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S06.E20: The Live Shows Premiere

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Who's staying in? Who's definitely out? Will Kristen Merlin battle back in the face of multiple montages?

NBC says two are headed home Tuesday after tonight's performances. For the first time ever, I actually like everyone on an artist's team -- and surprisingly, it's Team Shakira! I'm meh on everyone else, although I'm definitely looking forward to Team Usher's Josh. He's a beast.

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Josh- great song choice, and he again stuck closely to the original while adding just a few changes to make it his. I don't like watching the little hipster gnome, but there's no denying the excellence (YMMV).

 

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I'm going to be addicted to Josh's song.

I thought the show started flat-- with lots of flat singing the judges didn't call. But then it got lots better, really impressively better, and now I'n thinking I may not get bored and skip the lives this time.

Edited by picklesprite

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My favorite performances tonight were:

1. Josh

2. Kristen - She is really getting hosed on this show. Both battles montaged, performed first last week and now this. Dang.

3. Kat

4. Dani

5. Jake W.

6. Tess

Who is in the bottom 3 by a mile in iTunes right now - T.J., Dani and Tess. Once again, I am losing the contestants I liked best as soon as the lives start.

I thought Bria was horrendous tonight. And she carried the guitar around like a prop again. Lame.

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After watching just the performances on YouTube, I'd place them:

  • Top 4: Kristen, Sisaundra, Delvin, Bria (probably because I really love that song)
  • Middle 3: Josh, Jake, Dani
  • Bottom 5: T.J., Audra, Tess, Kat, Christina
I wrote in my notes that Kristen was screwed by doing a shortened version of that song - because it's a "story" that builds - and then she was really screwed by the audio problems. I can't believe they don't double-mic these people, like they do on Broadway. There's no excuse for something like that on a show this expensive.

I can't get over how much I love Sisaundra, because her type of music is definitely not my thing, but her voice just blows me away. Plus, she just has so much presence on stage and off.

I want to love Jake's performance, I really do, but that was not a good song for him. He's just not strong enough on the low notes.

Even though I enjoyed Bria's overall performance, I definitely RME at the prop guitar. At least strum an occasional chord!

Off to watch the whole thing, and undoubtedly discover that the coaches completely disagree with me! lol

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Too much shouty, runsy, belty singing, a lot of it off-key to boot. The  effect is to take all the music out of the singing, imo. "Just Give Me A Reason," "Rolling In The Deep," "Magic Man," "Angel of the Morning"  are songs that have strong melody lines that these singers ignore in favor of vocal pyrotechnics that I find irritating at best, and downright painful at worst.

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photo fox, you wrote Tess twice and forgot Christina =P 

Mainly because I want a way to sort my opinions on this show, I'm going to give grades to each performance.

1. Josh: A+. Flawless dynamic, breath, and pitch control. He knew how to structure the performance. Actually sounded like it would be on the radio. Hats off (or not?) to him. 
2. Sissaundra: A. Loved hearing her softer side - she showed a lot of control in the beginning. 
3. Kristen: A. Heartfelt, professional, and strong vocals. Overall a great showing. 
4. Delvin: A-. A classic performance. Solid, although slightly unmemorable. 

(Big, big gap here)

5. Christina: B+ (I completely forgot about her, even after remarking on photo fox forgetting her! Oops.) Loved the changes to the song and she kept up her momentum. Still not a big fan of hers though. 
6. Kat: B. I enjoyed it, and she was vocally capable. It wasn't the most interesting performance, vocally, so I'm glad she had some fun on the stage. 
7. Tess: B. I remember liking her performance, but I also knew that I wouldn't remember it well afterwards. It's 20 minutes after she performed, and I don't remember anything. 

8. Audra: C+. A capable and solid vocal performance, but it was completely unmemorable. 
9. T.J.: C. Completely middle of the road, though I enjoyed the changes they made to suit his style. 
10. Dani: C-. I loved, loved her last performance, so I was so disappointed by this one. She had one great note, but it wasn't enough to make up for how flat 3/4 of her performance was. And the song choice just didn't work...it's supposed to be a duet.

11. Jake: D. Boring. He has a great voice, but his pitch wasn't on point today, and he doesn't have great stage presence. 
12. Bria: D. Phony guitar stage prop distracted me the whole time. I was just waiting for her to play a chord...just one chord! And I agreed with the Adam in that the song was just in the wrong key for her. It was unmemorable and does not show off her talent at all. 

So no huge flops, thankfully, but not too much to be impressed by. I might have to jump on the Josh train, since he's just had so many consistently great performances. And if Dani makes it through, I hope she can work on her pitch and perform a bit more naturally. 

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Overall, so boring and awful.

Photo fox, my husband was saying the same thing about Bria and her prop guitar, that at the top of the song she should have at least been pretending to strum.

Dani seemed to completely miss a key change in her song, and the rest of it sounded like it would have been okay on Glee. Kat was fine vocally, on a hard song, but I felt like maybe there was too much interaction with the guitarists, which took away from the experience for the audience.

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I. just. cannot. take. what. Bria does with that guitar. I feel insulted every time I see her holding it like she's oh-so-cool and not dignifying the musical instrument with a single chord or note!!!  For all that it matters to her performance, she could be carrying a teddy bear. I feel it's a sign that she thinks the audience are musical morons.

I felt terrible for Kristen. Montages and then when she'd performing live--and doing great on a perfect song for her--she's killed by the microphone. Horrible! I wish they'd let her sing it all the way through tomorrow because that was unfair (plus, I was enjoying it more than many who -did- get to finish.)

I haven't been a big Sisaundra fan although I admire her ability...wow...but I loved her going about half-power tonight. I hope she stays till F4.

Poor Jake. I like him and love his country vocals, but his parents threw him off in the beginning. I didn't think he was going to make it through the song.

My choice to go home would be T.J. and Tess. (I'd say Delvin, but I've loved him other weeks and probably would again with a different song. Bad choice, imo.)

Josh, Jake, Bria (unfortunately) and Christina aren't going anywhere, but I really hope the last two don't make it to F4. I'd rather see Kristen from Team Shakira and Sisaunda from Team Blake (can't remember the third from Adam's but I'll take whoever it is over Bria. What a poser!)

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photo fox, you wrote Tess twice and forgot Christina =P

11. Jake: D. Boring. He has a great voice, but his pitch wasn't on point today, and he doesn't have great stage presence.

Ha! I went back and edited to put them both in my "bottom 5", since they were both apparently completely unmemorable to me.

I'm guessing you mean Jake W? Turnabout is fair play! ;) In a way, he reminds me of very early Garth Brooks, who I had the pleasure of meeting before he ever became a star. Admittedly, it's probably partly because of his stature and his style, but he projects a little bit of the same "nobody really wants to hear/see me, surely?" He has a similar mix of "aw, shucks" and "holy crap, I'm nervous." I think he's thinking too much about what he's supposed to be doing, instead of just being himself. Hopefully Blake will help him with that, if he continues on the show. It looks like he will, because last time I checked iTunes he was in second behind Josh.

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This is actually the first season of The Voice for me.  The format of the show is really interesting and it has a ton more talent then shows like American Idol.  I'm a fan!

Let's get into tonights performances.  I like how awkwardpenguin structured their post so I'll follow suit and give the performances grades to express how I felt about them.  I guess I'll go from worst to first.

Bria: D.  I loved this girl's audition but her shtick is getting old quite fast.  I still enjoy the edge to her voice in her power notes but the way she sings between those notes is pitchy, thin and generally mediocre.  Like others, I'm not a fan of her fake guitar slinging.

Dani: D.  Yeesh.  I thought Dani did a great job last week and was ready to be wowed.  This was karaoke at its most mediocre.  Her phrasing was all over the place, her breathing was off, she was flat in places and it was far too 'shouting in tune'.  I was rooting for her and she let me down.

Jake: C-.  I love Jake!  I love his round, full tones and I think he's got the perfect amount of country twang to his voice to appeal to more than just country fans.  But he was definitely off tonight, unfortunately.  The song was slow and boring to begin with and he sounded out of breath a lot of the time.  He's not going anywhere though so I hope he can pick it up.

T.J.: C-.  I'm just not a fan of T.J.'s voice.  He didn't sound off key or anything, but his voice is thin and unspectacular.

Audra: C.  It was fine.  It was boring.  It was forgettable.  I like Audra but she needs to do something exciting.  She looked terrified the entire time and I think it got to her.  I'm worried that she's sort of a one trick pony.  I think since she was performing with just Team Blake for a while she seemed better than she is.  Now that she's competing against the best she's a little forgettable.

Delvin: C+.  I like Delvin's tone and I think he's got a beautiful voice, but it's a voice that I feel like I've heard a hundred times before.  It's great, but it's not special.  I think the song choice wasn't the greatest for him.  The arrangement was choppy and it kind of ruined the performance for me.  Passable, but not great.

Christina: C+.  I find Christina incredibly annoying and for the life of me I can't understand why she's considered a front runner.  There are a million Christina's out there and I'm sure they would do a better job than her.  Her lower register is quite nice but when she tries to hit those high notes she just shouts into the mic and sounds tinny and sharp.  I have to give her props for performing the hell out of it though.

Tess: B-.  Tess is impressing me more and more each week but she remains completely forgettable.  Last week I thought her voice got a little thin in places but this week it sounded full and lovely.  I'm glad she's getting better but I just don't care about her.

Kat: B.  I think Kat's great.  I think she's got great energy and she can sing the hell out of some notes.  Her battles were amazing, but, again, I felt like this performance was just too shouty.  I'm not sure what's up with all of these people being overly shouty.  I guess they're trying to impress but it's turning me off.  I wish she would just sing next time.

Sissaundra: B+. :-(.  I want to love Sissaundra, I really do, and I'm glad that she pulled back a little this week but she has GOT to stop with the oversinging.  Even when she's singing quietly I feel like she's doing too much.  There's something about her personality that seems kind of fake as well which is a turn off.  Still, she's got a killer voice.

Kristen: A-.  God, I hope she sticks around this week.  She was montaged through twice and was screwed over by a mic failure!  Despite that, her voice is one of my favourites this season.  There is something so natral and accessible about her voice that I'm very attracted to and I hope other people are too.  I thought it was intimate and beautiful and I thought she handled her mishap with grace and professionalism.  I truly hope she sticks around and people get to see what shes made of!

Josh: A+.  Absolutely flawless.  Last week I thought he oversang a little but this week he was perfect.  He didn't overembellish, his phrasing was perfect, his big notes were stong and full and didn't sound shouty like everybody else.  This guy is freaking professional.  This was a magical performance.  I think this performance really solidified him as a front-runner.  I'm obsessed.

Josh was far and away the stand out of the night.  I've alredy downloaded his song and listened to it 15 times. 

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What a complete train wreck - from the people that leave me scratching my head wondering how on Earth they are on the show at this point to the technical failure (or the we can't montage Kristen so let's cut her mic if you are a conspiracy theory type person) .

It started out truly awful with that poser Bria carrying around her guitar for no apparent reason other than she thought it makes her look valid to Devlyn or however you spell it murdering a classic, GOD I couldn't wait for this show to be over.

Even my favorites made my ears bleed.

Poor Jake started out so shaky - it just wasn't a good song choice for him.  Usually the whole personality/sob story thing doesn't get me in these kinds of things, but considering how plain ass mediocre (which is putting it very nicely) this show was I need an option B to decide who I want to stay. 

iTunes is showing it too. I don't know if I've ever seen the sales so bad at this point.  Even the Disney Princess is only around 70 I think.  Maybe her "rabid" Internet fan base isn't going to push her as far as some think.  I do not understand why the coaches all went on and on about her being the strongest on Adam's team?  Kat is a hundred times better and actually did a great job.  Karaoke, but she sang the snot out of it.

I'll admit I liked TJ a little bit better doing a more current song.  It wasn't the best performance, but I appreciated him doing something different.

Tess, Dani, Audra, and Sissaundra were boring at best. 

Big old shout out to Josh, Kat, and what we did get to hear from Kristin.  For me they were the only ones that sounded like they belonged in the lives.

Edited by kj4ever

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When Bria--I believe it was Bria--started out, I thought that she was totally not singing in the same key as the band.  It wasn't until she got louder and stronger finally that they began to sound like they were in the same key.

Dressed-up-with-a-tie is a good look for Josh.

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Top two: Kristen and Josh, in that order. 

Person I want to leave: Delvin.  I'd cut him once, and then I'd bring him back and cut him again.  No forgiveness for what he did to that song.

This is not Project Runway, so I would let the boring ones live another week: Tess, Audra, Christina, Kat.

I agree Jake was shaky, but I like him and his voice.  I think being on live tv got to both Jake and Dani (who was awful) but I am invested enough to want to see them improve.

I liked TJ a lot better than most, it seems.  I really liked the song choice for him.  Updating him was smart.  Also - and I'm almost afraid to say this - I am actually buying his backstory.  He seems truly sweet and sincere about rising up despite where he started.  I'm beginning to root for him.

I'm still holding onto the Bria of the blinds.  Sisaundra did better this week. 

The judges were not entertaining at all last night.  Boo, judges.  Interesting that Blake insisted on picking out frontrunners.  He's done that in earlier seasons, but has it ever been this early?

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TJ was good but can we ban Waiting On The World To Change from singing competition now because it's basically the anti Man In The Mirror and yet all these contestants keep performing it so earnestly.

By the end of the show I'd completely forgotten Devlyn's existence, oops. Also: Unchained Melody, really? Zzzz.

The best by far: Josh, Sasaundra, Kat, Kristen. 

Edited by glitterpants

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As of this morning after, I am definitely addicted to Josh's performance, but I also want to say that's a great song he got to sing. I'd never heard of it or of Sam Smith, so thanks to Usher and Josh for introducing me to them. Wow, Sam Smith's voice is crystalline. I gather he's big in Great Britain, but just getting launched here. This should help, and lucky for him that Josh killed it. Or, rather, "smashed it," as Sam said on twitter.

I still can't get over that the judges didn't call out Dani and a couple of others for singing so off-key. Were they being merciful because it's the first live and they appreciate that it's really scary, or couldn't they hear it live?

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TJ was good but can we ban Waiting On The World To Change from singing competition now because it's basically the anti Man In The Mirror and yet all these contestants keep performing it so earnestly.

By the end of the show I'd completely forgotten Devlyn's existence, oops. Also: Unchained Melody, really? Zzzz.

The best by far: Josh, Sasaundra, Kat, Kristen. 

Color me jealous that you could forget him, because I keep hearing the murder of that song in my head.

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Color me jealous that you could forget him, because I keep hearing the murder of that song in my head.

*offers kj4ever a near-empty bottle of brain bleach*  As my daughter would say, "I feel ya, bro".

As of this morning after, I am definitely addicted to Josh's performance, but I also want to say that's a great song he got to sing.

It really is.  I agree, Sam Smith is a revelation.  I think I prefer him to Josh, so thanks for the introduction, Usher! 

Usher is going to be a great coach for Josh, better than Adam could have ever been.  Usher's reaction of pure pleasure to Josh's performance was the best part of the night.

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It must have been nerves or the songs that effected most everyone last night.  I was disappointed.  I ended up voting for those that disappointed me anyway, because I like them and I know they can do better.  

My top 4 favorites, though they didn't earn it last night.  I still voted for them though. NEXT WEEK WILL BE THE KEY.

Dani.  Poor song choice, IMO and her worst performance. I like her though and know she can do better.  I think she was too nervous.

Audra.  Great song, but she just couldn't get it out well.  She kept doing this expression of frustration, like she messed up. At least 3 times. She's got to stop that and get her mojo back.

Kristen. Love her.  She was doing pretty well.  It's the only time I've ever seen a mic go.  I like her and she's talented.  

Jake. I like the guy a lot, but he didn't seem to know that song.  He didn't even sing the melody.  It's a great song, but that was rough.  He can do better though. 

I didn't really care for anyone else though Sisaundra had her best performance yet, IMO.  I like her. Maybe I should have given her some votes too. I think she'll be fine.  

 

What annoyed me to no end was Blake and Adam saying who the one to beat is for each team.  WHAT are they thinking? That is so rude and mean.  Were they drunk or something? Who does that?  I hope someone told them to shut up with comments like that.  

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What annoyed me to no end was Blake and Adam saying who the one to beat is for each team.  WHAT are they thinking? That is so rude and mean.  Were they drunk or something? Who does that?  I hope someone told them to shut up with comments like that.

 

ITA. I was so disappointed in Blake (I know Adam just doesn't think before he speaks but I expect more from Blake, the King of Branding.) Hopefully, they'll never do that again. I felt terrible for the ones suddenly designated as "inferior" on the teams. Boo!

Did like him ... was it last week... telling the audience they had no rhythm (but were good-looking people, lol). Because, seriously, their audiences NEVER seem able to clap in time. Maybe they should have someone do warm-ups before the show, instead of comedy patter, some kind of rhythmic clapping exercises. Or better yet...Just don't -do- it!

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Hey now, last week Bria did actually "play" the guitar in that she held down a chord and picked the strings.  She did this for all of 15 seconds throughout the performance, if that.  And the guitar clearly was mic'ed because what she was "playing" did not match the song.

I missed the first 6 performances last night.  Kat was way off the timing of the song.  She has a good voice but needs to learn how to work with a song, not against it.  She puts out a lot of show without having the singing basics down.  

Sisaundra was disappointing.  She does have a beautiful, powerful voice.  This was the first time that I really agreed with what some others have said, she did not seem to connect with the song at all.  

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Sisaundra is gorgeous and has all that professional experience to call upon, but it's so hard to relate to a performer who's so overtly "theatrical," as if her facial expressions have to show up on the back row of Celine Dion's concerts. Compared to, say, Josh or Jake, she can't help but come across as less genuine. Blake made a wee bit of progress breaking through that wall this time, but it feels to me as if she has a long way to go to reach, say, Tessane's level of apparent sincerity.

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Why couldn't Dani's mic have died?  Why couldn't Bria's?

What in the world has happened to this show?  It's like they've all been hit with the crazy stick.

Most of this lineup is just awful, yet the coaches preen and carry on as though they were presiding over the best group of singers ever to tread the poor, tired boards of this stage.

Can you imagine how the band feels?  Their eyes are probably in permanent rolling mode.  And their ears, oh the humanity, their ears.

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Looking at the current teams, it occurs to me that TPTB are trying to engineer an Usher or Shakira win. Song choice, wardrobe, show order are all key contributing factors at this point.

Josh got far and away the best song and ITA with the posters above who say that Usher is a much better fit as coach. Like other posters, I've already purchased his version of Stay with Me (and I already owned the Sam Smith version.)

Kristen was completely jacked last night. BUT that will help if for some godforsaken reason she ends up in B3 and needs a Twitter save. (And it will be interesting to see how effectively Shakira picks up the "you're truly beautiful" narrative from Usher's in S4 and out-Chamuel's him with Kristen in S6.)

Sisaundra might have a chance if she was on Shakira's or Usher's team; but I don't see her winning from Blake's team. They did her dirty with that song choice. (So many non-Adele, non-Whitney, non-Celine songs she could sing and they gave her Elton John? WTF show?)

Delvyn will probably make F6. But they need to give him music from this century. And nobody wants to see Adam win again anyway (and the more I think about it, this also may have been Adam's intent all along, choosing Delvyn over Josh).

Jake: Love Jake, he's a sweetie, but he's on Blake's team. So... probably F8, maybe F6.

Not sure why we're being assaulted with Kat and Bria and Christina. It's just mean. They're all shrieky McShriekersons. Just. No.

Audra may last to F8. Not ready for prime time. 

Dani: Not sure why they saddled her with that song. And it's odd, since she's on team Shakira. Not sure it matters — if she makes it through tonight, she's undoubtedly gone next week.

Tess: Also not sure why Shakira was okay with the demolition job they did on her team last night. No breaks went their way, whether it was Kristen's mike, Dani's lackluster song choice, or gorgeous Tess in that unflattering outfit. The song choice was not great, either. 

JT: Another hideous song choice, but he really wasn't going to be in F8 anyway. 

I just realized that we're about :30 away from the results since the show is now airing on the East coast. And apparently they've already saved Josh and Kristen (not that this is surprising or anything).

My guess for B3: Dani, TJ, Tess. I'll vote to Twitter save Tess. 

Edited by nbsmom

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My top favorite is Kristen; I hope that even if "America" hasn't warmed up to her because of the montaging (is that a word?) they will sympathy vote for her because of the mic issue.

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(And it will be interesting to see how effectively Shakira picks up the "you're truly beautiful" narrative from Usher's in S4 and out-Chamuel's him with Kristen in S6.)

Oh, I hope that doesn't become the model for every lesbian (just guessing) singer with a less-than-conventionally-pretty vibe. Usher wore me down with all his preachy "inner beauty" exercises, especially since Michelle--like Kristen--seemed just fine not going into that. Shakira wandered down the same path Monday with "inner beauty" (because despite her pretty face she's got a boyish haircut and clothes.)

That got old with Usher (his vibe with Michelle was cool otherwise) and really will come across as patronizing from glammed-up Shakira. It's the "Voice"!

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