Mixing Old Fashioneds
The Voice Finale Recap
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It’s been a short ten week run for The Voice, and while some of the mechanisms of competition could use some tweaking going into the next season, it has actually been a fun little show with genuinely talented performers. As I said in my inaugural recap, I’d never watched a singing competition show before, but I’ll be coming back to The Voice come January.
The Final Performances
The coaches kick off the show by performing Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” as a tribute to the four remaining contestants’ hard work. Carson says the coaches just decided to do this tribute song, and it certainly sounds like they rehearsed for a scant five minutes. On this last performance show, the finalists, Beverly McClellan, Dia Frampton, Javier Colon, and Vicci Martinez, will each sing an original song and a duet with their coaches. Then it is up to the voters to pick The Voice...if they can get through.
Before the performances, Carson asks the finalists some earth shattering questions such as “how are you feeling” and “are you nervous”. Hard hitting journalism there, Carson. I’m sure Anderson Cooper is shaking in his boots. He then elicits the same sort of platitudes from the judges while the performers get ready for their songs.
After all that filler, Javier is up first with his original song SIXTEEN minutes into the broadcast. No wait, Carson first is pimping the top eight tour, then it’s a bit of back story on Javier’s original song. He’s singing a song called “Stitch by Stitch”; it’s a slow tempo starting song, and it’s okay, but unlike what Adam said, it doesn’t seem like something I’d sing along with in the car. It also violates one of my big pet peeves of rhyming “okay” with “me” by singing “me” as “may”. Drives me nuts every time. Needless to say, I feel no urge to pick up a phone. Blake says he has a lot of respect for Javier, Christina says the song was perfect for him and Cee Lo agrees. Adam gets chokes up describing his love for Javier.
Dia Frampton, the sole survivor of Blake’s team, is going to perform Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” with Blake. Blake is happy Dia has come a long way in gaining confidence and has inspired him to be more enthusiastic about his own performance. I don’t know why everyone is dressed like a Blues Brother, but this performance is so good I actually like Blake and the song, whereas I usually want to stab my eardrums with an ice pick when I hear a Tom Petty song.
Vicci Martinez, Cee Lo’s last team member, works with a big-time producer on working up her original song, “Afraid to Sleep”. The white smoke monster escaped the island and took over The Voice Stage. Vicci’s performance is really quite good; she sounds a bit like a better Bonnie Tyler but my complaint is she’s got a back-up singer for a good part of the song, which gives a double-tracking effect and cures any pitch problems she may have. Adam was invested in the song and loved being in her audience. Blake likes that she insists on being on a big deal and Christina says she filled the stage well with her performance. Cee Lo is confident in her performance, personality and as a person.
Then there’s some filler with Pittbull and Ne-Yo singing “Give Me Everything”. Give me the remote and I’ll FF.
Christina and Beverly duet Christina’s “Beautiful,” their favorite and mine. Beverly adds a bit more gritty soul sound to the song, to great effect. Actually, she sounds better than Xtina, or at least less forced. Beverly looks like she’s having the time of her life on stage, while Christina might be fighting a digestive problem.
In yet another curious AI mention, Carson brings out Katherine McPhee to pimp some new show after the second season of The Voice called Smash where she’ll also sing “Beautiful”. Okay, it’s also on NBC, but you’d think they’d try to move as far away from AI as possible on this show, not chase its tail.
Dia works with Blake to perfect the original song “Inventing Shadows.” She once again performs from behind a baby grand. She starts out a bit breathy but gets vocally stronger as the song goes on. The song is okay by me, her performance is good, but there are four weird shadow dancers behind her that are a bit distracting. Christina loves the performance but calls Blake out on the use of shadow boxes when he gave her crap about using mimes. Cee Lo is amazed and predicts she’ll be #1 on the iTunes. Adam was also distracted by the dancing, but the song was good. Blake says the thing that’s going to be distracting when the other coaches turn on their phones and see she’s far ahead of the other contestants in downloads.
Adam and Javier duet with Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”. Javier thinks he made the best choice to go with Adam as a coach. I think he shot himself in the foot, but I like neither Adam nor Javier’s song choices for this last show. It’s like Adam wants Javier—the guy who blew everyone away with a non-traditional take on a Cyndi Lauper song—to pretty much mimic Michael Jackson but in an altogether boring way. Why not an acoustic version of the Bowie/Jagger “Dancing In the Street”? Perhaps a duet take on Counting Crow’s “Mr. Jones”? Hell, a run-filled “Happy Birthday” would be better.
More FF time, Brad Paisley sings some country song. Excuse me, is he in the competition now? All this filler is going to make me sick come morning.
Beverly’s up next—you know, someone actually in the competition—with the original song, “Love Sick”, for Team Christina. Beverly feels good about the song and was able to add her own flair to it. She starts out rocking the song hard but suddenly I get a Meatloaf vibe and try to shake it. But really and truly, she looks like she’s having the best time on stage. She then takes to singing while playing the piano, which is the one thing I really like about this show—every finalist also knows an instrument, which generally means they know how to read music. And then she actually gets on the baby grand (lid down) to sing a bit and then retakes the stage. This is the first time I’m thinking about picking up the phone all night. Cee Lo enjoys Bev even though she’s not on his team—she killed it and he loves her. Adam says she transcends the competition and makes it all fun. Blake says she’s awesome to watch and if music were crack, she’d have an addiction. Christina loves her work ethic, her happiness, and how she makes people smile and that piano move too.
The final duet is Cee Lo and Vicci doing Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield”, one of my favorite early 80s songs. Of course, this being a Cee Lo performance, everyone is dressed as if they escaped Tina Turner and the Thunderdome or perhaps the “Wild Boys” video set from a year later than the Benatar song. (Child of the 80s here, unlike the kid dancers on stage who are children of the Naughts.)
So that’s it for the performances. At this point, I think Beverly should win, with Vicci a second close, and Dia getting a great contract as well. As for Javier, he needs to run, not walk, away from Adam and pair up with someone with stronger vocal and producing experience. If Bono weren’t attached to that Spider-Man mess, I’d suggest him.
The Vote Is In
The results show is slated to take an hour, so you know what that means—even more filler! Yay! The filler consists of the four finalists singing a duet with their alleged favorite artists. These famous singers, Carson tells us, are Miranda Lambert, Train’s Pat Monahan, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, and Stevie Nicks. Then it’s a bit of the behind the scenes footage when the finalists visited the Leno show. If I weren’t recapping this and waiting for something weird or cool to happen on live TV, I’d skip to the end.
Vicci and Pat Monahan sing Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”. A word of advice to these famous folks—it might be risky to sing with people who are better at singing your song than you are. ‘Cause that’s what’s happening here. Vicci’s voice is so much stronger and she exudes more happy enthusiasm than he does. And sweet fancy moses, what the hell is in Pat’s hair? A quart of motor oil? Cee Lo expresses his love for Vicci and pledges they will be bonded forever.
Javier shares the stage with Stevie Nicks to sing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” I grew up listening to Stevie and Fleetwod Mac but South Park ruined it for me a few years ago when they did the episode asserting she sounds like a goat. And now she kinda does to me, but the goat effect is mitigated with the mix of Javier’s pitch perfect alto. The song is slowed down a bit from the original, but this is more Javier’s style, harkening back to the audition. Adam holds back the tears at the beauty of the performance and seems a bit jealous that he didn’t get to sing with Stevie.
Beverly performs with Ryan Tedder on One Republic’s “Good Life”. This is an odd song—it doesn’t strike me as one in Beverly’s style. Nevertheless, she gets into it and dominates Ryan’s performance. Christina still loves Beverly’s professionalism and hard work. She also thanks the other coaches for working with together during the process of the show and being the big brothers she never had.
Finally, Dia performs with Miranda Lambert, whom we’re reminded is Blake’s wife. They sing “The House That Built Me”, which is, apparently, a typical country song as it mentions a dead dog. They really duet well together, despite the song being all kinds of too slow and yawn-inducing. Blake seems a bit choked up; he says it hit him how Dia has become part of his family now, after seeing her sing with Miranda.
Now, down to the last six minutes of the show, we’re finally going to learn who won the competition. The four finalists stand huddled together waiting for Carson to spit it out. He says it was really a close vote—the two with the most votes were within 2% of each other. He reveals Dia and Javier were the top two vote-getters. I call foul! I tried voting for Beverly six or seven times and I never could get through but I don’t have time to stay up all night. Beverly and Vicci are swept off stage by their coaches. Carson says Javier hit #2 on iTunes last night and Dia hit #1. And then Carson reveals Javier won the vote. Adam runs up and hugs Javier tightly as confetti falls to the stage. Javier thanks everyone but is pretty speechless. And there you have it—the guy predicted by many at the start of the show to win actually won.
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