[This marks the 250th post for the blog; YAY!]
In terms of "big names" in the music industry, the NBC Program with Ratings struck platinum and gold when it was revealed that Rihanna was this season's Knockout Rounds advisor. In terms of live singers with the technical skills, they got a big name that's cool with the kids these days -_-
Despite that, I among the masochistic viewers of the show are wondering just how the hell 2+2=4 in this applied context. How can Rihanna help Mr. and Mr. Shevine*, Gwen and Pharrell narrow down their teams for the Playoff rounds [since it's probably not live anymore until the Top 12]?
*For the record, the only artist that's sung anything with Rihanna was Adam back when Maroon 5 released a publicity stunt remix and music video for "If I Never See Your Face Again" back in 2010/2011.*
The favorites left since the Battle Rounds? Regina Love [Gwen], Tim Atlas [Pharrell], Madi Davis [Pharrell], Evan McKeel [Pharrell] and Shelby Brown [Adam]. Yup, this could be a short recapping season and then some...O_O These are the nouns, pronouns, gerunds, banter, marklar, fuckery, FlirtCruiting and questionable song choices that transpired...
Let's play rough and get it on!
First up, Andi & Alex vs. Blaine Mitchell of Team Adam. Andi & Alex picked "Stupid Boy" by Keith Urban. Blaine picked "Hold Back the River" by James Bay.
Rehearsals indicate that Andi & Alex think country music shows versatility as opposed to better music. Rihanna actually calls out their lack of individual flair despite great harmonizing. Blaine is actually encouraged to do "weird hand things" by Rihanna which proved she was able to provide surprise vocal coaching and good stage coaching. His vocals still need a lot of work. O_O
Come showtime, Blaine's vocals were underdeveloped when he wasn't outright missing notes and being terrible. Andi & Alex delivered yet another consistent but not stellar performance which more often than not spells death knell on the show.
Sans fuckery, Adam ended up picking Blaine as the winner. Andi & Alex aren't stolen and got the boot from S9.
Second, Braiden Sunshine vs. Ellie Lawrence of Team Gwen. Braiden picked "Feeling Good" as done by Michael Buble. Ellie picked "Cool for The Summer" by Demi Lovato. Rehearsals indicate Braiden's image wasn't matching his voice; that's kind of supposed to be the point. Rihanna was able to play off of a critique Braiden spotted first [voice cracking]. Ellie picked a bad song and tempo was noted by Rihanna before Gwen called her out on that same thing (Here's 2 tips free of charge, Ellie; 1. Don't pick a song meant for live performances. 2. DON'T PICK A GODDAMN DEMI LOVATO SONG. Hope that helps.)
Come showtime, Braiden's crooning only feels forced because of his age. If he were 25, he'd be a frontrunner deserving of such a thing, but since he's young he needs to loosen up. Ellie sounded bad and her vocals didn't even match the tempo of this overrated and terrible Katy Perry reject sounding song. Sans fuckery, Gwen ended up picking Braiden as the winner. YAAAAAAAAAAAS Ellie lost miserably and deservedly so. She was not stolen and got the boot from S9.
Third, Barrett Baber vs. Blind Joe of Team Blake. Barrett picked "Colder Weather" by Zac Brown Band. Blind Joe picked "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" by Wayland Jennings & Willie Nelson. Rehearsals indicate Barrett was homesick and related to the song that way. Diction was his biggest obstacle as his diction was interfering with technical skills. Blind Joe was letting nerves get the best of him even though he has personality as a plus for him.
Come showtime, Barrett was able to look like he had emotional connections to the song; however, his singing sounded a bit forced and dare I say strained. Blind Joe hit bum notes from the start and ended up sounding so honky-tonk and twang-laden in the worst possible context. GAH. Sans fuckery, Blake ended up picking Barrett as the winner. Blind Joe is not stolen and got the boot from S9.
Fourth, Amy Vachal vs. Madi Davis of Team Pharrell. Madi picked "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell. Amy picked "A Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James. Rehearsals indicate Madi needed to connect with her most powerful "voice" and the fact Rihanna was pointing this out is amazing. Amy sounded GOD AWFUL at first. Pharrell and Rihanna each gave depth and swagger critiques respectively.
Come showtime, Amy sounded better than rehearsals but a bit too "fairy princess" subdued as opposed to ether level sexiness that Rihanna was directing her to be. Madi won in my eyes the minute her first notes sounded better than what Amy was trying to do the entire time. Rihanna's commentary got to Madi quicker and it showed as her full voice was on display. Sans fuckery, Pharrell ended up picking Madi as the winner. YAAAAAS a favorite of mine takes on an "early favorite" and wins!
Amy is given another chance by both Mr. and Mr. Shevine and sans that fuckery, she picks Adam as her new coach.
Fifth, Chance Pena vs. Ivonne Acero of Team Blake. Chance picked "Demons" by Imagine Dragons. Ivonne picked "Part of Me" by Katy Perry. Rehearsals indicate Chance thinks he's folk or indie. His lower voice was called out for sounding like it wasn't being used properly...by Rihanna [and Blake]. Ivonne picked a Katy Perry song...-_- however, she attempted to improve on the depth of the song by connecting her S8 failure to being a S9 comeback girl.
Come showtime, Chance's lower registers were so off by at least a key and a half. Compound that with breath issues and Ivonne was essentially given the win by reason of fail. Ivonne continued to sound improved even if she needs to develop a warmth to her tone instead of relying on improved projection. Sans fuckery, Blake ended up picking Ivonne as the winner. DURRR; the one who hit better notes moved on. Chance was not stolen and got the boot from S9.
Closing out round 1 of the Knockouts, Jordan Smith vs. Viktor Kiraly of Team Adam. Jordan picked "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele. Viktor picked "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. UH-OH. Alicia Keys songs spell DISASTER in this phase. Rehearsals indicate Jordan needed more rhythmic inflections on top of his alleged talent. Rihanna added swagger coaching to him [good luck]. Viktor was thinking too much instead of just...well...remembering the lyrics.
Come showtime, Jordan was flat and beige in every register that didn't result in a strained and horribly executed falsetto. Sans fuckery...the show already revealed Viktor was getting stolen by a coach DURING A COMMERCIAL BREAK. I see you trying to make that Glee episode looking stereotype, Jordan, a thing. I SEE YOU (Which was for the better as most of Viktor's performance was GOD AWFUL, nasal and had this CATS musical extra sounding realness. UGH...)
Adam declared Jordan the winner and Viktor ended up getting stolen by Gwen. Is she TRYING to come in 4th place? She's doing it flawlessly. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
All in all, somebody needs to become the Kelly Clarkson of this show. Preferably someone I like.
Up next for scrutiny, Part II of the Knockouts.