5 Soundbites From The Top 3

The Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Soundbites From The Top 5

The Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Soundbites From The Top 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.

Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher Talk Before The Playoffs

The Voice

Live playoffs for The Voice are just two weeks away – and so BFTV snagged a few quick words with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira about potential changes in their strategies, what they’ve learned from being coaches, and who might stick around for this fall’s Season 7.

While you’re watching tonight’s battle rounds, know that yes, they really are as agonizing as they look on TV. “That’s the worst part of the job,” Blake told us. “Anything that’s in between the blinds and the live shows sucks for coaches, because the first thing we do is beg these people to pick us and be on our teams. Then we kick half of them out, [and] then we kick half of them out again.”

Ultimately, sometimes picking a winner is less scientific and more relying on gut instinct. “That’s really what it comes down to,” he continued. “Because everybody did great. There were just great performances across the board, and you kind of just go, ‘Out of these five, [which] three do I think have the best chance of winning this thing?'”

What kind of strategy changes do the coaches foresee going into the live playoffs? “I just look at everything he’s doing and I try not to do it,” quipped Adam.

“Which is why he hasn’t won as many times as I have,” retorted Blake.

“I’ve only won one less time than you have,” replied Adam, “and I told you, I’m going to win this one again.”

The million-dollar question, though, is less who will win Season 6 and more who will still be around for Season 7, which begins shooting in the fall. With Pharrell Williams having been announced as the replacement for the exiting Cee Lo Green, we asked Adam and Blake if they intend on keeping their big red chairs for at least one more cycle. Neither of them are sure quite yet.

“There’s definitely going to be a Season 7,” Adam told us. “Whether or not I’ll be on it, I’ll have to check my schedule.”

“I hope to be,” said Blake. “I hope to hell I am.”

We asked Shakira and Usher, who are completing their second season coaching, what they’ve learned so far from the experience. “So much,” she told us, giving a special mention to her team’s advisor. “I was able to bring Miranda Lambert as a mentor, and that was an extraordinary process of [being able] to observe her and to kind of learn from her. She’s an amazing artist. That’s one example of the many things I’ve learned being at The Voice. And also learning about myself through [the singers] and through their own process.”

“This has become routine in a lot of ways. and for us we’re kind of re-living all of what the passion of being an artist is about,” added Usher. “That’s what I learn or am actually just reminded of. Like ‘Man, I remember the first time the lightbukb went off in dealing with a certain thing or a certain hurdle I had to jump over.’ And helping them find it.”

For all the Voice coaches, the bottom line is making a difference in the lives of the artists that they’re working with. “I’m going to be supporting my team a hundred percent,” said Shakira. “Just doing it in every possible way. Psychologically, morally, nourishing them and nurturing them from a human standpoint.

“But also artistically, I hope to be able to share with them everything I’ve learned over the years, and contribute in some kind of way to the lives of artists and to their careers, so they can continue and pursue their own goals and dreams regardless of what happens.”

The Voice continues season 6 tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. For more on the show, you can also check out our editorial on why The Voice can’t afford to lose Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Stay tuned tomorrow as well, as host and producer Carson Daly gives us his input on the show’s growth and development.

(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.

It’s Official: Christina and Cee Lo Out, Shakira and Usher In

The wild speculation is over just about as quickly as it began: as we all figured awhile ago, The Voice‘s original foursome will not all be back in Spring 2013 for Season 4.

Via press release from NBC, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green “will take the cycle off to fulfill other commitments before returning next year.” Their replacements will be Shakira and Usher.

Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will keep their big red chairs for at least one more season.

It’s worth noting that both Christina and Cee Lo are quoted in the press release as saying they’ll be back, with Cee Lo point-blank saying “I will return for season five,” which would be in Fall 2013. I also like the below quote from Christina, because it says what many of us have brought up since the idea of a year-round show was pitched:

Since this year NBC and The Voice have decided to tape back-to-back seasons, requiring a full-year commitment, it is important for me to take season four off, allowing me to support my music that my fans have been waiting for.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Christina as a coach, I don’t think anyone can argue with her logic. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see Adam and/or Blake take Season 5 off, given that they’ve expressed the exact same desire. (I’m actually surprised that Adam is staying, given his tour commitments with Maroon 5.)

The important thing is that – although plans can certainly change – right now it looks like we’ll have the original fab four back in the fall of next year. That’s certainly something they didn’t have to do, and I think it speaks to their commitment to the show and to helping new talent.

How do you think a Christina-less, Cee Lo-less, Shakira-and-Usher-plus Voice will pan out?