Kiiiiiiiind of underwhelmed this season, guys. Or is this how it always feels during the blind auditions?
- Observation #1: There was a family interview where they hugged and a Starbucks cup (*cough* prop) fell over and nothing spilled out. How much you wanna bet they’re empty??? And just placed randomly around the shots?
- Observation #2: A lot of the sob stories can’t sing all that well… but they have interesting stories that humanize the show, so I get it.
- HOLLY HENRY. I like like like like like her! I like this song, I like the way she did it and didn’t mind that she had that typical soft raspy quirky voice because she showed she can sing with power too. And, Team BLAKE. Wee!
- And Johnny Gray — I liked him. Great, GREAT song choice and he had a really strong opening. Plus, seems like a nice guy. Yay!
- And yes, I think Tessanne Chin is good… but too many similarities to Judith Hill! Producers, we can see what you’re trying to do! Back-up singer, mixed heritage, power vocals. At least she seems nicer… and I will admit, hearing her talk is super cool. But… yeah, not the end all be all by any means.
Wellllcomeeee back, the Voice! And what’s that you have? AN EMMY???? Well-deserved, I’d say! And welcome back to our dear old coaches, Cee-Lo and Christina. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting season, no doubt.
Too lazy to recap everything, but the things I thought that were worth commenting on:
- Favorite line of the night: “You can’t lose either way…” Blake: “Yes, you can.” HA! Blake, I missed you!
- Kat – super strong voice, but can’t see the rocker thing making it to the end…
- The young blond (Caroline) — felt like the producers were trying to hard to recreate someone young and innocent like Danielle Bradbery, who obviously won last season. BUT, her voice reminded me more of Caroline Glaser, who was eliminated. Not expecting her to make it very far.
- Donna Allen – obviously an amazing vocalist, but will never win.
- Matthew Schuler – LOVE. GOOD. GOOD. KEEP HIM. I think he’s charming and sweet and I love his song choice (not what you’d expect, arranged and sung interestingly) – he’s going to do well! I feel it in my bones. (Couldn’t believe he went with Christina, but okay!)
- Nic – good for a laugh, but can’t imagine him making it to the end… and you know, only like 1 in 4 make it past the knock offs!
- Shelbie Z – am curious about this one… liked her, but nothing jaw-droppingly awesome. But that being said, I ate my words when Amber Carrington made it to the end last year!
- Josh Logan – you know what, Microsoft ruined this song for me. But I still like your voice and your quiet, gentle demeanor.
- And the closer of the episode – James Wolpert – I had never heard his song before, and the first half of his song wasn’t that exciting… but then… he hit the middle and you KNEW something good was going to happen. Goosebumps! (Plus, he’s cute! and he’s clearly smart, educated, and made a very intentional decision to a) work for the Apple store and b) drop out/”postpone” school). Curious what else he can sing!
Episode 2, here we come!
I’m so behind that I seriously contemplated never catching back up… but hey, it’s the end of September and I had started this draft, so might as well *try* to finish it!
- New Year’s Resolution Update: same ol’ same ol’. No Yelp reviews (sigh) and have not been logging finances. Sorry self! Still doing well on flossing, avoiding fast food/soda/coffee, and reading books!
- Recently discovered that I can multi-task my YA reading — I can walk/sometimes jog on our treadmill while devouring easy-to-read YA fiction at the same time. Wahoo!
- The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays (FIREWORKS!). Played Settlers & did to-go Thai BBQ before watching lots of fireworks from our friend D’s parents house in Los Feliz.
- Attended our church’s Women’s Retreat and it was sweeter than I could have hoped. Had a really, really good conversation and started reading this book on grace that has really blown my mind and challenged my thinking.
- Celebrated my 26th birthday! Had a bunch of great friends over for Settlers, catching up, and delicious healthy food from CCC.
- In preparation for aforementioned gathering, finally bought/sold some furniture on Craigslist 🙂 So satisfying!
- Found out dear friends are moving to Louisville (pronounced “Looa-ville”) and planned a trip to visit them utilizing our newly earned Southwest Companion Pass.
- Regular quarterly trip up to Portland for work — discovered Prasad in the Pearl District (so crucial for the mornings), ate at Little Bird, stayed at the Governor Hotel (which is SUPER close to my dear favorite place Powells), and another fun trip to the Nike Employee Store
- Got a much needed massage after traveling — love Sophia.
- Indulged in a night out compliments of Dine LA at Coupa Cafe in Beverly Hills — REALLY REALLY GOOD broccoli soup. Like the best I’ve ever had. And B wanted to lick my bowl clean–that’s saying a lot. Broccoli soup.
- A friend from Cal performed in an alumni performance of RENT at her HS–my first time seeing it! Was a lot of fun, and stayed out late (gasp!) to grab after-dinner drinks at BRU HAUS nearby.
- A really fun Planning Team outing and intense planning meeting — my first time doing laser tag in SO LONG!
- A couple of exciting engagements and LOTS of upcoming weddings! Two in September (B and I are each going to one, ironically), starting to plan for my HS friend’s November wedding in Nor-Nor-Cal <- ha (probably without B), and save-the-dates for our first 2014 weddings in February & March. Crazy!
- In the world of summer television, got into the super-cheesy but still entertaining Who Dunnit and while super late to the party on Master Chef – we LOVE it!
- Babysat our friends’ little boy N… seriously such a cutie pie and Bella loves him too 😀
- John Mayer concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. So much fun! B and I both like him (which is unusual) and really looking forward to his new album.
- Checked out the new West LA location of Daikokuya with my stepbro A and his gf K, fun to meet up with them in our hood 🙂
It’s weird to watch an episode of The Voice and not be anticipating what craziness Judith Hill will pull off… or what interesting vocal twists and turns Sarah Simmons will perform. I miss them.
But the show must go on, eh?
It does feel like The Country Voice now, with even Sasha freaking Allen singing country. Her other song, though, was Aretha. And it was Good. And it was a nice respite from all the country.
While Holly Tucker and Amber Carrington are clearly strong vocalists and do really well, I just can’t find anything SPECIAL about them to draw me in. If anything, it feels like they’re going after what makes Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson so great, but the world already has a Carrie Underwood and we already have a Kelly Clarkson!
Danielle Bradbery, on the other hand… I loved her second song! That ending was fannnntastic. The favorite to win, right?
And Michelle Chamuel, somehow you have charmed the ears off of America and we LOVE you. It is so strange. Somehow your quirkiness and genuine nervousness in the first few episodes has been replaced by a quiet determination and confidence that allows you to sing Taylor Swift with a straight face (I love Taylor but I can’t hear this song without hearing goats anymore).
I’m also impressed (again) by Usher and the strings he can pull. I can’t wait until we get a Bieber appearance! But wait. He’s not having the best PR of his life so mayyyybe not.
And okay fine, the Swon Brothers. I can’t believe they’re still here! I will say that they seem like fun guys, based on the little tidbits you see in interviews and videos… but, still, I’m picking them as most likely to get eliminated. And since I haven’t watched tonight’s episode… that’ll be my theory for now.
I’ve skipped a few weeks of blog posts but that last elimination stunned me, so it was time to put the pen to paper (or fingers to the keys).
Top 12 -> Top 10
- Three weeks later, I can’t say that any one of the performances stuck out in my mind… so I won’t bother highlighting any.
- Was not surprised Garrett was eliminated. He just wasn’t the strongest, despite having a seemingly sweet personality and great rapport with Shakira.
- VEDO had such a great story and charisma, but this really was a season for the ladies.
Top 10 -> Top 8
- Even though I’ve never been the biggest Judith fan, her Michael Jackson rocked! (can’t find the official version for some reason)
- Big kudos to Holly Tucker — I kind of loved hearing “How Great Thou Art” on national TV… not to mention it was very timely give all the destruction in Oklahoma.
- And I loved Michelle Chamuel covering Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason”:
- Kris & Josiah going home… was sad, but not surprising, again. If anything, I’m proud of them for getting this far!
Top 8 -> Top 6
- Michelle’s “Grenade” was awesome — props to Usher for great song choices for Michelle the past few weeks.
- But… in my opinion, absolute standout performance was Amber Carrigton’s “Skyfall”. So gorgeous. And it shows crazy versatility because she’s a country singer! Or well, country-pop. Makes me a little worried for Ms. Danielle!
- OMG that elimination!!! I totally get it. Sarah’s been at the bottom before so it wasn’t a complete shocker… but I just really liked her! From the very beginning — that blind audition video really, really sold me.
- And Judith… so pro, so polished. Maybe that’s really what screwed her in the end?
And at the very least, it’s clearly a country-dominant season, so props to Holly (she’s still here?!), Amber, Danielle, and the Swon Brothers. All the non-country fans can now collectively back Michelle and Sasha… will be interesting to see if they can out-vote the rest of the country bloc. OR maybe this overwhelmingly country season convinced the rest of America to tune out, hence the drop in ratings?
Nothing entirely surprising, but suspenseful, nonetheless! This atypical Wednesday episode also marked the return of the Voice I remember… the Voice that loves to fill up screentime with random performances and guest artists that frankly, I don’t care much for. Thank goodness for Hulu and fast forward!
- Safe: Holly Tucker & Danielle Bradbery (what I predicted)
- Blake Saved: Swon Brothers
- I don’t know if I believe Blake when he says, “This isn’t one of the scenarios I expected” because it’s what I expected! And to be honest, I’m pretty sure the Swon Brothers aren’t going to make it through the next round (nor would Justin have) so it’s just letting them down easy.
- Holly really endeared herself to everyone with her opening up about “I don’t feel beautiful” and clearly it converted into votes.
- And I love Danielle! Ever since she sang T. Swift…
- Safe: Sasha Allen & Kris Thomas (not surprising)
- Shakira Saved: Garrett Gardner
- Do you really think Shakira pulled Garrett’s name out of the bag and decided to save him? Loca! I do think that Garrett is really really improving and he’s obviously become one of Shakira’s favorites on a personal level, and given that Karina really screwed up a couple weeks ago, I think it’s fair that she didn’t get another chance.
- Sasha was a shoo-in and I think Kris was the logical 2nd winner because of his unique, strong voice.
- Aside from Vedo, he’s one of the only strong male singers left.
- Safe: Michelle Chamuel & Vedo (what I predicted, but a little surprising)
- Usher Saved: Josiah
- Again, I don’t know if I believe Usher’s whole “Didn’t see that one coming” but then again… I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks Josiah’s just a pretty face but like I said with Karina, I think Cathia already got her “second chance” so it seemed fair that it was time for her to go. Not to mention, there are already a LOT of really strong powerful female singers and I just don’t think she could stand her own.
- MICHELLE! Even though I had a feeling she’d make it through, I still got a little “squee!” when they called her name. Michelle’s success will be driven a lot by the force of her real, unpolished personality and the power of all the “dorks” voting out there.
- And Vedo… one of the stronger male singers and the things going on in his personal life and the way he’s presented them on the show really allow people to connect with him. Whether it’s a smart move or just being real… it’s definitely helping!
- PS: Cathia had a great “going away” speech — with great spirit.
- PPS: Anyone else notice that super cute way Josiah & Michelle were holding their hands as they left??? uh, that would be an adorable couple. And great publicity.
- Safe: Judith Hill & Amber Carrington (half… surprised?)
- Adam Saved: Sarah Simmons
- I hoped/wanted to assume Sarah would be safe (second to Judith, of course) but Amber really killed it in her solo performance so I wasn’t 100% surprised. It must be the power of Blake+Miranda (or something), but the country fans are clearly voting!
- I also wasn’t surprised that Adam chose Sarah over Caroline Glaser, because let’s be real–Caroline’s voice and style can’t compete with some of these other pros at this point.
- Random thought: How do you think it feels to be a show front-runner (Judith) but have to pretend to be shocked and thankful when you get voted through? I wonder if you get tired of it.
AND–I just realized, despite Shakira’s huge following and popularity among the Latin-American world… not a single one is left at this point. Maybe next year?
Phew! Down to the final 12! I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of the coaches’ saves eliminated next, but hope that Sarah can somehow make herself more lovable and vote-for-me-able. Sounds like the next few weeks will be live shows + results shows on Mondays & Tuesdays respectively. Can’t wait.
Yet another round of eliminations, this time with “America” voting for two, their coach saving a third, and then sending one person from each team home. A hybrid of sorts, which I like. Sometimes coaches really do know their contestants best and America’s just dumb (or too superficial). But, at the end of the day, that coach isn’t going to buy 1,000 of their records, yknow? So America it is.
Across the two episodes, I really only liked a few of the songs from the second. Of course, Sarah and Judith were awesome, but I didn’t get that overwhelmingly awesome feeling toward any of the performance. Random other observations:
- I love, love, love Usher’s coaching methods (so random, but creative!)
- The coach mashups (Blake + Shakira and Usher + Adam) were really interesting
- I loved that there was so much to fit into each episode there was less room for filler. Thank goodness.
- Blake is SO enthusiastic and effusive… I wonder if it works in favor for his contestants?
- Blake chose really country songs, but I suppose he’s appealing to the country audience? Would have almost preferred he pick more pop-friendly songs so that other people could relate, but I was right there with Usher and his “this is my first country concert” feeling.
- Shakira (I think) chose really, really good songs for her contestants.
The performances I particularly liked:
Garrett Gardner – he’s always better than I expect!
Holly Tucker – but I don’t know if she can really compete with…
Danielle Bradbery – I think she has greater commercial potential than Sarah Simmons, even though I love Sarah’s voice
and Sasha Allen woooo!!!
Have a favorite?? I haven’t seen the verdicts yet, so no spoilers please!