Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: Do What U Want...It's the Finale

Well the time has come. The fall cycle of the NBC program with ratings has come to its finale night. As we wait on the spring cycle to bring back Usher and Shakira as coaches, we celebrate the fact that LADY GAGA is on the show performing "Do What U Want" (Now do you see where the title for tonight's episode came from?) Now let's recant the fodder up until the last 5 or so minutes where we find out who will become the winner. These are the marklar that marklared (None of which are illegal in this country unless you count Mississippi.) : P

Let's play rough and get it on!

The ticket for tonight's results show is OneRepublic, Ne-Yo, Celine Dion, Aloe Blacc, Paramore and Lady Gaga. Holy hell indeed.

The Live show contestants emerged for the group number "Tonight is The Night". It was so nice seeing the contestants I like helping those who suck hide their vocal flaws. T_T

Coach's corner commenced & 2 things...Cee-Lo looks like the most fabulous referee ever. X-Tina? I defer to this tweet I made...

"What kind of Anglo-Saxon Donna Summer shit is X-Tina wearing on her head? #ThisIsTheVoice"

As is tradition, all the finalists were asked to review their competition c. the Live shows and bring back any to all they liked. Jacquie Lee was the first to do so. She brought back Matthew, Caroline, James and Cole to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Impressive being back sheet young lady. Come showtime, Caroline was very good and Cole made the Chipmunks sound like Bea Arthur.
Footage of HRFH -2.0 was shown in tears...but this was due to her finding out who she would do a personal duet with tonight. Wishes don't come true kids. : P

After a montage of Adam Levine being the sexiest dorkfish on Earth, the abyss opened and unleashed HRFH -2.0 & Celine Dion performing "Love Can Move Mountains". It ended as quick as I was reminding everyone that unless Kathy Griffin is brought up, Celine seems like a decent person. Hey, I'm not complaining that a performance with those two ended a little quickly. *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade*
OneRepublic would then take the stage. I've talked enough about them badly on the blog (Twitter is fair game.) so I'll remind everyone that the eventual winner of the show will debut a song Ryan Tedder wrote for them. It can either be "Halo" & "Already Gone" good or it can be the other crap he's written.

A tribute to Cee-Lo being adorably unhinged then took place. I loved every bit of it. In a slight move of "macho bullshit" the male only vocalists of the show came to take the stage. All I thought in pre-performance terms was "This will end up like that Daria musical number 'Manly!' where it won't be 'manly' for shit!" They [Matthew, Ray, Josh, Preston & even Nic] sang "Treasure" by Bruno Mars. Hmmm, I'll admit I was transfixed by Ray's scruffy look. I mean if it took away from his singing, who am I to judge?

Will Champlin brought back Jonny, Cole, Caroline and Austin. 2 singers in a row that like Caroline. YAY! They sang "Wagon Wheel". Country bait is country bait but it's Caroline Pennell. I am not reading this woman to filth. Gone is the girl with the nervous system of a leaf. Here is someone who should've won.

After X-Tina was shown scolding bitches with her voice in her montage, Jacquie took the stage with Paramore singing "Ain't It Fun". The graphics were fun...and Jacquie singing was fun. All the while I was waiting for the winner to be announced.

Then females from the show I liked and then CopyKat performed "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson. Tamara, Amber Nicole & Stephanie Anne Johnson owned that song! Shelbie Z and Grey tried and were decent. CopyKat sucked as always.

In true shameless plug fashion the finalists then got to pick KIA automobiles [because KIA Motors has long sponsored the show]. Cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute...until Taxicab Confessionals then showed. Ugh...you ruin the chance for Jacquie and HRFH -2.0 to be haunted by back taxes and import tariffs respectively with this [Will's from LA where the show is shot.]

Celine Dion and Ne-Yo took the stage to debut their new song "Incredible". Ne-Yo is amazing and I remember his mentoring in S2's Battle Rounds where out of the 6 singers he coached, 4 of them won [Angie Johnson was screwed by that hack Cheesa.]
Will Champlin and Aloe Blacc then take the stage to sing that Avicii song "Wake Me Up" [that Aloe sings, but due to EDM rules, it's Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc. Don't ask why.] Aloe sounded amazing. Will? OK I give him a participation ribbon/participation trophy for trying.

HRFH -2.0 brought back James, Preston, Olivia and Grey. Olivia is the biggest problem in this lineup. No Caroline is also a sin. They sang something, but despite James, Preston and even Grey I don't even care. No Caroline inclusion, no thank you.

After Blake's white ass was shown "dancing"...Lady Gaga performed. It is Gaga and I do not read this woman to filth. X-Tina randomly showed up and proceeded to own the stage with her [even throwing a champagne glass on the floor with her.] AND the outfits matched the champagne they drank and chucked on the ground. These are DIVAS indeed.

Then came the time to declare the winner and the others of S5...I'm not crying out of pain. The spring cycle is coming and I am relieved.

3rd place went to: Will Champlin of Team Adam. We knew it was coming.

Runner-Up: Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina. At least a favorite of mine made it to the finale. -_-

The Voice for S5:  HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam. Congrats Adam, but screw you voting public.

All in all, do what you want. I'll be waiting until the spring to recant S6. Thanks for playing rough with me for another season...all @ImageFighter13 of you that has viewed the blog. : P

(It's a serving of fruit. Kindly, fuck off.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: Carson 3:16

This episode's title is a play on John 3:16...with Carson being TV God's disciple to save us from the most lackluster Voice season in memory [my "FLUNK Off" report card has why]. As tonight marks the beginning of S5's close, we must remember...ah, screw it. The Final 3 singers took the stage to compete to see who can be the first true successful show winner! ("Didn't Cassadee Pope debut at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100?With a "whopping" 43,000 copies...bitch please.)

Let's play rough and get it on! *But first...a memorial service for Team Cee-Lo & out of a forced respect, Team Blake. The service will be shown in English, Spanish, "country" & legitimate American Sign Language.*

The coaches channel their inner Def Leppard cover band by singing "Pour Some Sugar on Me" WITH Def Leppard themselves. If you're of the 80s music loving ilk...congratulations. This was for you.

First up, HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam singing her Blind Audition song, "Try" by P!nk. Ugh; Adam was all "Tessanne is a magical unicorn when she sings." [exaggeration is the sincerest form of flattery.] Come showtime she did the same overrated thing again. Coach's corner? "Lurve"; they always have "LURRRRRRRRRRRVE" for this one. She would have 2 more chances to butcher songs like they were $4.99 per/lb.

Second, Will Champlin of Team singing his Blind Audition song, "Not Over You" by Gavin DeGraw. Considering he's only been good with "Secrets" I couldn't have good things to think. He sounded improved by a slim modicum so that's decent. Coach's corner brings up his work ethic each week (Participation ribbons galore, I suppose.) & really, they do not critique him. His other 2 performances would serve as better tools for critique.

Closing Act I of the Finale Part 1, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina singing her Blind Audition song, "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse. Considering how she has handled mature songs throughout the competition I was hoping she would deliver again. Come showtime, despite some cadence and pacing issues, she delivered like she was dealing with Amazon Prime. Coach's corner showed "lurve" but because it's Jacquie, I forgive them this time.

Returning, HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam singing "Let it Be" by the Beatles with her coach. Come showtime, Adam sounded quite lovely. She was just occupying space again. NOTE: since coach's duet is well that...it does not go to Coach's corner.

Then, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina returned singing "We Remain" with her coach. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire song sort of makes sense. Come showtime, apart from a set design Effie Trinket would probably not approve of ["IT'S MAHOGANY!"] they did exceptionally.

Closing Act II of the Finale Part 1, Will Champlin of Team Adam singing "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John with his coach. That's *Dr. from Poltergeist voice everyone* Caroline Glaser's song. Sorry, but it is. Come showtime, Adam was quite lovely. That makes a statement and a half in both of his contestant's duets.

Then, the Top 3 come together and sing "I'll Be There" by The Jackson 5. My friend on Twitter @ImageFighter13 proceeded to lose it as this song makes her have the "feels" [cry uncontrollably out of joy.]

First to close the Finale Part 1, HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam singing "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston. She was actually saying "I am NOT kissing Whitney fandom ass" [exaggeration is the sincerest form of flattery]. Eventually she was coaxed in with an ego stroke [more or less]. Come showtime, apart from curtains being whisked she did nothing to impress me...again. Coach's corner thought this was absolutely perfect. I give up on them.

Then, Will Champlin of Team Adam singing "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams. I seem to remember S4 when VEDO performed this song. He got a tad too much praise on that song and I feared a bit of the same complex would be applied for Will. Come showtime, his teeth were very pretty. Then as opposed to getting critiqued, the camera kept panning to his wife and baby. This is The Voice; not the Babysitters Club. Don't expect sympathy from me when I'm supposed to critique you through subjective lenses over your singing.

Closing out the Finale Part 1, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" as Jennifer Hudson did it in the 2006 adaptation of Dreamgirls. Come showtime, she bitch slapped the competition cleanly. Enough said. She's getting my vote.

All in all, Jacquie better win this season. I have this pit in my stomach that suggests that the overrated one...HRFH -2.0 could take it. However, I really want Jacquie to defeat the hype sooooo much.

Up next for scrutiny, the Final results show of S5.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Robbed and Screwed; The Voice S5

That time of year has come; that time when Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo's "Reality Rocks" blog fame posts her list of contestants that were given a "No Vaseline" robbed treatment of The Voice [exaggeration is the sincerest form of flattery, right?] Well, as opposed to a Top 10...she only found 8 contestants she felt got robbed. O_O Either way, it's a form of critique I can't resist myself from.

As with last time, I'll sift through the ones I agree with and paste them here.

"Ashley Dubose - Cool and contemporary, this daytime desk jockey and single mother shone bright on her "Diamonds" audition and came across as an all-around awesome artist, the total package. The fact that she stalled in the Knockout Rounds was partially her own fault (choosing to sing Train's 'Hey Soul Sister' was not a shrewd move), but if her coach Adam Levine hadn't pitted her against the unstoppable Tessanne Chin, she may have had a chance. I'm still surprised no other coach stole her."

Agreed that Ashley was unfairly screwed in the Knockouts. Song choice may have been bad, but she did try her "De'Borah" thing by making a lump of coal song into a diamond. She did, but lo and behold; the overrated backup singer advanced on her background and Ashley was robbed. : (

"Holly Henry – This 19-year-old waitress/songstress wowed with her haunting, ethereal cover of Coldplay's 'The Scientist.' The product of an art-teacher mom and musician dad, she exhibited true star quality, despite her shyness and inexperience. Holly floundered in the Knockout Rounds, but I think if she'd been given the time to grow, she might've been Season 5's dark horse."

Agreed on Holly's ethereal presence not being given a proper chance to be nurtured on the show. Floundered in the Knockouts she did not do. This was the match against Nic Hawk and Blake being the vengeful scumbag to Adam, decided to screw with the audience by allowing Nic to advance to the Live shows. Holly herself may have been Caroline Pennell's biggest competition along with another pick I agree with below...

"Juhi – James Wolpert is great, but let's be honest: On the Knockout Rounds night that he went up against Juhi, he was completely outclassed. Juhi's CCR-inspired version of 'Heard it Through the Grapevine' that evening was fierce, feisty, fantastic, ferocious, fun…really, there are a lot of F-words that could describe it. Yet Adam chose to let her go. And don't even get me started on the fact that Juhi's original coach, CeeLo, gave her up in the Battle Rounds in favor of obvious fodder contestant George Horga Jr. Juhi really got a raw deal this season."

100% agreed Lyndsey. Juhi could've given Caroline Pennell a run for her money along with Holly. Yet, the match pairing seemed well...fucked from the start. Remember, NO ONE on Twitter and social media liked this pairing at all. Also, George Horga Jr. is the root of all evil for Cee-Lo being the new X-Tina. It's true; and subjective.

As for the other picks of Shelbie Z, Nic, Preston, Kat and Matthew...
Preston had "Too Current Too Soon" working against him and Matthew had a really bad night.

Shelbie Z was never on a real winner radar from the start [as Lyndsey puts it "Maybe she would have been better off competing on "The Voice's" much more country-centric Season 4." {Though Holly Tucker would've taken her spot CLEANLY}]

Nic and Kat were AWFUL. Sorry Lyndsey but I can't give you these two. Kat was a Michelle "Amazing Human" Chamuel copycat from the get go. Even worse, she had the nerve to start the "rip off Cody Belew's magnificent piano working skills" trend. Nic couldn't sing the ABCs on a karaoke machine. Entertainment value can be one thing, but sorry Lyndsey; this is The Voice.

For who I consider robbed? Apart from Holly, Ashley & Juhi...Donna Allen, Monika Leigh, Briana Cuoco [yes, I typed the name of the most reviled contestant by other critics], James Irwin (!), E.G. Daily, Amber Nicole, Tamara Chauniece, Stephanie Anne Johnson and Caroline Pennell! That makes 12 contestants in my books.

So remember kids; subjective criticism makes the world go round!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: Finale in 5...4...3...

Tonight's recap title is inspired by a simple countdown technique that it will go from 5 to 3 singers. I can't pull that much out of my ass; I'm a communications major, not a political science/law/marketing major. This is the day we find out who made the final 3. iTunes sales be damned, I am hoping for at least Jacquie, James and even Will to make it...so long as Cole and HRFH -2.0 hit the bricks. These are the things that happened in a nationally televised place involving people. Nouns; quaint as fuck, right?

Let's play rough and get it on!

Fodder mode kicked in with the return of Tweedle-corn and Tweedle-cornier. Yes, The Corny Duo from last season returned and so did my love of the mute button. They apparently have a new song called "Later On". Good for them in the vaguest sense of the word [I quote Willam Belli and co. when I say, "BYE FELICIA!"]

Coach's corner commences and essentially; Adam's Maroon Dynasty is brought up, Cee-Lo is wishing he'd eliminated George Horga Jr. in the Battle Rounds to prevent him being the new X-Tina (Tila Tequila can't be the only crazy person from Texas making wild conspiracy theories.) X-Tina herself lurves Jacquie and Blake is dopey. Then, Taxicab Confessionals commences...no Cody Belew? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Voice Jesus Smites: James Wolpert of Team Adam. Well, the internet did sort of predict this one. In a sense this elimination is sad, but with his inconsistencies he was bound to feel their repercussions. Bye James; no need to fix my phone. I don't even have an Apple product.

Then, the show gifted us with Michelle "Amazing Human" Chamuel performing her song "Go Down Singing". It's Michelle; this woman is not getting read to filth by me.

Voice Jesus Does Not Smite: HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam. I hate the voting public with a burning passion. I really do.

The She-Devil of S3 takes the stage to perform God knows what. My mute button and I grew another day closer. Then my heart broke as apparently she achieved success and was awarded with a plaque. Now I want the iTunes thing gone. Fuck marketing potential; those things have helped the wrong people win the show since S3.
Then, Kewpie Doll of last season took the stage and my mute button and I considered eloping that very moment. Oh she performed some song from her album or something.

Voice Jesus Does Not Smite: Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina. Finally...a singer I like is in the finale. A winner I can vote for at last!

Will Champlin and Cole Vosbury are in the bottom 2...Cole must be sent home. As cool as he is, Blake must not have representation in this.

Voice Jesus Does Not Smite: Will Champlin of Team Adam.

Getting the Boot: Cole Vosbury of Team Blake. With that, Blake has lost S5.

All in all, the last day of competition will be on the 16th...a Voice winner will be named on the 17th. I hope I'll actually cast a vote for the eventual winner this time. If not, way to make it a goddamn 5-peat.

Up next for scrutiny, the Finale Part 1.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: Five The Hard Way

One week from tonight, one of these singers will have the unfortunate chance to receive a coronation song made by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic fame. God help them...err I mean a start at a career indeed. Before that, the Top 5 singers left of this season took to the stage to sing songs they picked and songs their coaches picked. Nouns were at double time pace & there is too much for me to talk shit 100 miles a minute...

Let's play rough and get it on! *P.S.- the Instant-save is dead after last week. YAY! Also, slight programming shift; apparently, tonight's episode is only an hour long so that The Sing-Off can premiere at 8:00. This sucks.*

The Top 5 kick off the show with a performance of the song "Best Day of My Life". Cover band level fodder is unacceptable for the show when results are not being discussed. Sorry, but not really.

First, James Wolpert of Team Adam. The Maroon Dynasty is in tact as this is Adam's first time his team has been in mint condition. He's given "With or Without You" by U2. He is told in a sense not to be fender ketchup. Come showtime, he's not fender ketchup but in James terms this is bland. Bonus points for a little bit of scruff/stubble/five o' clock shadow. Coach's corner commenced and the coaches "lurved" his ass again. Yes these are potential peer on peer type of critiques but goddamn; critique the contestants! Anyway, I was looking to see if James' performance would hold water for my votes.

Second, Will Champlin of Team Adam. The Maroon Dynasty breakfast continued with "lurve"...ugh I can't. Then he's given "Carry On" by FUN. The intent was to have his range explored. Come showtime, projection was good, but the rest of the notes were quite displeasing. His money note was counterfeit and he wasn't behind a piano...this is his most lackluster in weeks. Coach's corner gives him a boatload of credit for not soiling himself...so there's that. If he makes it to the Final 3, I hope HRFH -2.0 and Cole being sent home are the reasons he does so.

Third, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina. For whatever unholy reason, "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan was given to her. This song has been abused more than the ASPCA dogs in the ads. She was given the intent to understand the difference between recorded sessions and a Live show. That was cool of X-Tina to do. Come showtime, she was sweet sounding but this song can't do justice for her. Coach's corner won't entertain critiquing contestants so at least they're nice throughout.

Fourth, Cole Vosbury of Team Blake. For some odd reason, he was taken to a barber shop where Cee-Lo was there. Both just relayed how they both kind of discovered him. Whatever, I was over the little barber gag. He's given "Shameless" by Garth Brooks. The intent like with the others is to not end up fender ketchup. Come showtime, I realized he had peaked when he performed "Adorn" by Miguel weeks ago. As digestible as he has been despite being aligned with Team Blake, he really did peak back then. Coach's corner? They are just unbearably nice to the contestants. Do they get too lost in the contestants performing? Perhaps, but someone needs to tell them that critiquing people is part of being any kind of mentor.

Closing out the Top 5,  HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam. She's given "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Like her other performances, she's expected to live up to her "phone book" singer reputation. Come showtime, I was transfixed by the stage elements and not her singing again. Coach's corner LURVED her hardcore and I am done with this hype driven bitch.

All in all, a chance at a really American Idol move in form of a coronation song awaits one of these 5 singers. Let's just hope it doesn't ruin them.

Up next for scrutiny, the results of the Top 5.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

FLUNK Off: The Voice U.S. S5 Report Card

As The Voice approaches the close of its 5th season with 5 singers left, now is apt time to give the show its report card (Why now? To increase traffic to the blog, durrr. Also I kind of have an idea as to how the season may end already.) Are my thoughts all knowing of the audience consensus? Fuck no! I started this blog in part to the hype surrounding HRFH and Screech from S4.

(Besides, if I were really that all powerful I'd be like this with Colby Keller of Big Shoe Diaries fame. Hell, throw in Conner Habib of NewNowNext SEXpert fame in there as well. Yes I know full well what they do outside of the things I just mentioned.)

This is what I'm taking into consideration for grading the show:

1. Previous seasons V.S. this season

2. Song choices on the Live shows

3. Contestants (here's a hint...if you've read my blog, you can expect to see HRFH -2.0 with very low marks)

4. Phases of the show; meaning Battle Rounds, Knockouts and Live shows until now.

5. Elements of the show (here's another hint...montages and Taxicab Confessionals must die.)

Let's play rough and get it on!

1. Seasons Past V.S. Season 5: Last season got a bit of flack for not having the most "enigmatic" performers compared to S3 (You sons of bitches kept voting for HRFH and you wanted a charismatic performer...logic; methinks thou dost not possess it). Well if S4 was lukewarm, S5 is the cold fish compared to S3. Yes some of the contestants were good, but a lot of the interesting ones got ousted in either the Battle Rounds or the Knockouts.

In S1 V.S. S5...after considering S1's Battle Round turned Live show winners and S5 having Battle Round turned Knockout turned Live show winners, the better pool was in in S5; by 2 maybe 3 singers and I liked 4 people in S1 [S1 had Frenchie Davis, Casey Weston, Xenia and Nakia; S5 I considered Tamara Chauniece, Amber Nicole, Jacquie Lee, Stephanie Anne Johnson, Caroline Pennell and Matthew Schuler; James Wolpert kind of made up for his Knockout performance and has had an inconsistent run. Other than that, my favorites never win.]

In S2 V.S. S5...after considering S2's Battle Round turned Live show winners and the aforementioned S5 roster give or take James Wolpert, the better pool was in S5; by at least 1 singer [S2 had Katrina Parker, Kim Yarbrough, Erin Martin {I thought her audition of "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White T's was lovely}, Ashley De La Rosa and Moses Stone]

In S3 V.S. S5...considering the same format of Battle Rounds to Knockouts to Live shows, the stronger pool was in S3 by 1 pure singer in terms of hard numbers [S3 had Joselyn Rivera, Amanda Brown, Melanie Martinez, Cody Belew, Trevin Hunte, De'Borah & the Knockout surprise of Loren Allred]

In S4 V.S. S5...considering the current format, the stronger pool was in S4 but the fact my field of 13 (!) picks got reduced to 7 does play into the final grade [S4 had Amber Carrington, Caroline Glaser, Kris Thomas, Karina Iglesias, Sasha Allen, Holly Tucker and Michelle "Amazing Human" Chamuel].

In overall terms, S5 has been the 3rd best season to me in terms of contestants I like making it to the Live shows. Though in terms of format adjustments to where steals were just introduced in this year's Knockouts, S5 is the worst.

FINAL Grade for Seasons Past V.S. Now: C+ Get rid of the hype driven contestants earlier and this grade will change for the better.

2. Song Choices on the Live shows: While varied, songs by One Direction and Miley Cyrus were performed. F-...OK; I'm telling myself I have to be a touch more thorough with this bit [though let it be said teeny-bopper artists never help you.] Looking back through the songs performed on the show, although a mix of current and classic have been performed, I really can't say that a lot of songs picked actually help the contestants.
John Denver, Joni Mitchell, Reba McEntire, Katy Perry, Miguel, Etta James...and a lot of stuff in between. However, no one has the balls to perform any song by Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monae, Kelis, Lady Gaga or any artist that has originality alongside with vocals to aspire to. The bland choices a la Tom Petty, Ray LaMontagne etc., must be stopped. Also, would it kill any producers to have songs by past Voice contestants other than Cassadee Pope?

FINAL Grade: C-. The choices need to be a little more eyebrow raising for all the right reasons.

3. Contestants: The pools of talent The Voice manages to get is impressive in terms of its main competitors, American Idle...err Idol and...hmm; that's odd. I thought the X Factor was here. Maybe it missed its flight from the UK to the US...3 seasons ago. *shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade* In terms of how the Live show contestants did this season as a collective?

Let's rank them; starting with the first 8 acts to go this season...

Tied for last place (8th) - Nic Hawk and Olivia Henken; these two were terrible from the gate in singing. Nic went on to give the worst Live show performance in Voice U.S. anthology while Olivia couldn't sing and was boring to watch. F- for them both.

6th- Shelbie Z.; although a bubbly lass with projection, her allegiance to country music and Team Blake didn't make her anything special this season. Also, her performance of "Fancy" by Reba McEntire wasn't up to snuff with her previous efforts. C-

5th- Grey; the wedding singer turned aspiring artist lived up to her name by being relatively boring until her Live show performance of "Still Into You" by Paramore. However, the voting public was not on her side. C-

4th- Preston Pohl; the soulful male [this season] was OK against the aforementioned field, but a case of "too current, too soon" worked against him in the Live shows. C+

3rd- Stephanie Anne Johnson; someone I actually liked this season who went home too early. She at times sounded a bit too polished, but in her Live show performance brought grit. Sadly, X-Tina saved Josh Logan. B-

2nd- Tamara Chauniece; this was a case of the "Disco death knell" [a phenomenon from a voting public too stupid to realize that disco is awesome if sung on TV.] working against someone who should've stayed. B+

1st- Amber Nicole; from Blind Audition montage to budding dark-horse, her elimination can be blamed on the son of a bitch who sicked her with a Cassadee Pope song. Let this be a lesson; Cassadee Pope songs should NEVER be performed on this show again. NEVER. A-

Next, the 4 acts who followed them in elimination...

4th- CopyKat; may whoever held the door for her on the Blind Auditions be fired immediately. She is easily the most grating singer of this group. F-

3rd- Josh Logan; for all his attempts at being smooth, his rendition of "Man in The Mirror" by Michael Jackson was a miscast on every level. That and Stephanie Anne Johnson should've been in his spot X-Tina. D+

2nd- Jonny Gray; he did make it farther than I thought, but he was way too hit and miss and was a barely a hit with his rendition of "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. C

1st- Austin Jenckes; despite being a member of the Confederacy...err Team Blake, Austin was rather pleasing for a folk singer. However, his lack of a "breakout" moment cemented his fate. B-

Next, the 3 acts who followed them in elimination...

3rd- Ray Boudreaux; bland, boring...*yawns* Sorry, what were we talking about? *shaaaaaaaaaaaaade* He made it further than I ever expected him to. Still doesn't make up for the fact that he skated by mainly on Blake's confused arousal of him. Good job on giving Blake a lady-boner, but Adam does that a lot better than you (The Shevine jokes will not die. I will give them life support until you croak.) D

2nd- Matthew Schuler; yes I did like him, but his off night with a One Direction song sealed his fate. Also, X-Tina needs to be slapped for that "Rhythm Nation meets STOMP!" bullshit in the Top 8 for him. Still he was one of the few contestants on the show worth a damn every week, and with me that is very hard to be. A-

1st- Caroline Pennell; she amazed me in terms of going from a really nervous dork who can sing, to a dork who can sing very well. Give or take her performing a John Denver song, she had committed no major sin. Damn you East Coast/Central Coast Twitter! A+

The Top 5 as they are now...

5th- HRFH -2.0; this is the last terrible singer I hated from the beginning. I have said this before and I will say it again...an overrated backup singer for an internationally acclaimed music act; got all 4 chairs to turn; landed on Team Adam; defeated more deserving singers in the Battle Rounds and Knockout Rounds and sang her pre-Voice mentor's song in the Live shows...this is HRFH all over again. At least this one can project, but the hype makes me sick. F-

4th- Cole Vosbury; had things worked differently and he were still on Team Cee-Lo, I would like him. However, because he's on Team Blake and Blake must lose this season...I can't give him a lot of room. I choose to remember him as the Team Cee-Lo standout who sang the motherfucking theme to The Jeffersons and that is always a plus. B- [I was being very generous with that Jeffersons line.]

3rd- Will Champlin; his appeal has always been hard to understand. The fact he's in the Top 5 is astonishing in and of itself. However, he did have a performance I liked. His rendition of "Secrets" by OneRepublic did the impossible; it made a OneRepublic song tolerable. However, his magic faded from weeks on end and he had the nerve to try and sing "At Last" by Etta James knowing goddamn well that is Sasha Allen's song. C

2nd- James Wolpert; a kind of favorite of mine at first, he started off with two kickass performances. Then, he screwed up royally in the Knockouts by singing tacky arena rock. He made up for it slowly and surely...until he had the nerve to rip off Cody Belew's stage antics for his version of "Somebody to Love" by Queen. 2 really bad nights but a penchant for White Stripes songs make him someone I can live with. B-

1st- Jacquie Lee; despite giving some Selena Gomez vibes, Jacquie can sing very well. She started to ascend to front-runner status by bitchslapping her competition with a rendition of "Stompa" by Serena Ryder. However, her renditions of "Clarity" by Zedd ft. Foxes and "Cry Baby" by Janis Joplin were her biggest missteps of the competition. Yet because of her previous work, she is the best of the Top 5 as of now. A-

Live show contestant totals: 4 F's, 2 D's, 5 C's, 5 B's and 4 A's.

Top 5: 1 F, 1 C, 2 B's and 1 A.

FINAL Grade: C+ Despite the B's, only 1 A singer is in the Top 5. This is not satisfactory.

4. Phases of The Show: Considering format tweaks every now and then, it'll be tricky but not impossible to compare the seasons.

S1 worked like this; Blind Auditions, 2nd chance round [after the coaches had failed to make their teams full by the end of the regulated Blind Auditions.], Battle Rounds, Live playoffs and then Live shows. The playoffs determined which singers would make it to the Live shows. Each coach had to save one of their artists that didn't get the public vote. The teams were required to have 1 member of each team make the finale. The Top 8 [last 2 on each team] competed against each other in a 100 point distribution [ex. Singer A got 53 points and Singer B got 47 points] along with another 100 point distribution from the public votes. The final 4 that season got to write their own song and perform it in part 1 of the finale.
S2 worked like this; Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds Live playoffs and then Live shows. Like S1, each team was required to have 1 person represent them in the finale. This was determined by the points system as done in S1. Unlike S1, the final 4 of S2 did not have to compose and perform a song of their own.

S3 began some of the best changes and worked like this; Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds w/ Steals, Knockout rounds, Live playoffs and Live shows. Unlike S1 & S2, S3 onward was "No Man's Land" meaning that once the Live playoffs had concluded and the teams were set, every singer was judged equally. Unlike S1 & S2, the finals were determined by the 3 singers total left in the competition. Like S2, the final finalists did not have to compose and perform a song of their own.
S4 operated to the same drum as S3.

S5 had this format; Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds w/ Steals, Knockout round w/ Steals, Live playoffs and Live shows in S3 & S4 style "No Man's Land" realness. This season, the final finalists [in a really American Idol move] will be working with Ryan Tedder to produce an original song of Tedder's creation. The winner will debut that song during the Season finale.

In overall terms, no season has operated precisely the same [maybe S4 working just like S3] but the fact none of the final finalists since S1 are composing and performing their own songs, really neuters the creative aspect the artists crave. Also, the iTunes multiplier must be stopped. S3 and S4 were screwed by these damn bonuses going to the wrong people.

FINAL Grade: B+. No one can say it's the same gig every season, but in some cases The Voice needs to promise no more gimmicky shit

5. Elements of The Show: In the Live shows, apart from that damned iTunes bonus, certain elements in the Results show have bugged me. The things I write in this sentence detract from an A+ grade. Dear NBC...get rid of the montages in Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds, Taxicab...err Voice Confessionals in the live shows and the Instant-Save.

FINAL Grade: C

So, the S5 report card looks like this...

Seasons Past V.S. Season 5: C+

Song choices on the Live shows: C-

Contestants in the Live shows: C+

Phases of The Show this Season: B+

Elements of The Show: C

***UPDATE: I apparently glossed over Holly Henry from Team Blake who despite her allegiance to him was actually pleasing. That does not affect the grades, but she deserves credit for not biting it royally.***

As to who could win it all this season? I have a really strong sense that for 5 seasons in a row, it won't be someone I like. Here's a list of logistics as I see it...[if a certain two contestants are sent home]

If Cole and Will are sent home, I fear HRFH -2.0 could pull a miracle from her hat.

If Cole and HRFH -2.0 are sent home, Jacquie could win with Will in 2nd.

If HRFH -2.0 and Will are sent home, James will win by a narrow margin over Jacquie.

If Jacquie and James are sent home, Will would barely win against the field.

If Jacquie and HRFH -2.0 are sent home, Cole might win but barely against James.

If Cole and James are sent home, Jacquie will win.

I'm sure there's more scenarios I missed, but this is how I graded S5. Now FLUNK off!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: The Results Show Within an Arithmetic Problem

*This marks my 100th entry on the blog...my state of feeling is best described in this image:

It's pensive...not just me acknowledging that I'm fat and behind a computer. : P*

100 / 20 = the number of contestants left AND the season we're in [5...just in case you had to drop out of Elementary school or just don't care about basic math.] Tonight, we find out who advances based on votes and who East Coast Twitter (OK; Central Standard Time Twitter too) will inadvertently undermine by "Instant-save" (Which let's be honest, sounds like the lamest power-up in a poorly made video game made in the mid 1980s.) These are the people and things portion of a noun's definition that transpired on the only reason I really watch NBC (Sorry Siberia, The Blacklist, etc.)...

Let's play rough and get it on!

Kelly Clarkson kicks off the night by singing "Underneath the Tree" from her upcoming Christmas album (Kelly; do you need to pay THAT many bills?) She's really one of the few relevant acts in recorded music that I like. I am not reading that wonderful woman to filth...as a singer. The fact that she has resorted to a Christmas album? Questionable. VERY questionable. Oh and in a move that reads "Shameless Plug" she apparently has a Christmas special on the way. That and she had help from Blake who also had a Christmas special [him killing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer almost makes up for the She-Devil of S3 and Kewpie Doll.]

Coach's corner transpired and reiterated the stats of the coaches until tonight. Adam is remarkably unscathed, Cee-Lo is paid to be a good sport, X-Tina is thanking God almighty that she didn't place 4th this time and Blake is well...drunk off of his Irish coffee mix from Starbucks and Pinkie's Liquor : P Anyway, he still thinks he can win.

Matthew, Jacquie and HRFH -2.0 took the stage to perform Florence Welch's "You Got the Love". My screen kept switching between the show and this bubblegum pink fodder protection. My TV loves me after all *shaaaaaaaaaaaaade*

Voice Jesus Doesn't smite:  Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina. Looks like X-Tina knows how to oversell a fallen mic stand during a grit-free Janis Joplin rendition. ; ) Kidding, with her second performance Jacquie definitely deserved this stay.

Blake and his S1 contestant Xenia then took the stage to sing "Silver Bells". Xenia is just as good as she was in S1. No, the positive demeanor is not the result of a fever dream; when people who don't suck take the stage I am happy.
Leave it to Taxicab Confessionals to bring me back to normal. Cody Belew gave the only answer worth a damn in S3. Stop trying to replicate such magic.

Voice Jesus Doesn't smite: Cole Vosbury of Team Blake. Dear "Team Cole" c. him being stolen by Blake...you are wrong. As much as I can stomach Cole, Blake needs to lose this season hard.

James, Will and Cole take the stage with Extreme member Nuno Bettencourt to sing that song metal-heads hate with a burning passion. Though Lyndsey Parker of Reality Rocks lost her shit in a happy way with this song being performed. At least she'll have something to love in her recap *Shameless Plug from an honorary recap enthusiast to someone who gets paid for it.*

Voice Jesus Doesn't smite: HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam. Ugh; the hype has not left the building.

The Top 6 apparently were rehearsing for the 1st annual Voice Holiday Pageant. My kid isn't in this, so...peace on Earth; mercy mild on the fodder organizer this time. -_-

Voice Jesus Doesn't smite: Will Champlin of Team Adam. Yikes. Will being saved again...is bad.

The Bottom 2: Matthew Schuler and James Wolpert of Teams X-Tina and Adam

East Coast Twitter saves: James Wolpert of Team Adam.

Getting the Boot: Matthew Schuler of Team X-Tina. Great; Twitter doesn't know what consistency means.

All in all, if I've ever considered any of the remaining artists my favorites, there is a sinking feeling that for 5 seasons in a row, I won't have cast a single vote for the winner.

Up next for scrutiny, the Performances of the Top 5.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Voice U.S. S5 Recap: SIXpence None the Richer

*Personally, because this is my 99th post for the blog this episode can also be called...

"I Got 99 Problems, But This Post Ain't One"

You're welcome for me not using that as the main title. : )*

For those that hate one hit wonders from the 90s...

Also, that's the source of inspiration for the title. Sixpence None the Richer was the band responsible for the song "Kiss Me"...and when it comes to HRFH -2.0 I hope she ends up with sixpence, none richer. Tonight marked the Top 6 performances. Like seasons past, from this point on, it's a "twofer"...meaning that each artist gets to sing a song of their choice and the coaches pick a song for them to do. Let's hope nobody is on "Hardcore Dots" [meaning out of their fucking minds {credit to Twitter Account Holder @ImageFighter13 for the phrase}] with song selection. Any "Bleeding Love" decisions and I will fucking snap. Enough of that; let's review the nouns that transpired on this episode...

Let's play rough and get it on! *BUZZ UPDATE: Remember when I said each of this year's final finalists will write their own songs with Ryan Tedder? Apparently it went Ryan Tedder will be writing a song for each of this year's final finalists and the winner will debut it on the finale/day they win.*

First up for scrutiny, Cole Vosbury of Team Blake singing “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates. Blake gave that song and a new guitar. That guitar was cute. *shaaaaaade* Come showtime, Cole ends up kind of benefiting from this song...but admittedly I couldn't help but think he looked like a decadent but really blasphemous Rabbi. O_O Coach's corner had more of the "lurve" that seriously...I've come to put up with. Remember; the coaches call themselves coaches. This is more peer on peer tutoring from industry relevant people (Yes, Blake is relevant to the country music industry.) Cole may have benefited a little bit from the song, but his run may come to end about now.

Second up for the night, HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam singing “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley. Adam chose this song for her. Incidentally this pigeonholing of her makes me love Adam even more. : ) Come showtime, she gets a touch too emotional singing it. It's one thing to connect emotionally to a song; it's another if about 4 lines in, I think you may start weeping or overselling it. However, goes to show what I know because the coaches "lurve" this performance because the bitch can sing page 16 of the phone book and sound "glorious". -_- Hype must be stopped and she must lose.

Third, Matthew Schuler of Team X-Tina singing “Story of My Life” by One Direction. This is his selection so a bit of extra scrutiny will be placed on him and the other artists. EWWW with One Direction being sung. At least he dedicated this to his family. For the longest time in the first portion of the song he sounded way too subdued. He made up his "slacking" in the end but the arrangement screwed with the overall vibe. Coach's corner is sort of reminding us that a la "Wrecking Ball" he can take a coal lump of a song and make it into a diamond. However, this time the diamond was not internally flawless.

Fourth, Will Champlin of Team Adam singing “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. He dedicates this to the reason he's a Dad With Dreams...the Mrs. and kin. CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE. Come showtime, he screws up by not playing the piano. Seriously, he started by doing lovely piano work but he decides to ditch that last minute. His half assed rendition of the song doesn't help his case either. Coach's corner? They comment of the piano being played first...what they didn't do is call his ass out for not staying on the piano. Sorry, but don't give any reason for ANY critic let alone me to think "That was poorly planned."

Fifth, James Wolpert of Team Adam singing “Fell in Love With a Girl” by the White Stripes. He dedicates this to his Dad for giving him the strength to do White Stripes songs in public. Come showtime, he was very pleasing with this version of the song. This type of rock services him very well and he knew what to do with this. It almost makes me forget last week's shameless rip-off performance; almost. Coach's corner seemed to try and critique him...on shit that wasn't there [Adam claimed he botched it somewhere in the middle

Closing out Act I of the Top 6, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina singing “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin at the whim of X-Tina. OK; this on paper is one HELL of a miscast. The High School Musical sweet girl singing a song by the woman behind "Dem Kozmic Blues". O_O She may have done well with Screamin' Jay Hawkins, but Jacquie seems way too sweet to channel the pain and grit exuded by the late Joplin. Rehearsals sort of perpetuate the fear that she may not handle this. X-Tina tries to reassure her that she doesn't suck. Come showtime, her projection is beautiful. However, the grit was never fully developed and I am livid at X-Tina for forcing this song on her. Coach's corner went berserk when X-Tina noted that the mic stand was on the ground due to passion. Fine...that is a legal move in marketing, but sorry; I can't be the ONLY one that can call her out for lack of grit.

WHOA! It's Super Wacky Second Act of The Top 6 Time!

"Have I been reduced to writing this type of shit already?"
-Me [no, I don't actually own a muumuu; I find them tacky.]

Act II of the Top 6 is kicked off by, Cole Vosbury of Team Blake singing “Better Man” by James Morrison. He dedicates this to his first love. O_O Wow, talk about a left-field dedication. Come showtime, he sounds gritty in a bearable way. However, with his collective efforts I still think his last day of performing on the show is tonight. Coach's corner...ugh; this "love fest" needs to at least include Gatorade or horny goat weed to keep me going. Sexual facetiousness aside, they "lurve" him singing a song dedicated to his ex...except when X-Tina did the right thing by calling him out on a facet that she felt was not satisfied with [she felt he over-rehearsed].

Eighth, HRFH -2.0 of Team Adam vocally caterwauling singing “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry. She dedicates this to her parents. A Katy Perry song that isn't "Firework"? Bye gurl, bye. Come showtime, there was something I gave her "credit" for...

"At least that giant MRI machine she's performing near is fabulous. #AllTAllShade #ThisIsTheVoice"

This was just so...maudlin and tacky. Coach's corner worships the "phone book" singer yet again. YEESH.

Ninth, Matthew Schuler of Team X-Tina singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. Her intent is to have him do soul for a change. Considering he's indie obsessed, I'm thinking "You're surprised he hasn't done soul yet? REALLY?" Come showtime, he returned true to his bitchslapping ways and added that oomph that was missing from his other recent performances. Coach's corner seemed pleased with his range, but "lurved" for all the right reasons this time. 

Tenth, Will Champlin of Team Adam singing “Hey Brother” by Avicii. This is at the whim of Adam who wants him to experiment with "genre-less" music. O_O Come showtime, he just botches it, but as seen in Jacquie's performance of "Cry Baby", the coaches sometimes pick bad songs for their artists. Coach's corner may be sealing his fate as most of Adam's time speaking is trying to justify the song's existence. O_O Sorry Will but it's you, HRFH -2.0 and COle in the bottom 3.

Eleventh, Jacquie Lee of Team X-Tina singing “The Voice Within” by X-Tina. Guess who she dedicates this song to? Come showtime, Jacquie has more than made up for her earlier performance. This is HER return to form along side her teammate's return to form. Coach's corner mainly relied on X-Tina being flattered by Jacquie's dedication. Considering it's X-Tina's song, she had more than enough license to "lurve" this rendition of the song.

Closing out the Top 6 performances collectively, James Wolpert of Team singing Meatloaf’s signature song (Do you really think I'm writing out that song title in its entirety? It isn't Fiona Apple's When the Pawn... impossible, but it is much too lengthy.) at the whim of Adam. This is meant to play off of James' theater-driven side. OK then; dramatics with room to potentially overshadow him? Bad call, Adam. Come showtime, he starts off rather pleasant. Throughout he is the only contestant to nail both songs he did. That means something.

All in all, who gets ousted will be determined by the same people asked to elect leaders...the voting public. May God have mercy on us : P.

Next up for scrutiny, the Results of the Top 6.