viernes, 5 de octubre de 2012

The Voice: Blind Auditions

Last weekend, The Voice finished its Blind Auditions with each coach completing a team of 16 artists. For the untrained eye/ear, The Voice is a singing competition whose most notable feature are its auditions, where singers of all ages and genres perform blindly to potential coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine. If a coach is interested enough in the voice, he/she will push their button turning their chair around to watch the artist. This is pretty notable, considering how much an artists "image" is taken in consideration by other singing competitions. So, after four weeks of auditioning lots of singers, each coach ended up choosing 16 artists they would coach and train en route to a finale.

Right off the bat, I can say that none of the artists has really blown me away so far. On the past two seasons, I can say that some singers left an impression from the first time I heard them. Jared Blake, Nakia, Javier Colon, Jamar Rogers, and Tony Vincent are some of the past contestants that I remember being great from the get-go. I haven't gotten that this season. Not sure if it's the fact that the talent bar has been raised so high that there is more consistency, and hence less peaks within the talent pool, but after watching more than 100 artists audition, I can barely remember a handful. I guess I'll have to watch some bits of the auditions again; I'll be right back.


Scottish singer Terry McDermott
Ok, I'm back. So, seriously now, one of the things that kinda irks me about the show is how inconsistent or random the criteria to push the button seems to be. Sometimes you will hear a perfectly good singer, and coaches will not push their buttons or wait until the last second to do it; but then another singer comes and sometimes before they even finish a verse, they'll all be pushing their buttons. This happened with the first two singers auditioned. Scottish rocker Terry McDermott did a perfect, clean-voiced rendition of "Baba O'Riley", and even though three coaches turned around, they waited until the last second to push their buttons. Then, right after him, Chicago singer De'borah went out to sing "Hey Soul Sister", and she hadn't even completed the first verse, and they had already pushed their buttons. In the end, her rendition was very weak. I thought she had pitch problems, and couldn't carry the flow of the lyrics effectively.

That one kinda stuck with me, because I think Terry had one of the best voices in all the auditions. Bryan Keith and Trevin Hunte were others that shined in that first episode. Bryan had a unique, cool rasp to his voice, and Trevin was just a powerhouse. Adriana Louise, Aquile, and Mackenzie Bourg were other solid singers from the first batch of auditions. On the other hand, Cee Lo picked returning singer Daniel Rosa, and I was left wondering why. His rendition of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" wasn't that great, and I really didn't see much difference in the singer from last year to this. Cee Lo also picked up Domo, and from her introduction I knew I would hate this girl. And damn, was I right. Her performance was weak, and her attitude made her the most annoying singer to audition this season.

Bryan Keith on The Voice
The second week opened with a solid performance from quirky singer, Melanie Martinez. Her rendition of "Toxic" was pretty cool, but her voice reminded me to much of Dia, from the first season. As a matter of fact, there have been so many singers trying to emulate that quirky, gasp-like, off-pitchy style that its getting tiresome at times. Brian Scartocci, Avery Wilson, and Nicholas David were others I liked. As for the not so great, Blake picked country singer Liz Davis, who I thought was pretty weak; and Christina picked duo Beat Frequency, who wasn't that impressive either. For what it's worth, the guy could sing, but most of the lyrics relied on his wife, and she wasn't very good.

The last two weeks were okay, but nothing that spectacular either. Bank teller Michelle Brooks, soul singer Brandon Mahone, and Caitlin Michelle were among the best from those auditions. I was also surprised by returning singer Dez Duron who, unlike Daniel Rosa, showed some great improvement from his audition on the second season to this one. Maybe it was also a matter of what song you choose. Last year he auditioned with a Backstreet Boys song; this year, he chose a Hall & Oates song.

So, like I said, nothing has actually blown me away so far. Lots of good singers, but I still haven't heard something that makes me go "Whoa!". Strongest team, IMO, is probably Adam's, and the weakest could be Blake's or Christina's. One thing that has piqued my interest is all the talk abut the "steals" in the show. We'll see when the battles begin this weekend.

(All pictures belong to NBC and its affiliates)

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