June 21, 2011

Quick Thoughts: THE VOICE, "The Semi-Finals"

NBC's The Voice has been nothing but a string of gimmicks, but I have to admit that I've fallen for every one of them. From the Blind Auditions to the Battle Rounds to the Saves, this show has thrown every style of elimination round at us, and this week we're down to the Elite Eight which will be taken down to four by a combination of viewer votes and a secret coaches vote. See what I'm talking about.

Smoke and mirrors aside, tonight's The Voice was probably the most entertaining because for once everyone sounded really good, and I could actually buy the heaping amounts of praise that the coaches gave them this time around. Like I mentioned before, the eight remaining contestants performed one more time, and tomorrow night the one from each team will move on thanks to the voters and their coaches.

Team Adam: Casey Weston vs. Javier Colon
The night started with Team Adam and Team Cee Lo finding out who was moving on to the next round, and Javier easily won America's vote since he was one of the few frontrunners. Adam decided to save Casey despite their tendencies to butt heads, and he made the right call. Javier went outside of his comfort zone with Coldplay's "Fix You" and added a rockier vibe to the song which was a nice change of pace. Casey on the other hand kind of stayed in her wheelhouse by singing "I Will Always Love You", which was good as well and a better fit than last week's KT Tunstall song.

Honestly, it's going to hard to beat Javier because he's one of the strongest singers on the show, and he hasn't really faltered to date. He does have the tendency to over sing with a heavy reliance on runs which can be distracting, whereas Casey's style lines up more with my tastes but she cannot match-up with him. I'll be shocked if Javier does not make the Final Four.

Team Blake: Dia Frampton vs. Xenia
As soon as Blake Shelton ended up with Dia and Xenia on his roster, I was immediately on Team Blake because they were so darn cute that I couldn't help but fall in love with them. Apparently, when Blake saved Xenia last week, tons of viewers thought he was crazy since she has the least amount of stage presence compared to Jared and Patrick. I didn't quite understand the backlash since she's got a great voice, and Blake saved her for the right reason. Unfortunately, she didn't help her cause as she sang a nice sounding rendition of "The Man Who Can't Be Moved", but she was so visibly uncomfortable that it was distracting. Dia on the other hand gave us a wonderfully mellow version of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion", and it's the first song I'm tempted to buy.

I'll say it; I'm in love with Dia Frampton. Her shyness, voice, sound, and style gets me every time, and it doesn't hurt that she's a natural beauty. That being said, part of me does wonder if she's pulling off one of the best con-jobs in reality TV history. She's not new to the game, so all of the growth that we've seen to date does seem slightly fabricated, and even Christina pointed it out tonight. Of course, I don't care if this is the case, and it would make me love her even more if she played the game flawlessly. Xenia does have massive potential, and could be the second coming of Norah Jones, but her wonderfully unique voice will not be enough to save her.

Team Cee Lo: Nakia vs. Vicci Martinez
Out of the four remaining members of Team Cee Lo, Vicci Martinez won America's vote which led to one of the biggest no-brainers this show has ever had. Of course, Cee Lo played up his conflicted emotions for his team members, but everyone knew he was going to pick Nakia. The two performed Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" and Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" respectively. Both numbers were high energy and the most theatrical of the night.

Between the two, I'd have to go with Nakia's version of "Whataya Want From Me" because it was a little less flashy and gimmicky but still fun to watch. For the most part, I liked Vicci's performance of "Dog Days Are Over", but the hair, drums, and running around were too much. I even remember thinking to myself that her version of the song wasn't as good as Glee's, so take that for what you will. That being said, these two may have the least distance between them, and we could be in for a photo finish.

Team Christina: Beverly McClellan vs. Frenchie Davis
Last week, America voted for Beverly McClellan, and Xtina decided to save Frenchie. To be honest, I could not care less about Team Xtina because there's just something about these two that just doesn't jive for me. I would've preferred the Jersey Girl herself, Raquel Castro, to make to the next round, and I was gone as soon as Christina picked Frenchie.

Tonight, Beverly sang a bluesy "The Thrill Is Gone" by Roy Hawkins which was admirable. On the other end of the spectrum was Frenchie and her take on Madonna's "Like a Prayer" which was decent but just didn't sit quite right in my opinion. I have to give it to Beverly, which is shocking since I didn't think she'd make it this far, but again I cannot muster much emotion about either one of them.

Final Thoughts
So, if I were in some Fantasy Voice competition, my final four would be pretty by-the-book with Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Nakia, and Beverly McClellan making the cut. I know those picks seemed a bit uninspired, but three of the four are the best remaining voices, and I do have to admit that Beverly has the charm and stage presence to deserve her spot.

Once some of the cheesiness of the tricks wears off, I have to give The Voice credit for giving us some good performances. Sure, not all of the contestants were quite there and maybe couldn't have cut it on American Idol, but overall the show's been a nice change of pace and entertaining. Now, I'm off to download "Losing My Religion". TEAM DIA!


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