Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"The Voice" Recap - Week Two - Blind Auditions (Monday)

“If you can touch us with the passion, the feeling, and emotion in the song that you are singing ... that’s going to make us want to push our button.”
-Christina Aguilera

This is what makes The Voice as great as it is. The coaches look beyond the technical when choosing contestants, because technique can be taught, but passion, feeling, and emotion comes from within. Only when these three important elements are combined with technique is a great artist born.

Week Two of the Blind Auditions continued last night on NBC with Round Three. As with last week, the coaches were very entertaining... Blake Shelton even brought out his “big guns” (his three trophies showing his wins from the past three seasons) to entice contestants to his team. Adding humor really does set The Voice apart from all other competition shows—in a very good way.

Team Adam grabbed Justin Blake and Preston Pohl. Both artists contribute some needed strength to Adam’s team. Justin took a huge risk by performing one of Blake Shelton’s songs (“Sure Be Cool if You Did”). Oddly, Shelton didn’t turn his chair, but Adam (and only Adam) did. Justin has a strong country voice with great pitch, and it should be interesting to see how a country singer does on Adam’s team. 
It is, however, Preston Pohl who puts Adam’s team in the running. Pohl’s strong, soulful sound combined with his wide vocal range and high energy turned three chairs and adds him to my favorites for the night.

Team Blake did not too bad last night—picking up Ray Boudreaux, Monika Leigh, and Cilla Chan. Ray’s 'Bluesy' vocals showed good tone but lacked a little in control and delivery. Monika Leigh turned three chairs with her soft voice and jazzy feel. Her voice was subtle, but her sound had a very natural power to it. It seemed as though she just opened her mouth and out came this wonderful sound. She will do well on Blake’s team. Cilla Chan didn’t get more than a minute or so of airtime last night, so I had to go to iTunes to listen to her performance. I kind of see why she didn’t get the airtime like the others. While her singing is technically sound and her pitch doesn’t falter, she seems to lack those three very important elements needed to make a star. There was no passion, no feeling, and no emotion. Her rendition of “Come and Get It” may have been technically great, but it just didn’t grab me. I sincerely hope she finds that passion and emotion to put into her songs, because she does have the vocals.

Team CeeLo added three artists to his roster last night. Anthony Paul, like Chan, didn’t get the airtime last night—pretty much for the same reasons. While his performance was technically okay, there was nothing there to move me. George Horga Jr. left his close Romanian family ties and headed to Hollywood to pursue music. I’m not sure if he will do well on the voice, but I think he will do extremely well in the business. He gives off a rather strong “boy-band” vibe, and his good looks and sensual vocals had the girls in the audience last night going wild. He may not win The Voice, but he will be just fine.
CeeLo scored huge when sixteen-year-old Juhi chose him for her coach. What came out of her when she started her performance was, for lack of a better word, stunning. Vocally, Juhi has a strong, mature, and unique quality. She has a little bit of jazz in her and a whole lot of fun. Her energy and charisma was more than enough to captivate her audience. It was odd that only two chairs turned for her, as she's tied for one of my top picks of last night.

Team Xtina scored the highest last night—picking up Jacob Poole, Lina Gaudenzi, Timyra-Joi, and Briana Cuoco. Jacob Poole, like Chen and Paul, didn’t get much airtime last night, and I’m not sure about Poole. Vocally he was alright, but the whole song was very flat. However, if anyone can show him how to get the range he needs, it will be Christina... we will see. Lina Gaudenzi has background training in both Classical Music and Opera, and I think a little of both seeped its way into her performance of “Landslide.” Many of her held notes seemed to flutter and took away from the quality of her vocals in this particular piece. Adding elements from one genre into another sometimes works, but it didn't this time. She is strong vocally, but needs to adapt to fit the song she's singing—sort of like how a jazz dancer needs to modify technique to successfully pull off a contemporary routine.
Timyra-Joi and Briana Cuoco were the star picks for Christina and my final two picks for the night. Timyra-Joi, a fifteen-year-old powerhouse turned three chairs. She’s been singing all her life and has had a vocal coach for the past ten years, which definitely shows. Her power, strength, control, and pitch were almost flawless. Honestly, her vocals go way beyond her age.
Briana Cuoco turned two chairs last night, which confused me. Her performance was absolutely solid... I was expecting all four to turn. She has a great rock tone and very powerful vocals. Her range goes beyond that of many artists, and when she hit the chorus of "You and I," her power came out in full force. She has the charisma and stage-presence to make it very far in the competition and in the music industry, which is why I can’t decide between her or Juhi as my top pick for last night... so for now, we’ll just leave it as a tie... I can have two!

On a side note... I didn’t want to talk about this, because in my view it has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the show or the competition, but I’m concerned there are going to be many others who don’t see it that way. Briana Cuoco, as I’m sure everyone knows, is Kaley Cuoco’s sister. I’ve already heard rumors circulating that The Voice was fixed so that Briana would be on the show. Honestly, that has to be the dumbest and most ignorant thing I’ve heard (I'm using ignorant with its true meaning). Do we need to define “Blind Auditions?” Did you see even the smallest flinch from any coach when she told them her name? No! Briana made it on her own merit, her own hard work, and her own talent... and she’s got a whole lot of talent. She should be proud, because she deserves it. She makes my top pick (well, tied for top pick) this week because of what she can do, not because of to whom she’s related—end of story! So I implore everyone out there watching The Voice to cheer for and to vote for whom you really like... and really think has that amazing talent and not a famous family member. I think I would be safe to say that Briana does not want votes because she’s Kaley’s sister. She wants the votes because you think she deserves them and because you like her voice. That's all!

Watch NBC tonight (Tuesday) for the 2nd part of Week Two's Blind Auditions, and then come back here tomorrow for my thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you don’t miss the weekly posts on what I see, hear, and think on The Voice.

Watch the voice every Monday and Tuesday on NBC! Check your local listings for times.
Go to nbc.com/the-voice for all the great info on the judges and artists. You can also find the links (for iTunes) to download the performances from each night.

Who caught your ear? Who’s your favorite? What do you think of the show? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or interact with me on Twitter and Facebook.

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