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  1. I think Cassadee Pope from way back in Season 3 remains the most successful winner, with several gold and platinum records and a Grammy. Jordan Smith (Season 9) and Danielle Bradbury (Season 4) have also had some commercial success. But for the most part, winners have not done all that well. There have been many complaints that contestants receive little support after the show is over. But I think equally important is that: · The audience for the show is not at all representative of the general music buying public. To win The Voice, you usually need to appeal both musically and in terms of personality to women over 50 from middle-America. There is a reason why they do so many songs that are 30 to 60 years old. Covering too many songs that came out in this century is almost the kiss of death. · Having a good voice and being likable isn’t enough to make it big in the industry. You need an artistic vision (preferably along with song-writing chops) that is going to set you apart in today’s highly competitive and extremely fractured music business. This is particularly true if you are not a country singer. Too many of winners have been like Todd Tilghman; nice guys with decent voices, who have zero chance of any kind of commercial success. It’s probably no coincidence that the show’s most successful past contestant in terms of sales remains Melanie Martinez, with 3 platinum and 7 gold records (and with a current charting single possibly on its way to another platinum). But she finished only 6th in Season 3 when she was just 16 and didn’t make it big until 2 or 3 years later once her music had matured. No one is ever going claim that Melanie is more than a decent vocalist, but she does have a defined and very unique artistic vision that sets her apart and gained her legions of die-hard young fans, almost despite having been on The Voice. Several other non-winners have made it big in less commercial genres like Christian or gospel music. This includes another non-winner in Koryn Hawthorne (Season 8 ) who has won Grammy’s in this last category. Even though the show has not produced any really big stars, it has had a very positive effect of the careers of many past contestants to the extent of helping them make a career out of music even it often at a local level. I think this is what keeps people trying out for the show.
  2. I also thought Thurderstorm did the best overall, both in this episode and for the season as a whole. He's also the only one of the finalists whom I think we may hear from in the future. Toneisha has a fantastic voice, but I wasn't too thrilled by either song she performed in this episode. Her original was lovely, but was more of a lullaby than I song I would actually listen to. Todd did what Todd does. Good voice, but not even close to as exceptional as either Thurderstorm or Toneisha. He takes no risks or shows any kind artistry, sticking very strictly to what he knows how to do. In other words, a typical Team Blake winner. I was a bit disappointed with both CammWess and Micah. They both faltered during their covers and neither one had an original that stood out to me. They were both much better in previous weeks. I would much rather have seen what Allegra, Megan or Joanna could have done in the final. Thunderstorm should win this rather easily if it was based purely on talent, but I suspect that Todd has it in the bag given the demographics of Voice viewers.
  3. I thought all 5 women gave very good performances, though Allegra and Toneisha were a touch above the others. I feel particularly bad for Allegra because I think she would have had a decent chance of making the final under the normal format (I suspect it would have come down to very evenly matched sing-off between her, Micah and Cammwess, where I think she might have been able to prevail if the two guys split the votes). My interest in the finale is lessened somewhat by the fact that Todd seems to be the odds on favorite to win. Vocally, I would rate him no better than 7th or 8th among the Top-9 (alongside the equally hit or miss Zan and Joanna). But we all know that this is mostly a popularity contest and likable Dad's tend to have an edge. On a separate note, I really liked Thurderstorm's new wife. He seems to have found a good one. But given that she's Aussie and he'd been living somewhere back east, I wonder why they are Portland?
  4. I think we ended up with pretty much the correct Top-9, with the singular exception of Todd. I would have taken either Joei or Arie over him. They both out-sung him by a considerable margin in their last two performances. Out of personal preference, I would also have picked Zan as the top singer on Team Kelly. But Cammwess was equally deserving, so its no big deal. I do hope at least one of the women makes the final. All 5 of them are deserving.
  5. I also thought AI did a much better job of producing these home performances. This seemed like something that could have been put on in the 1970's (with a few performances that were just as cheesy as what you would have gotten in a 1970's show - looking at you Todd, Michael, and Mandi Thomas). Anyway, my two favorites from each team were: Team Nick: Thurderstorm and Allegra (in that order) Team John: Zan and Cammwess Team Kelly: Megan and Micah Team Blake: Joanna and Toneisha For the sing-off, I would go with Arie, Joei, and Mandy Castillo (I can't really chose a fourth since I don't think any of the rest deserved to even get that far). Best performance of the night: Thurderstorm Performance I most want to watch again: Zan Worst performance of the night: Michael (but only because Cederice at least put on an interesting performance and didn't massacre the vocals). I'm most nervous about the results for Team Blake, because Todd's over the top energy seems to have made him very popular, even though he hasn't had a really good vocal performance since his Blind Audition and was easily outsung by everyone else on his team this week
  6. I thought most of the performances were fairly good, without anybody really standing out. I did kind of miss having more uptempo songs. But given the format, it makes that most contestants went with slower songs. This does make it difficult to pick which four I would eliminate. But judging on just this week's performances, two of them should be Dillon for his lackluster cover of Yesterday and Grace for that mess of she made of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. After that its purely subjective. The performances I enjoyed the most were from Julia, Jonny, Makayla, and maybe Arthur. So I hope those four stay for at least another week.
  7. I thought the women really brought it in this episode. I think Allegra’s performance was my favorite, but Toneisha, Tayler, and Arei were all pretty great. I did find what Micah did with Graveyard quite interesting, but also kind of agree with the coaches that it's just not a great choice for a singing competition. Meanwhile, Tayler gave an almost perfect performance in every way, even if on an old classic that has been done to death. It's a pity that she got sent home. I think Micah himself recognized this given that he posted the following on YouTube: "Tayler should have won. I think we all know that. I knew that from the moment I found out what I was singing. But Kelly chose me for some reason and I can’t help but be grateful. Thanks for your kind words and support. I definitely have something to prove in the lives." I did get a kick out of the way James Taylor almost immediately fell in love with Graveyard (with which he clearly was unfamiliar). This is a great compliment to Halsey, who's strength as a song writer is often overlooked. For the first time I was a bit disappointed with Thunderstorm. I would probably still have picked him over Mandy (even though she did give a technically good performance), but it just wasn’t up to level he’s shown in previous rounds. The 4-way comes down to Michael and Samantha. I might give it to her by the smallest of margins, but will not be upset if he gets more votes. At this point, Nick's team suddenly doesn't look so weak after all. With Allegra, Arie and now Thunderstorm, he's got some real stars on his team. Anyway, it sounds like they are going to follow Idol's lead and have the supposed live rounds performed from everyone's homes. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. I guess we'll find out on May 4.
  8. I find Abigail to be almost equally self-centered, but in a different way. She really doesn't seem to care about anybody but herself and her family. The only reason she's come around to acting a little more supportive towards her squad mates is because her own performance depends on them. They tried to redeem her a bit in this episode by showing that she does want to stand on her own two feet, but it was not enough to make me completely overlook her smug entitled attitude in previous episodes. While its true that Raelle can be unlikable at times, I find her resentment and dislike for Abigail and her mother to be both believable and understandable. Remember that unlike Tally, Raelle was basically drafted and has no real desire to be in the military. Add in what (she thinks) happened to her mother and of course she's resentful of the entire military complex. Abigail is exactly the kind of person who is going to rub her the wrong way. Plus, Raelle is a teenager. To put down her attitude in this episode entirely to her relationship with Scylla is missing the point. Even if she didn't have a girlfriend, I could see her acting equally surly and uncooperative. I find Scylla to be the most interesting character on this show. While she's done some very nasty unforgivable things, she's not some caricature of an evil person. There's clearly something more complex going on with her and I'm curious to find out what it is. I really don't think they can completely redeem her at this point. But they can give us a better understanding of where she's coming from. One thing I like about this show is that none of the major characters are without their faults (to a greater or lesser extent). If I wanted to watch a confrontation between pure good and pure evil, I'd go watch one of those super hero shows.
  9. There were some really good performances in this episode. I personally thought Megan and Cammwess were anything but mechanical. I got the feels from both of them. But my favorite knockout was probably the last one. Every week Zan confirms once again why she's one of my favorites this season and Joanna really stepped up. I also thought Rodrick and Joei were very good. The only coaches decision that I disagreed with was John picking Mike over Darius.
  10. Thunderstorm came through in a big way. His blind audition was not a fluke. Best among the rest were Megan, Zan, and Cedrice (in that order). This may sound strange, but though I thought Jon clearly won his battle, I also think Brittney probably deserved to be stolen more than he did. Overall, I think Nick ended up with the weakest team. Allegra is probably his best bet, but the other three teams all have at least one or two strong performers that are her equal or better.
  11. I wasn't expecting much from the series, but have been pleasantly surprised. I'm still waiting to see where they go with the story, but it helps that they did a very good job of casting the main characters. At this point I'm particularly curious about whether they are going to try to give Scylla a redemption story-line. I'm not sure if that's even possible after her actions in this episode, though I do sense that she's beginning to develop genuine feelings for Raelle. I also don't want too much exposition, but am curious about many of these same things. I do know that Beltrane is a traditional Gaelic festival held on May 1st to welcome the upcoming planting season. The way its celebrated by some Wiccan groups is as a kind of fertility festival that can get more than a bit uninhibited and wild. I read somewhere this show took more are than most to introduce some actual Wiccan traditions.
  12. So far this season is keeping me interested enough to keep up to date rather than catching up several months later as happened with Season 2. It helps that some of my negative expectations going into the season have so far proven unfounded. Chief among these was the fear that Dolores was going to continue her rampage through the "real world" like some kind of Terminator. Instead she seems to be playing a more nuanced deeper game. It probably also helps that I've always like Tessa Thompson, even when she's playing characters I detest.
  13. I didn't think there were any really standout performances in this episode, though there weren't any really bad ones either. I would also have much rather seen Kailey picked over Cam. I think she also deserved the steal more than Camwess. I can't really complain much about the remaining coaches decisions. While Anders does have greater vocal range than Tate, I found the later to be much more intense and absorbing as a performer and can't complain too much about Nick's choice on that one.
  14. I really liked Kailey Abel's cover of Forever Young. Plus Cedrice certainly has stage presence. That's about all that stood out for me from this episode. John's team does seem pretty stacked going into the battles and is probably the strongest overall. There is going to be a real bloodbath between all those women on Kelly's team, but there is some talent there and she could be in a strong position if she chooses wisely. Blake's team is mostly pretty mediocre, but he has enough good singers (including Kailey) that he could be competitive as always in the live shows. Nick's team seems the weakest. Of course, all this supposes that there will even be live shows this season. Since I kind of doubt things will have improved enough over the next month to allow for live audiences, I wonder if they will simply cancel the season or postpone the rest of the season until the summer or fall. They certainly won't be filming the blind auditions for Season 19 anytime soon.
  15. Worst episode of the season so far. The only good thing was no Landon, but then Hope goes and spends all her time talking about him anyway. I like Hope, except when she's with or obsessing over Landon. Free Hope. I do like Dark Josie. I wonder if Jade will end up having a role in bringing her back. They are clearly setting up something between those two. There is some chemistry there and I'm curious to see where that goes. On the other hand, I sure hope they are not planning on getting MG and Lizzie together. He deserves better. Free MG.
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