5 Soundbites From The Top 10

The Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blake Shelton Defends Holly Tucker On Twitter

The Voice - Season 4

Blake Shelton finally saw one of his singers sent home on this week’s The Voice elimination show. He also became the second coach to stir up some buzz in two weeks, as the country superstar had a few choice words for someone who made some unkind comments about the unlucky eliminee.

The Voice whittled its Top 6 down to the Top 5 on Tuesday night, and it was Holly Tucker, the Baylor marching band standout, who was sent home. Tucker was visibly upset when host Carson Daly revealed that America’s final save went not to her but to her teammates, The Swon Brothers.

Yet as emotional as she was, her reaction paled in comparison to Shelton’s Twitter speech after he caught wind of one blogger’s comments about Tucker late Tuesday night.

Houston Chronicle music critic Joey Guerra posted a link to his article regarding the results on Twitter, with the text “The Voice sends one singer back to Texas. Don’t worry, it’s not the one we care about.”

Whether it was that comment or the content of the article (or both) that irked Holly’s coach, we don’t know, but Shelton had some strong words for Guerra via his own Twitter account, some of which aren’t fit for print.

“It’s people like you that make me sick,” read Shelton’s first tweet of several on the subject. “Holly is not only a talented singer but a great person that’s simply chasing a dream.”

Later, he tweeted, “I swear to God I can’t understand the mentality of a grown man ripping on young kids over and over again for just trying their hardest. Kids!”

It’s not the first time that the Based on a True Story singer has stepped up to the plate to defend one of his The Voice singers. During season two, when teenage hopeful Raelynn was the subject of some rude remarks from another blogger, Shelton spoke out publicly to support her.

Shelton’s willingness to stand behind the singers on his team is a breath of fresh air in the often cynical entertainment business. It shows that he really does care about them, not just as reflections of him but for who they are as individuals, both on and off the show.

He also backs those words up with actions. As mentioned on-air this week, he keeps in touch with many of his former team members, including season one’s Xenia and season three’s Cassadee Pope, who performed on The Voice Tuesday night. Season two Team Blake member Gwen Sebastian is now one of Shelton’s backup singers and has toured with him almost since her departure from the competition.

While he might be on the verge of winning his third straight Voice title, what’s more impressive is that Shelton’s principles are everything America should want from a reality-competition coach: one who treats their artists as artists, not just TV acts, and who is there for them even when the cameras aren’t rolling. He understands that for these singers, it’s not just entertainment, but it’s them putting their real selves and career hopes out on display for a national audience.

He’s not the only coach on The Voice who’s emotionally invested in their performers. Last week, Adam Levine’s emotional reaction to the loss of two artists set off a controversy, as well. Given that, it might not have been the best time for Shelton to speak out so vehemently, but it’s understandable that he’d be protective of an artist he’s worked with for months.

What do you think of Shelton’s reaction? Do you believe reality-show judges should be more supportive of their artists? Should we hold critics and bloggers as responsible for their comments as we do celebrities? Sound off with your thoughts below.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.

Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 27-28

Little belated this week with end-of-month craziness, but here we are!




Are We In For A Team Blake Three-Peat?

The Voice - Season 4

Could Blake Shelton three-peat on The Voice?

It certainly looks that way after this week’s results eliminated his biggest competition, and left all the show’s other coaches – Adam Levine, Shakira and Usher – each with only one artist to pin their hopes on.

Team Adam’s Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons, who both turned four chairs in their blind auditions and were each considered possible winners, were sent home on Tuesday. Their exits mean that the only Team Adam singer left is Amber Carrington. Amber is actually a country artist, as Blake has mentioned several times on the show, including this week.

Shakira has only Sasha Allen and Usher is counting on just Michelle Chamuel.

Meanwhile, Blake has all three of the acts he brought to the Top 10 – Danielle Bradbery, Holly Tucker and The Swon Brothers. If you’re doing the math, that means there’s a 50% chance that a Team Blake artist will be the new Voice champion, with each of the other three coaches having a just slightly better than 16% shot.

Danielle has long been considered another favorite, and with Judith’s departure, becomes the new best bet. This week, she was again referred to as a potential huge star in country music following her performance of The Judds’ song “Grandpa.”

Since two artists are dropped from the show each week, the worst-case scenario is that The Voice sees two of its coaches taken out of contention in the same night. It wouldn’t be unheard of: last season’s finale was also Team Blake-heavy, with two of the three finalists being from that group.

If one of Team Blake’s three artists does in fact earn the season title, it will be the third time in four seasons that the country music star has been The Voice‘s winning coach. He led Cassadee Pope to victory last December and before that, Jermaine Paul won last May. (The show’s first winner, Javier Colon, was from Team Adam.)

However, it’s worth noting that audiences haven’t yet seen how Blake’s picks perform in the music industry. Cassadee Pope signed her record deal and has been on tour with Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry, but is still working on post-show music. As for Jermaine Paul, he’s released only two singles since being crowned the champ, and one was a cover. His album “Finally” still doesn’t have a definite release date.

Fans will find out if anyone can stop Team Blake when The Voice continues next Monday. In the meantime, you can join Blake, Usher and a slew of other musical guests including Reba McEntire and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder as NBC broadcasts Blake’s “Healing the Heartland” concert to benefit disaster victims in Oklahoma. The special will air tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on NBC and several NBCUniversal cable channels.

(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.

‘The Voice’ Celebrates Memorial Day

The Voice - Season 4

The Voice’s latest performance show fell on Memorial Day, but being on a TV show didn’t stop the singers from recognizing the holiday.

Some of the Top 8 artists said the occasion lent an extra significance to their performances. Others recognized loved ones who had served or who are serving. All of them agreed that they were happy to have taken the stage.

“The show must go on, isn’t that what they always say?” Team Adam’s Amber Carrington told TODAY.com after Monday night’s performances. “But I think it was really cool, because we got to sing and it was in memory of our troops and everything. We got to put on a show for people.”

“It was kind of interesting,” agreed her teammate, Judith Hill. “It was really cool to know that today’s Memorial Day and sing with that in mind.”

“There’s always that thought in our heads of ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s another week. We have to survive. We have to practice. We have to do all this.’ But [we were] able to get a little bit away from that today,” said Team Blake’s Holly Tucker, “and really remember all the sacrifices that people have made for us. I’m always thankful for that. So I made sure that people knew that today.”

She has several relatives who have served. So did both Amber and Judith’s grandfathers. Team Adam’s Sarah Simmons got emotional as she mentioned loved ones currently in the military.

“My cousin is in the Air Force and then one of my best friends is about to go to Afghanistan soon,” she told us, wiping tears from her eyes.

Yet as Team Blake’s The Swon Brothers pointed out, being a musician often means working on all sorts of holidays. “More than likely – judging by our past schedule – if we were at home, we’d be performing somewhere,” said Zach Swon.

Team Usher’s Michelle Chamuel agreed. “I’ve been in a band before [the show] for five years,” she explained. “We played almost every holiday. New Year’s Eve, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Halloween.”

For those observing Memorial Day who still decided to tune in, the Voice artists expressed a desire to have brought something positive to a national day of remembrance.

“I hope that it could bring joy to people. I know we’re supposed to be celebrating our troops and our country. There are more important things than a singing competition show,” said Team Shakira’s Sasha Allen. “I don’t have any family members who’ve served, but I take it to heart, all the soldiers that have lost their lives for our freedom.”

(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.

Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 20-21

Coverage for May 20-21:




Meet Team Blake’s Holly Tucker

The Voice - Season 4

Blake Shelton has his dream team on The Voice this season: a final three loaded completely with country artists. BFTV recently caught up with one of those artists, Baylor marching band star Holly Tucker, to get to know her better.

“I always expected big things because I’ve seen the show on TV and it just looks larger than life,” Holly said of her Voice experience so far. “That’s exactly what I got and more.”

Speaking of big things, America has watched Holly blow the doors off the Voice studio with her powerful performances of LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live” and Martina McBride’s “Broken Wing.” How does she prepare her voice to be able to hit such amazing notes every time she takes the stage? “It takes a lot of warm-up,” she explained. “You just have to sing scales and make your voice be able to hit those notes with ease. And breathing. Breathing is very important.”

Breathing is something that Holly has learned to do over her time on The Voice. Her coach has pointed out to her that she is sometimes too hard on herself, and that he wants to see her have more fun. Now that America has voted her through into the Top 12 and later the Top 10, it’s given her more confidence in herself.

“I feel incredible,” she said. “Just being able to go up there and feel so strong and so confident. I should’ve been feeling this way the whole time. And now I finally feel like I’ve grown into the [belief] that I deserve to be here and it’s a really good feeling.

“Getting that validation from America, as well as my coach, is the best feeling in the world.”

Has that affirmation meant that she’s stopped being so self-critical? “I do feel like I’m getting there,” Holly continued. “When I start to do that, I just think to myself, ‘Holly, back up. You’re fine. It’s okay to be imperfect sometimes. It’s all right.'”

Whereas many artists on The Voice go out and find new identities through the course of competition, she has decided that she’s already found the genre she wants to remain in. “I want to stick to country,” she explained. “Even if I may go out and experiment with some other genres, I’m always going to be country and I love my country fans. That’s just who I am.”

No matter what happens, to her, being on the show has paid off. “I already feel like a winner,” she said, “because I’ve gotten to learn so much throughout this experience and have Blake coach me and teach me everything he knows. Of course I want to move forward, but I will never count this as anything I regret.”

Although she’s now facing the best of the competition, Holly isn’t dwelling too much on if or when she might go home. “No point in worrying. That’s what I say,” she told us. “America is going to vote on what they like, and what happens happens, and it happens for a reason.”

Holly performs for your vote tonight as The Voice continues at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. You can also watch her and all of Team Blake rocking out on “Play Something Country” with this article.

(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.


Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 13-14

Coverage for May 13 and 14:




Episode Recap: Season 4 Live Playoffs, Night 2

The Voice - Season 4

After Team Adam and Team Usher performed on last night’s The Voice, it’s time for Team Blake and Team Shakira. Blake is overjoyed that he has a team of all country artists, restating his dream of bringing a country artist to the grand finale. Shakira, on the other hand, is nervous and comparing herself to a mama bird. Usher and Adam are asked to reflect on how their teams did the night before, and dole out the usual amount of praise, as if Carson expects that one of them is going to go on live television and say something negative about their artists.

Team Blake starts the show, with a clip package of them getting coaching at a karaoke bar. Being taken to a karaoke bar by Blake Shelton has to be one of the most awesome experiences on the planet. Performances of party songs ensue, with the most entertaining of them being Danielle Bradbery laughing her way through “YMCA.” This segues right into Team Blake’s group performance of “Boondocks.” Such a Blake choice, and it sounds exactly like you’d expect it to.

Leading off the individual songs is Team Shakira’s second-chance artist, Garrett Gardner. Shakira has asked him to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” – an iconic tune if there ever was one – and play the piano. Turns out that Garrett is a Lennon “fanatic,” so that must add a little pressure for him, too. However, he’s got nothing to worry about. His version is pretty darn fantastic, and if he can pass muster with Adam, who is a well-known admirer of that track, he should get through to the next round. On another note, Usher confuses the words “computer” and “piano.”

Usher: I’m happy to see you at a computer…I’m happy to see you at a piano.

Following Garrett is Team Blake’s Holly Tucker, with “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes, best known as the closing theme from the 1997 Nicolas Cage-John Cusack flick Con Air. Blake wants to see her have more fun because she’s so hard on herself. If you’ve ever heard the original version of this song, Holly has the power to give the track the push that it needs. It’s a straightforward country ballad done by a straightforward country artist, and Blake is way too excited about it.

Carson: He’s a proud papa…and he’s been drinking.

In the middle of uniform applause for Holly, there’s this lovely gem:

Adam: You’re better looking and more talented than Blake is.

Blake’s so happy, he applauds that, too. Maybe we should cut off his supply of Starbucks lattes but that probably wouldn’t help much. Moving on, it’s Team Shakira’s Kris Thomas. Shakira has assigned him Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” (there’s a lot of Bruno Mars love on the show this season). The two of them sing part of the song together during rehearsal, which throws Kris for an understandable loop. His performance is solid, if a bit nervous, as Adam points out. Blake points out that people should be nervous under these circumstances. Going on to try and describe the difference between male and female singers, he then makes Carson wish they weren’t on live TV.

Carson: It’s clear tonight Blake doesn’t know what a ‘girl place’ is. Thanks for that.

Kris is continuing to work hard every week, and there’s no huge fault with anything he’s done so far. If there’s a question about him, it’s if he might run into some trouble later on in the competition, when he could up splitting the R&B vote with Vedo.

Next to perform are the show’s only remaining duo, Team Blake’s The Swon Brothers. Their take on Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishing in the Dark” is the usual good time we’ve come to expect from them. Shakira points out how they make her feel at ease and comfortable. Adam is happy that Blake finally has his country moment, and then mentions that an instrument was out of tune. Blake laughs at Adam for not knowing the song, which is ill-advised, as Adam points out in his retort:

Adam: You never know any songs ever. The first song I didn’t know. Leave me alone.

After more Sprint Skybox chatter, Blake and Shakira combine for Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” You wouldn’t expect a Latin superstar to handle a country song so well, but she does. Even though she has a noticeable accent, Shakira enunciates the lyrics better than some American singers out there. Blake, of course, could probably perform this song while asleep. As an added bonus, you can even see Usher clapping and singing along. If you missed that duet, it’s at the end of this recap.

Team Shakira’s Karina Iglesias has to follow that, with her version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Hearing that, Adam is disappointed that he let her go. Blake laughs at Adam admitting to his mistake. Everyone thinks Karina did well. Following her is Team Blake’s Justin Rivers, whom Blake has handed Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle.” Usher believes Justin’s performance was cool even though he felt like he was the only person who didn’t know what was going on. Then there’s Adam.

Adam: I like that there’s a country artist that’s genuinely a threat to Blake’s career. That’s kinda awesome.

Shakira takes her team to meet with her choreographer in order to prepare for their performance of “We Are The Champions.” They’re going to have to work hard because the song was already covered well, first by the coaches and then by Season 2’s Tony Vincent. No one can deny they’re trying, but it’s just not the fist-pumping rock anthem this particular song should always be.

NBC has wisely saved two of the stronger artists to the end of the show. The first is Team Blake’s Danielle Bradbery, with the Pam Tillis song “Maybe It Was Memphis,” which Blake correctly predicts a lot of peole won’t know.  Those people certainly know the song now as Danielle continues to perform like someone a lot older and more experienced than she is. After Adam jokes that Blake has never said any wise words, he crowns Danielle one of the best singers in the competition, and reminds us all that she’s just sixteen years old. We can now all look back on what we were doing at sixteen and feel inadequate.

Finishing off the night is Team Shakira’s Sasha Allen, with “Oh! Darling.” Juliet Simms pretty much delivered the definitive version of this song in Season 2, but Sasha hits some crazy notes in her version. Adam suggests she could win the show if she were on Carson’s team. Blake laughs at Adam again and continues to do so up until the point where Shakira starts talking. It’s clear that Sasha has won over the coaches, and she probably made a few new fans, too.

You can vote to save your favorites from Team Blake and Team Shakira until tomorrow morning (voting has closed for Team Adam and Team Blake) on nbc.com, Facebook, and iTunes. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to tune in to a special results show tomorrow night, when four artists will be sent home, leaving your Top 12.

(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.