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The Voice: Season 8: Last Battles, 3/17/15

March 18th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Season 8 of The Voice completed its battle rounds last night, the flaws in its bracket-type format showing, but at least a dozen great singers are still on the board. We saw three featured battles, while three more were squeezed into a montage:

1.  Christina pairs two of her remaining R&B singers, Jeremy Gaynor and Rob Taylor. Both are former church singers.  Gaynor’s the military man who sings in the West Point band, while Taylor was accepted at the prestigious Berklee College of Music but didn’t attend because of family concerns. Christina tells them how she considered assigning them old-school soul but decided on something more contemporary and radio-friendly:  Maroon 5’s “Animals.” For this battle, there’s more at stake than just the singing voices. Gaynor probably shows more experience, but he also has an alternative–he can simply return to his life at West Point. Taylor’s inexperienced and hits notes that sound like a teapot left to boil for too long–but he could probably benefit from more time with a superstar coach. Adam (besides commenting how “Animals” uses every bit of his range, so he knows how difficult it is) says he’d pick Jeremy. Pharrell, on the other hand, singles out Rob as “soulful” and “eclectic.” Christina picks Rob Taylor and lets Gaynor return to his life at West Point.

2.  Now for one battle that reveals the flaws in The Voice format. Pharrell pairs two of his teen phenomena, and one is going to be out because nobody else can steal now. Half of this battle is folksy 15-year-old Sawyer Fredericks, the farm boy that all four judges practically begged for, and the other half is 17-year-old Noelle Bybee, whose audition we didn’t see–but who turns out to have a pretty, twangy vibrato worthy of Dolly Parton. (She must be one of this season’s country singers Blake let get away.) In coaching mode, Pharrell assigns his country-flavored teens “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” by Fredericks’ favorite classic rockers Creedeence Clearwater. After the performance, Adam says Sawyer’s voice “boggles the mind,” while Blake prefers Noelle’s country sound. Pharrell makes the difficult choice to keep the well-liked Sawyer Fredericks and lose his country girl. If a judge has a steal available for Sawyer in the next round, Pharrell may find himself in the same bind he was in over Lowell Oakley and Kimberly Nichole two nights ago.

Montage time!  We knew this was coming when this episode was only an hr. long.

Christina pairs her remaining R&B singers, Koryn Hawthone and Vance Smith, and she must’ve cut Smith, although I couldn’t tell from the editing.  I had to look at the Web site.

Blake pairs two of his country-flavored girls, Bev Brooks and Brooke Adee, and picks Adee.

Adam pairs Latina singer Lexi Davila against African-American singer Brennae De Barge and picks Davila.

3.  Time for the last battle of season 8, and we know it’s going to be the last steal.  Blake pairs two of his teens, country singer Corey Kent White (from Oklahoma) and R&B singer Jacob Rummell (with the super-high voice). He then appears to favor the country singer by assigning them “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes.  When Christina hears it, she calls it a hoedown. Blake argues it leans pop. (Maybe to a country superstar, it does, but not to the pop crowd.) Adam argues it proved Jacob can sing anything, so that means he won the battle. Blake keeps Corey and Jacob goes to Team Pharrell. How long Jacob can stay in the competition is questionable. His voice (somewhere between Michael Jackson and Wayne Newton) isn’t the kind to get many votes. We heard at least five singers who should, and could, have stayed around longer if Pharrell had been thinking ahead.

Here’s the final team tally, until the knockout round.  What’s the show teasing about three-way knockout(s)?  We’ll have to see!

Blake:  country singers Corey Kent White, Cody Wickline, Kelsie May, Brook Adee, country rocker Meghan Linsey, metal shouter Sara Potenza, bluesy white soulman Travis Ewing, and Maroon 5 fan Brian Johnson (not to be confused with Paul Pfau of Team Pharrell)

Adam:  heavy on the R&B with Barry Minnefield, Blaze Johnson, and Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Latin-flavored Lexi Davila, folksinger Joshua Davis, crooners Nathan Hermida and Clinton Washington, and country singer Deanna Johnson

Christina:  also heavy on the R&B with Rob Taylor, Koryn Hawthone, Kimberly Nichole, and India Carney, along with mainstream pop singers Ashley Morgan, Joe Tolo, Sonic, and Treeva Gibson

Pharrell:  rocker Hannah Kirby, R&B singers Anthony Riley and Jacob Rummell, folksinger Sawyer Fredericks, cocktail jazz crooner Lowell Oakley, Maroon 5 fan Paul Pfau (not to be confused with Brian Johnson of Team Blake), and pop princesses Caitlyn Corporale and Mia Z

 

 

 

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Dancing with the Stars Season 20 Episode 1 – Recap

March 18th, 2015 · No Comments

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The Voice: Season 8, More Battle Rounds, 3/16/15

March 17th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Cutting through six duets in the battle rounds of The Voice Season 8, last night, knowing the judges will have to cut again in the knockout rounds, and wondering if they’re thinking that far ahead:

1.  Pharrell pairs two of his R&B-inspired pop princesses, one black girl and one white girl, Bria Joynee and Caitlyn Corporale.  (Her name sounds more like “Katelyn Caparilli,” so viewers may be confused about whether they saw her previously or not. She’s the girl that sang “Impossible” with Christina, remember.) He gives them “Fallin[g]” by Alicia Keys. It’s a power ballad with gospel overtones.  After the performance, Adam declares he’s most impressed with Caitlyn, that he thinks she could win. Pharrell struggles with his decision (there’ll be more of that tonight) but finally picks Caitlyn. Maybe in part he wanted to keep her away from Adam, but he explains backstage that she’s “further along–I can see a great R&B pop artist.” I thought Blake might steal Bria since he wanted her originally but he doesn’t.  Neither does Adam nor Christina.

2.  Adam makes a decision that may indicate why he has only two Voice trophies to Blake’s four. After begging non-stop for a country singer, he mismatches his only male country vocalist, Jack Gregori, against one of his many R&B vocalists, Barry Minnefield.  He does have some method in his action–he assigns them Joe Cocker’s blues-shouter classic, “Feelin’ Alright.” He says he wants to hear his two big men with big baritones–one classic country, the other classic R&B. Both guys sound great, but Adam’s going to give the edge to his only hardcore country artist, right? Blake appears to be trying some gamesmanship when he says he’d pick Barry–perhaps hoping he can steal Jack.  Adam does keep Barry, one of his four R&B singers, and lets his country guy Jack walk. Nobody steals Jack–either nobody wants to add a country singer, or this battle was shot when no steals were left. Minnefield’s a great singer but Gregori’s a rare kind of country singer, and probably had a better chance of winning.

3.   Christina pairs her two sweet-as-sugar pop princesses, Katelyn Reid (whose audition we didn’t hear) and Treeva Gibson. (Her first name sounds like “Trina” but it’s–not.) Then she gives them a rock song, “Addicted to Love,” that she coaches them to be not-so-sweet on–to scream and get dramatic. It’s like she wants to turn them into something they’re not. The judges find differences in the results. Pharrell likes Reid when she got soft and whispery, but he thinks Gibson’s screams showed something–different. Adam says he was so blown away by Gibson’s screaming that he’d pick her. Blake, however, thinks the sweeter Reid is the more developed vocalist. Christina admits Reid’s got more control over her voice.  However, she likes the screaming “monster” that sweet Gibson shows she can turn into. Christina keeps Treeva Gibson based on her ability to scream, and nobody steals Katelyn Reid. For the second time this episode, I wonder if no steals were available when this battle was shot.

4.  Time for Pharrell to make a mismatch, and he sends his jazz crooner Lowell Oakley into battle against his black woman rocker, Kimberly Nichole. He explains they’re both “other” types. Then he assigns Elvis’ “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog,” but the lyrics are blues-shoutin’ Big Mama Thornton’s version. He argues Elvis was a crooner, too.  (There are many Elvis songs that are better for a crooner-rocker combo, however.) Although the material would appear to favor Kimberly, Lowell manages to show off a jazz-flavored interpretation. The high quality of the result appears to take Pharrell completely by surprise. Blake boldly asks him, “What’s wrong with you, puttin’ these two together?”

Pharrell debates for the longest time in Voice history. Lowell, a jazz crooner, occupies an unique niche, but so does Kimberly, who blends rock with R&B. Pharrell asks himself aloud, “Who can I work with and who doesn’t need me?” Carson Daly says, “Don’t make me take a commercial break.” Blake blurts out about how somebody probably needs to pee. Christina and Adam lower the level some more, and finally Daly wisely goes to a commercial break.

Back from the commercial break, Pharrell finally announces he’ll pick Lowell Oakley and hope Kimberly gets stolen. Christina grants Pharrell’s wish and adds Kimberly Nichole to her team.

5.  In an evening of sweet girl duos, Blake pairs two of his sweet teenage country girls. Kelsey May, from Kentucky, sings in a throwback hard-country style reminiscent of Loretta Lynn. Brenna Yeager, from Spokane, Washington, reps New Country with her pop-friendly voice and her tattoo of Miranda Lambert’s “House that Built me.”

Blake gives them “Fancy,” about a teenage New Orleans girl who’s “nice to the gentlemen,” a hit for Bobbie Gentry in one decade and Reba McEntire in another.  Being a lengthy story-song, it’s a dubious choice for a sound-byte battle, and Blake admits it’s a hard song to sing.  He’s giving the girls a hard song so he can see which one fares better. Adam observes about the result, “Kelsey’s furthest along at this time.” Pharrell comments how the choice is between Kelsey’s “strong tone” and Brenna’s lighter floaty voice. Blake picks Kelsey and nobody steals Brenna.  Either nobody wanted to add a country singer, or the “steal” slots were full when this battle was shot.

6.  Christina pairs two more of her pop vocalists. One, India Carney, the classically trained singer who auditioned with “New York State of Mind,” wants to work with a pop coach.  The other, Clinton Washington, auditioned with “Candle in the Wind.” (His audition was part of a montage, so we didn’t hear him the first time.)  She gives them Rihianna’s ballad, “Stay.” The performance has Pharrell saying “Wow!” halfway through, and Christina’s gasping at the vocal blend, too.

Christina says, “It kills me, Clinton,” but she picks India Carney, who’s obviously the singer with the better range and more experience. Adam wants to steal Washington and so does Pharrell.  Washington’s a crooner like Lowell Oakley, but given who the judges passed over, I’m not sure this is the best singer to use a steal on. Pharrell thinks Washington can win, however. Clinton Washington goes to Team Adam.

That means Pharrell’s the only judge who can steal during tonight’s final battles. We also know he’ll steal whoever’s in the last battle.

Here’s how the teams are looking:

Adam–country singer Deanna Johnson, R&B vocalists Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Blaze Johnson, and Barry Minnefield, sweet-voiced Filipino-American Nathan Hermida, plus the steals, crooner Clinton Washington and folksinger Joshua Davis.

Tonight: Adam’s only pairing left is Brennae DeBarge and Lexi Davilla. 

Blake–rock singer Sarah Potenza, country singers Cody Wickline and Kelsey May plus the stolen country-rocker Meghan Linley, Adam Levine fan Brian Johnson (not to be confused with Paul Pfau of Team Pharrell), plus stolen bluesy beatboxer Travis Ewing. 

Tonight:  Bev Brooks, Brooke Adee, Jacob Rummell, Corey Kent White 

Christina–pop singers India Carney, Treeva Gibson. Sonic, and the stolen Ashley Morgan, soulful Samoan-American Joe Tolo, plus the stolen rock singer Kimberly Nichole.

Tonight:  R&B-flavored soul from Vince Smith, Rob Taylor, Jeremy Gaynor, and Koryn Hawthorne

PharrellLowell Oakley, Mia Z, Caitlyn Corporale, Adam Levine fan Paul Pfau (not to be confused with Brian Johnson of Team Blake), R&B powerhouse Anthony Davis, and rocker Hannah Kirby, stolen from Blake.

Tonight:  folksy Sawyer Fredericks, who’ll have to be matched against Noelle Bybee, whose audition wasn’t shown–and one of these singers will definitely be cut because they can’t be stolen.

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Beyond Reality – American Idol – Season 14 Episode 20 Recap – 3/12/15

March 13th, 2015 · No Comments

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American Idol: Cuts from 12 to 11 and Predictions for the Finale, Season 14

March 13th, 2015 · No Comments

American Idol Season 14 started off so promising but now I honestly don’t care who wins.  The Top 12 were announced Wed. night and now the field’s already down to 11. One of the remaining contestants is going to be the Season 14 champion, and it’s simply not going to be someone that represents the best of this season’s talent pool. The judges had so many good prospects coming into this season, and they squandered the opportunity.

The Top 24 was far below expectations but I had still some hope it might be salvaged. For a refresher, here’s who I predicted would make Top 12, as I tried to make the best of a bad situation:

  • Savion Wright
  • Mark Andrew
  • Quaseem Middleton
  • Quentin Alexander
  • Rayvon Owen
  • Riley Bria
  • “Shi” Scott
  • Katherine Winston
  • Tyanna Jones
  • Maddie Walker
  • Alexis Gomez
  • Jax Cole (her last name finally got billing)

Here’s who did make the Top 11 last night (Serina Joi Crowe got the 12th slot but was eliminated, leaving the following contestants):

  • Daniel Seavey
  • Clark Beckham
  • Quaseem Middleton
  • Nick Faradiani
  • Quentin Alexander
  • Joey Cook
  • Tyanna Jones
  • Rayvon Owen
  • Adanna Duru
  • Maddie Walker
  • Jax Cole

It’s obvious the front-running WGWG Clark Beckham is the most likely next American Idol–where he’ll join Lee Dewyse at the bottom of the Idol champ barrel. I’d hope one of the male R&B vocalists pulls off an upset–but I’m not about to sit through the likes of Jax Cole and Daniel Seavey every week so I can vote for a guy who was my twentieth choice to begin with.

Blame the judges for putting up inferior product–they could have given us a final field that looked more like this:

  • Garrett Miles
  • Cody Fry
  • Jess Lamb
  • Ellen Pearson
  • Maddie Hudson
  • Savion Wright
  • Jason Tolliver
  • Gina Versace
  •  Angelica “Jelly” Joseph
  • Sal Valentinetti
  • Tyanna Jones

Understand the difference?  I’m not trying to insist that every choice the judges make has to match mine, but it’s obvious the judges passed over (considered and rejected) a superior field in favor of a below-average one. If the judges can’t distinguish the best talent that comes in front of them, it’s time to get new judges.  Until Season 15–I’m out!

 

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Beyond Reality – American Idol – Season 14 Episode 19 Recap – 3/11/15

March 12th, 2015 · No Comments

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Beyond Reality – Survivor – Worlds Apart – Episode 3 Recap – 3/11/15

March 12th, 2015 · No Comments

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The Voice: Season 8, Battle Rounds, Air Date 3/10/15

March 11th, 2015 · No Comments

Format-wise, The Voice is like a sporting tournament. The coaches (judges) picking their teams resembles setting the brackets for March Madness, except there’s no seeding.  Then the singers are advanced (or not) though two rounds, the field being roughly halved each time. That means getting to the voting rounds is largely dependent on which pairs get matched up.

The judges worked their way through several battles last night, sometimes making questionable decisions about who to match up, and who to keep, cut, or steal:

1.  For the first featured battle (duet) of this episode, Pharrell matches bluesy beatboxer Travis Ewing against old-school R&B powerhouse Anthony Riley.  “They both have interesting tones and ranges,” the judge explains, “both soulful.” He assigns them the seventies’ R&B classic, “Get Ready.” He adds that “Anthony’s likely in his comfort zone,” while the less experienced Travis is still learning. Before the performance, Anthony tells Pharrell, “We’re battling for Christina’s heart,” and the song’s directed at her. After the song’s over, Christina says her vote would be for Anthony, but Adam and Blake emphasize that Travis made it tough. Pharrell picks Anthony, and Blake steals Travis. Ewing’s a good singer but with the judges being so limited with their steals, Blake may regret using this one.

2.  Christina puts two of her mainsteam pop-chart girls together:  jazzy, soulful Ameera Delandro (that’s what the NBC site says) and the more alt-flavored Sonic. The team leader gives her contestants the contemporary hit, “Masterpiece.” She says it’s so they can play up the “tough girl thing,” especially with Delandro’s classic soul background. Before the girls begin the performance, Carson Daly announces, “Christina’s powerhouses take the stage.” Afterwards Pharrell notes Ameera “got a little pitchy.” Adam and Blake prefer Sonic, too.  For once the judges all appear to be hearing the same thing because Christina picks Sonic. Delandro says a tearful good-bye and nobody steals her. I think Christina made the right choice, too.  I’m hoping Christina assigns Sonic a popular alt-rock hit for the next round, because that’s probably her best element.

Next comes a montage of three battles, which aptly demonstrates why we shouldn’t see montages:

Christina mismatches two of her more exotic finds, the soulful Samoan-American Joe Tolo vs. folksinger Gabriel Wolfchild, and cuts Wolfchild.  Nobody steals Wolfchild. Maybe he had a very shaky outing or Christina erred in the song assignment?  We don’t know. 

Adam matches two of his female vocalists, Nicholette More (not Morrette) and Deanna Johnson. He keeps Johnson, but we have no idea about Nicholette because we didn’t hear her sing in the audition round, either.

Adam pairs two of his male vocalists, Nathan Hermida against Josh Batstone (not Blackstone), and keeps Hermida. Again, we never heard the eliminated vocalist sing.

3.  In what may be the night’s highlight, Blake says he’s putting together his “bad*ss rock chicks,” Hannah Kirby and Sarah Potenza. He lets them sing and shout their way through the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” but he also coaches them to show some control. Blake’s celebrity guest advisor, Meghan Traynor, observes Hannah doesn’t have Sarah’s power but she does have more range.  This is one performance the guys really get into! Pharrell calls it “the best duel, not duet… [Hannah] came out swingin’ her purse like a Southern church lady!” Adam says it was like watching Stevie Nicks up against Janis Joplin.  (Actually I think Hannah was more like Joplin and Potenza was more like Ronnie James Dio.) Blake the team leader thinks both singers were successful, that Sarah “tamed her beast” while Hannah used her range. Blake keeps Sarah because, he says, “something so different about her.”  Adam and Pharrell both want Hannah, but Hannah picks Pharrell.  Maybe she liked his “Southern church lady” bit.

4.  Adam puts Michael Lear, this competition’s closest male equivalent to Sarah and Hannah, up against one of his surplus of R&B vocalists, Blaze Johnson. For some reason he gives them a reggae-flavored song, although neither singer’s best at the reggae genre. Blake observes, “These guys were handed a song you might not have chosen on your own.” Pharrell observes, “Blaze opened up lots more.”  Maybe that’s as good an explanation as any for why Adam keeps Blaze Johnson. Nobody steals Lear, leaving this competition seriously understocked on alt-rock male vocalists.

5.  Time for Blake to bring out Cody Wickline and Matt Snook (not Snow), two of his guys in cowboy hats. It’s freshness vs. experience. Matt, 41, is a military (and music) vet who’s trying to get one last big break. Cody’s a young college student just starting out. The guys sing “How Country Feels” to Christina, who’s getting a lot of attention tonight. “They were hitting on Christina!” Adam cracks, when the song’s over. Then, more seriously, he offers the opinion that Matt was the better vocalist, that he won the battle.  Strangely, however, Blake keeps Cody, the younger man, and nobody steals Matt. Blake says Cody showed “an authentic and rare sound.”

6. Pharrell throws together two experimental personalities, Meghan Linsey and Paul Pfau (pronounced “Fau”). Both are bluesy. Linsey had a career in country as a member of Steel Magnolia, but now she’s working in a more alternative style. Pfau’s a Maroon 5 fan. Pharrell gives them an unexpected song choice, “Don’t let me Down.” He says it’s like “the 50-yard line between their ambitions.” The judges appear to like these contestants very much. Adam points out his team was full so he couldn’t take Paul, and he tied to get Meghan to join his team. Christina compares Linsey’s rock-style vocals to Joplin (who’s getting mentioned often this season) and recalls how she tried to get her for her team. Pharrell says the performance shows, “You’ve proven you deserve to be here,” but he picks Paul Pfau.  (Maybe he didn’t want to lose him to Adam.) Blake and Adam want to steal Meghan. The two judges bicker bitterly over this girl, Blake even dragging up Adam’s triple loss last season. Meghan chooses her old friend Blake. He says afterward, “I didn’t pick her and I was kickin’ myself.” Since Blake’s known as the panel’s resident eighties expert, maybe he can coach Linsey in that direction.

By my count we have twelve battles left to go. The Voice returns on Monday for two hours, followed by one hr. on Tuesday.

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The Voice: Season 8, Auditions and Battles, 3/9/15

March 10th, 2015 · No Comments

 

I didn’t think there could possibly be only 12 singers on each Voice judge’s team this season–I thought I must have miscounted, the number must be closer to 15.  There are only 12 singers per team, meaning the auditions got finished faster than ever, and The Voice has already started up the battle rounds.  For some reason season 8 is on a rushed schedule, and last night we were rushed through two hours from auditions to battle rounds.  Here’s the recap:

First audition–Nathan Hermida, a Filipino-American teenager, is a slight-built geeky guy with glasses and a guitar.  He has a sweet romantic voice, though.  Adam turns his chair on the first line, Christina, shortly after.  When the judges comment, Adam comments on the guy’s “smoothest runs.”  Christina gushes, “Why do you have such a sexy voice?” Despite Christina’s obvious desperation, Nathan picks Adam, making Adam’s team full. 

Second audition–Paul Pfau (or something), another slight-built geeky young guy with glasses–and a hat–says he’s a Maroon 5 fan and wants to work with Adam.  (He doesn’t know Adam’s team is full.)  He goes retro with “How High the Moon.”  Blake turns on the first line and isn’t happy when Pharrell turns, too.  Christina thinks the guy’s adorable. Paul talks about how he once wanted to give Adam a demo CD when he met him backstage but chickened out.  So Adam comes up to accept it now. The singer’s from Oklahoma, so that would seem to indicate a preference for Blake, but his style is more blues and pop, so he picks Pharrell.

Third audition–Vince Smith, a young black mechanic from Georgia, has a voice that Christina calls a great falsetto.  She and Pharrell both pull a buzzer-beater on this audition. When Smith picks Christina, her team is full.  She says she wanted a team of “soulful people” this year. 

Fourth audition–Caitlyn Caporale (right?) has a voice and style similar to Christina’s, and she shows it by singing “Impossible,” a song Christina did with Alicia Keys. Christina would love to push her button but her team’s full.  (Maybe she should have held out for one more slot.) Pharrell and Blake look like they may be taking their cues from her, because they push their buttons. Given that the contestant’s choice is between Blake (country) and Pharrell (R&B), her style (white soul) appears closer to Team Pharrell, despite Blake arguing he can coach any style.  She does pick Pharrell, and his team is full. Blake complains Pharrell’s been beating him with getting the pop singers this season.

Finally we get to the final (successful) audition of season 8.  Blake’s the only coach left with a slot to fill.  When the judges hear Hannah Kirby, an attractive Texas A&M student with a bluesy rasp, they all encourage Blake, but he holds out almost to the end. Kirby says her voice is like a biker punk-rock chick, and she auditions with the bluesy sixties-era song, “The Letter.”  With her blues-shouting Texas twang, she sounds just a little like Janis Joplin.  Kirby fills the last slot on Team Blake.

So here are the final team tallies:

Team Christina has Clinton Washington, America (?) Deland (?), Katelyn Read, promising female pop singers India Carney, Sonic, and Trina Gibson, the soulful Samoan-American Joe Tolo, folksinger Gabriel Wolfchild, R&B vocalists Vince Smith, Rob Taylor and Koryn Hawthorne, and versatile military man Jeremy Gaynor.

Team Adam has Josh Blackstone, James McNiece, Nicholette Morrette, alt-rocker Michael Lear, R&B singers Barry Minnefield, Blaze Johnson, Renee DeBarge, and Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Latina teen Lexi Davilla, sweet-voiced Filipino-American Nathan Hermida, and two–two–country singers, Deanna Johnson and Jack Gregori.

Team Blake has country singers Corey White, Brenna Yeager, Cody Wickline, Matt Snow, Kelsey May, Brook Adee and (probably) Bev Brooks, bluesy Hannah Kirby, bluesy metal shouter Sarah Potenza, folksinger Joshua Davis, Maroon 5 fan Brian Johnson, and R&B singer Jacob Rummell.

Team Pharrell has Noel Beebee, folksy Sawyer Fredericks, bluesy Mia Z and Paul Pfau, bluesy beatboxer Travis Ewing, black woman rock singer Kimberly Nichole, black church singer Bria Joynee, James Brown soundalike Anthony Riley, teenage crooner Lowell Oakley, theme park (likely Disney) entertainer Ashley Morgan, white R&B vocalist Caitlin Coporale, and the country-and-blues blend of Meghan Linsey.

Just as soon as we meet the teams, it’s time to say good-bye to almost half the contestants, because we’re going directly into the battle round.  (Frankly I’d like to see a season where the public gets to vote on cutting the teams early–maybe an online poll or something.) I didn’t hear anything said about how many steals the judges get.

First battle:  Pharrell matches two of his young female pop vocalists, Ashley Morgan and Mia Z.  He says he assigned them “Put the Gun Down” because of their bluesy styles.  After the performance, the judges all like what they heard. Pharrell talks about “all that personality,” Adam raves about “amazing” and “feelings,” and Blake particularly likes Mia’s “dog whistle notes.” Christina, however, thinks Ashley was the winner, “As a vocalist, Ashley all the way, she killed it!” However, Pharrell picks Mia Z, explaining, “She’s allowed people to see where she can go.” Adam wants to steal Ashley, but so do Blake and Christina.  Blake reminds Ashley he wanted her on his team in the first place, but she picks Christina.

Second battle:  Adam matches a peculiar pair. Instead of putting Tonya Boyd-Cannon with one of his R&B or female vocalists, he puts her with James McNiece, whose audition we didn’t see.  He compares it to matching Beyoncé with Justin Timberlake. He gives them a puzzling song choice, too, Michael Jackson’s “PYT.” Christina critiques the duo’s performance with, “My vote is for Tonya but James put in a valiant effort.” Adam keeps Boyd-Cannon and nobody steals McNiece. Boyd-Cannon was the strongest vocalist, but McNiece may have had the better chance of winning.

Third Battle:  Despite Blake saying he wanted to build a diverse team, this year’s talent pool was full of country (and country-flavored) singers.  He ended up with at least seven, even after he “let” Adam and others have a few.

Now he puts his veteran Jewish folksinger, Joshua Davis, up against Brian Johnson, whose style is more in the Adam Levine mold. (Both singers Blake got at Adam’s expense.) Blake says, “Joshua has that grit, but Brian has the more powerful voice, the more range.” He coaches them through a heartfelt “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” We know when the song ends one guy’s going to get stolen because that’s what’s been teased. Once again we may be weighing one singer’s vocals against the other singer’s chances of winning. Blake keeps Johnson and Adam steals Davis. Adam gloats backstage afterwards, resorting to name-calling about how “that [insulting word] did the wrong thing” and how Blake “was dumb to put them together.”

Team revisions:

Pharrell–cut Ashley Morgan

Adam–cut James McNiece, stole Joshua Davis

Blake–cut Joshua Davis

Christina–stole Ashley Morgan

We get two more hours of battle rounds tonight.

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Beyond Reality – The Bachelor – Chris Soules – After The Final Rose Recap 3/9/15

March 10th, 2015 · No Comments

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