The curse of youth, versatility and being stolen on The Voice

The Voice returns with a rather odd schedule next week.  As usual, the show will be on for two hours Monday night, and it’ll be the first live show of the season.

But then there’s a little thing called a presidential election interrupting the normal Tuesday night show.  Here in the East, polls would be closing just as The Voice began.

Can’t have that.

So The Voice will skip Tuesday and air two-hour shows on Wednesday and Thursday.

That’s six hours of The Voice in one week as the show goes about the business of whittling the field of 20 contestants that remain.

Meanwhile, some random observations from the just-completed knockout rounds.

Stolen, but not for long:  Eight contestants saw their time on The Voice extended by those much-hyped steals during the battle rounds. But only two remain — Amanda Bown and Joselyn Rivera, both of whom landed on Team Adam. Amanda was especially impressive Monday night in her knockout round showdown with Michelle Brooks-Thompson. And with the way Michelle sang, she had to be.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Michele, picked up by Team Cee Lo, out-sang Diego Val, but lost. And Blake Shelton must have had mariachi music in his head and wax in his ears when he declared Julio Cesar Castillo the winner over MarissaAnn, whom he’d stolen from Team Christina just a week earlier.

Youth movement fizzles:  The Voice went young in Season 3, when minors (read contestants under 18) nailed down 14 of the 62 spots on the four teams. But only three remain — Melanie Martinez, 17, of Team Adam; Michaela Paige, 16, of Team Blake; and Joselyn, 17, of Team Adam.

Going forward, if The Voice continues to air twice a year, it might want to consider a Voice Junior competition each spring and a Voice Senior competition each fall. Or vice-versa. It just doesn’t seem fair to pit talented  15-year-olds against some of the show’s much more seasoned vets, who have music all over iTunes.

How about some originals:  One day, someone will launch a singing competition where artists get to perform original material.  I’d like to think that would happen before I have to listen to another rendition of  “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Lady Marmalade” or “Paris, Ooh La La.” But I’m sure it won’t.

There’s a lot of talk about artistry on The Voice.  And Season 3 has featured some amazing artists. But true artistry is writing a song, performing the heck out of it and conveying that song to an audience. Take the last two knockout matches Tuesday.  I wonder how much more interesting they would have been if Rudy Parris and Terry McDermott squared off with original material; and then Cassadee Pope and Suzanna Choffel followed them to the stage and did the same.

Ah, one can hope.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to track down the original material on my own.  Hey, it’s great fun. Sorta like a treasure hunt.  Heck, I’ve been listening to virtually nothing but Lelia Broussard music for the last week. (Folks, check out her original music!)

Gender crossing:   During the knockout round, I counted 11 artists singing songs made famous by a member of the opposite sex. Only four of those artists advanced.  And at least two had to survive because both they and their knockout round foe crossed genders with their song selection. Those would have been the matchups between Cassadee (Maroon 5′s “Payphone”) and Suzanna (Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved) and the matchup between De’Borah (The Fray’s “You Found Me”) and Chevonne (Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”).  The only guys to advance singing songs made famous by females were Cody Belew (“Jolene”) and David Nicholas (“Put Your Records On”).

What does that all mean? Probably nothing, because Cassadee, Suzanna, De’Borah and Chevonne all turned in solid performances. All four did well enough to advance. But the guys might want to shy away from Taylor Swift in the future. She spelled doom for Joe Kirkland (“Mean”) and Daniel Rosa (“My December”).

Vexed by versatility:  On the other hand, I’m pretty sure there’s something behind this trend. Gracia Harrison, the yodeling country gal, decided to show her range by singing Aerosmith. Rudy, the rocker inspired by Kiss, decided to show his ability to appeal to a younger audience by singing a song by Chris (Brown) instead of Kiss.  I almost typed the words “you lose” the minute they announced those plans.

Contestants on this show need to stick to what they do best and do it very well repeatedly, especially in the show’s early stages when they’re disappearing from our TV screens for weeks at a time. At that stage, when they’re still building fan support, each performance is like a first impression.  We’ve heard so little, and there are so many contestants, we’re unlikely to be impressed by versatility. Meanwhile, there’s a coach to impress. And just 90 seconds to make that impression.

So rockers need to rock.  Country singers need to pick songs with at least a little twang.  And Julio?  Maybe he should to back to singing mariachi music.




2 Responses to “The curse of youth, versatility and being stolen on The Voice”

  1. SNAPPS says:

    The Voice’s going great this season, and way better than last year. I’m not a fan of the presidential debates and it’s going to mess up my schedule a bit for my primetime events. That’s all I mainly watch when I’m home and I get all mine recorded using the PrimeTime Anytime feature. I enjoyed the latest episode of The Voice, and I’m most impressed with Cassadee Pope. I’ve loved watching The Voice since last season and it’s one of my favorites on primetime. I work at night so I never get to see what’s going on with primetime which always left a mess of shows recording. I would tie up all my DVRs trying to record my shows, and the family wouldn’t be too happy. This all came to an end when my coworker at DISH told me about the Hopper DVR. I can get the four major networks recorded on one TV and it lets the family continue to watch their own shows without interruption. No more timer or recording conflicts which let me and the family enjoy TV.

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