Thoughts on The Voice: Audition Round 2

February 6, 2012

Image from technotheory at Flickr, used under Creative Commons

Voice Coaches – “Prince Medley”
Well, Blake’s credibility as a voice coach is suspect – he mumbled his way through “1999.” Cee Lo lacked the energy he usually provides to his live performances on “Little Red Corvette.” Adam nails the Prince falsetto but fails the diction. Christina gets the last note and shows why she’s the most powerful singer on that stage. As the show starts up, I feel like I’m getting psyched up for a game of NBA 2K12. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

-Dammit Blake Shelton, don’t accuse Christina Aguilera of luring contestants with “flash and boobs,” lest you remind America that you were the asshole judge last season.

-I wonder how long Carson Daly’s enthusiasm will last. By the second voting episode last season, his professional courtesy gave way to subliminal contempt for the contestants, the guest performers, and the whole show in general.

-Oh goody, another vocal duo. At least The Line’s relationship is less lovey-dovey and more like that of The White Stripes – an ex-couple who kept on working together professionally. I still feel like using the duo dynamic to harmonize for a fuller sound is cheating. If either one of those singers went up alone, they would have been passed on like the Atlas Shrugged movie. To their credit, they seem more genuine than last year’s Elenowen or Tori and Taylor Thompson.

-Speaking of The White Stripes….Jamar Rodgers is the first contestant to successfully perform a song I like, injecting it with enough Cee Lo-esque wooooooaaaaahhhhs to make it unique. I’m not a fan of sob stories, but he quickly shot to the top of my list. Also props for namedropping Cee Lo’s Dungeon Family past with Goodie Mob. Nice run, dude!

-At first, Neal Middleton looks like another long-haired Bo Bice lookalike, but check out his top hat – it has gears! Does this guy do steampunk? He certainly does CCR, nailing their version of “Heard It Though The Grapevine” with growl and control. He wasn’t pitchy. He kept his vocal strength up. He was like a male Beverly McClellan, or at least a baby Nakia. Yet no chairs turn for him? Bad call, coaches!

-Gwen Sebastian goes the sparse route. Her voice is shaky as hell, but she pulls it together to get a few chair turns. She seems quite skilled at working the contour of her voice, but I just don’t care for the sound of it. If she goes far I hope she learns to enrich her delivery. I also hope that piano that played during her speech was added in after the fact. Cee Lo’s reaction to Gwen’s choice of Blake was pure “Well played, Mr. Bond, but let’s how confident you are when you meet my associate Mr. Jaws. Seize him, men!”

-Pamela Rose needs to enunciate. And sing in the right key. And pick a more fun song. Based on Adam and Cee Lo’s comments, photogenic contestants like her are the reason why we have the blind auditions. I’m happy sure she’s “Already Gone.” (Ba-dum-bish!)

-I wonder what kind of singing Kim Yarbrough did back in the day. Disco? Gospel? Genre aside, she’s talented enough to overcome a choking house band and some finicky coaches to show her potential as a blaster, which is right in Christina’s zone. So it’s a pity that she goes with Adam, since she would have made The Line look like a couple of tools in the battle rounds.

-The third fun song of the night comes from Air Force vet Angie Johnson. Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” is one of Kathy and my favorite songs to play in Rock Band, and Angie destroyed it. Cee Lo’s pick was a lock, especially after his and Vicci Martinez’s Mad Max rendition of “Love Is A Battlefield” last season. This could be a good match. I’m getting excited.

-Dez Duron takes it back to the boy band era with his slick looks and performance of “I Want It That Way.” Too bad if he were to join the Backstreet Boys, he’d be second string for Howie at best. Was he sucking helium to take the edge off before he went onstage? You’re too damn nasal, bro! Another posterchild for the blind auditions!

-Lindsey Pavao seems to be going for the soft Dia Frampton tip, but she cannot sing quietly without devolving into Mush Mouth Syndrome. It’s a good thing she can belt. Props for doing a Trey Songz track in a way that I couldn’t immediately recognize.

-Poor Hoja Lopez. Her delivery just wasn’t there. She also picked “Teenage Dream,” which being from the house that Max Martin and Dr. Luke built, uses vocal processing to enhance otherwise mediocre vocals. Maybe if she picked a more natural-sounding song? It got really sad when it became clear that no one was going to turn and she started to pull away. Here’s hoping she gets more confidence to come back next season.

-I want Jermaine Paul to keep things bouncy and upbeat. Having come up under the wing of Alicia Keys, he certainly has the chops to bring down the house twice a week. One cool thing he did during the coach negotiations was ask who would keep him through the battle rounds. It was an empty gesture, but it still showed that he was thinking. Until he went with conservative ol’ Blake. I predict a battle round elimination.

-Cue the waterworks! Angel Taylor’s singing “Someone Like You.” While it’s not my favorite Adele song, Angel nails the tune note for note, which is pretty damn hard to do. If she picks more interesting or fun songs, she’ll go way up in my book.

And now a summary of tonight’s winners, in the order they were announced:
-Duos are cheating!
-Alternative soul do-gooder
-Shaky shaky country histrionics
-Master blaster
-Rock N Roll special ops
-Her knowledge exceeds her pipes
-Great execution, bad priorities
-Otherwise nondescript damn good Adele impersonator

My condolences to Steampunk Bo Bice. Here’s hoping the coaches are as picky as they were last season and he gets another shot.


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