The Voice: Let the Battles Begin

The Voice on NBC

One thing that’s admirable and that I appreciate about The Voice is that it’s moving along in the process fairly quickly.  Instead of torturing us with three hours of mediocre singers every week, The Voice is now just one hour long, and after two weeks, we’ve already gotten down to some real competition.  Thanks for the brevity, NBC!

Another huge glaring difference between The Voice and Idol (and let’s be honest, we’re just going to continue to compare them, even though it’s kind of clear at this point which show is better) is the higher level of mentoring that goes on with the contestants.  In addition to working with the artists themselves, the contestants are also mentored by additional advisors, who also coach the contestants on their performances.

The one advisor I’m super, super excited about (and have been super, super excited about since it was announced) is Reba!  She has the most adorable accent and is a legend in the country music world.  I grew up listening to her (thanks, Dad, who doesn’t read this blog!), and have a mega huge girlcrush on her.  The other advisors are Sia (Christina), Monica (Cee Lo), and Adam Blackstone (Adam).

An interesting thing to observe is the contestant dynamics, because the singers are expected to work together to perform together, but at the same time, they’re competing against each other.  They have to strike the right balance between teamwork and completely vocally destroying their team member.

Before we dive into the battles, here’s some random thoughts:

  • I love hearing the coaches sing.  I especially enjoyed when Christina started singing during the coaching session for her battle.  There’s a disconnect between the strength of her singing voice and the way that she talks.
  • After a week of freedom, we were terrorized by another appearance by our “Digital Diva” Alison Haislip. Exactly who thought she was a good idea? I’m pretty sure the constant pop-ups are enough to remind people that performances are available on iTunes.
  • It seems like the Battle Rounds will take about four weeks (four coaches x four battles / four battles per week), unless they decide not to show all of them (which would be bad).

Battle 1: Tarralyn Ramsey vs. Frenchie Davis (Christina’s Team)

For the first battle, Christina paired Tarralyn and Frenchie against each other, singing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” (my disdain for which I wrote about here).  I thought there was a lot of hollering going on, and I thought Frenchie’s voice tone and quality was better overall.  However, I thought Tarralyn’s stage presence was a bit more exciting and fit better with the song, but in the end, I agreed with Christina’s decision to keep Frenchie.

Battle 2: Patrick Thomas vs. Tyler Robinson (Blake’s Team)

Blake paired Patrick and Tyler up to sing Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”, saying that Elvis was the one guy who could cover pop and country.  Tyler didn’t seem too thrilled about this decision, but NBC decided to use this time to remind us that Tyler is a gay Mormon.  What NBC should have played up is that Tyler doesn’t know much Elvis, especially this song.  Is this because he’s a gay Mormon?  They play Tyler up as a “soulful” guy, and “Burning Love” is not really what I would call a “soulful” song.  To be honest, I’m surprised Blake picked Patrick, since the other coaches seemed to be so squarely in Tyler’s camp.

Also, Scotty on Idol?  That’s how a country guy is supposed to sing.  Did you notice Patrick’s face?  How it didn’t look like a rubbery Joker mask?  Take note.

Battle 3: Casey Weston vs. Tim Mahoney (Adam’s Team)

Well, Tim certainly isn’t lacking in confidence, is he, with his millions of shows and lots of records (so, uhhhh, why does he need this show?  oh, right…), but Adam is right – he does kind of sound like a girl.  I like Kasey’s implication that you can’t be an athlete and a musician at the same time.  Dream big, Casey, dream big!  Adam picked “Leather and Lace” for the two of them to sing, which I didn’t know by name, but I did know as soon as they started singing it.  I thought their performance was a little boring.  Casey started out a little weak, but finished strong, and Adam picked her to move on.  I guess Tim will have to go back to being the King of Almost.

Battle 4: Vicci Martinez vs. Niki Dawson (Cee Lo)

Who is Niki Dawson?  In case you didn’t recognize her, it’s because she was one of the singers whose auditions they didn’t bother to show.  Nicki Dawson is also foregoing school to try to make it as a pop star (at least that’s what I think she said).  NBC has been teasing this battle all week, and they really delivered.  Vicci’s voice is a bit more distinctive, and I would argue that Niki was doomed from the start, since no one has any idea who she is.  Vicci really needs to calm down a bit – the crazy wide-legged stomping (her “War Dance”, according to Cee Lo) and facial expressions were scaring me.

The Voice is on Tuesday nights, at 10/9C on NBC.

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