice continues its fifth season tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. You can also keep up with Carson Daly by following him on Twitter (@CarsonDaly).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Interviews From Last Night: Carson Daly

The Voice - Season 5

It’s finally here, folks: I took your concerns about the Instant Save to our very own Carson Daly, and he was kind enough to answer those questions for me in my latest TODAY.com interview. Click here to read Carson’s comments on the Instant Save, as well as the opinions of some of Season 5’s artists on the new concept. Do Carson’s thoughts change your views on the Instant Save at all? Now that you’ve seen it in action, do you want to see it continue?

Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 13-14

Coverage for May 13 and 14:

Recap

Interviews

News