A Season 2 alum, I blog about the NBC talent competition weekly for TheWrap
I hope you all survived the annual food carnage of Thanksgiving. There’s no time to mourn your skinny jeans, because we have only six contestants left on NBC’s “The Voice,” and they sang their hearts out for you this week. Each singer did a coach’s choice and a special dedication (of their own choosing). It’s a lot of music, so take some antacid and let’s chat about my highlights (and lowlights) from last night’s episode (in no particular order).
1. Merry early Christmas to me!
Cole Vosbury tickled the heartstrings of America last night by performing “Rich Girl” from Hall & Oates, an American classic. Listen, I love Cole already. I think he’s likeable and cool, but adding Hall & Oates to the equation just took my love of him over the top. He was a fantastic way to start the show, and I hope voters tuned in early enough to feel the power of Hall & Oates.
2. Channeling emotions through fashion
Coach Cee Lo Green was sporting some kind of melancholy bathrobe on Monday. I feel like he’s working out a few sad feelings via fashion, and I get it. I miss Caroline Pennell too. Unicorn hearts are still heavy over that loss.
3. The potency and the power of Tessanne
The best overall performances of the night would have to go to Tessanne Chin – and I say “performances” because she was equally wonderful on both her songs. “Redemption Song” was moving and emotionally connected, and I was especially impressed by her rendering of Katy Perry since we all know Katy Perry productions are something not found in nature but rather painstakingly constructed in a studio environment. Then again, Tessanne’s voice is not found in nature. She breathed crazy life into “Unconditional,” and I hope it’s enough to take her to the Top 5.
4. Love songs on the coast
OK, you guys, I get doing special dedications. It’s a sweet idea, but I will admit these were a little uncomfortable. The one that felt the most authentic was the one that was also the most awkward (Will’s), because authentically? Doing a special dedication is awkward unless you’re a regular caller to Delilah.
5. Hits vs. misses
There were a lot of hits but also a couple of misses this week – most specifically Matthew Schuler’s song selections. I think Matthew is incredibly talented, but he needs room to soar, and “The Story of My Life” didn’t give him that room (much of it was too low in his range). On the other side of the coin, “When a Man Loves a Woman” was a bigger song but also too bluesy for his voice, so he couldn’t really relax comfortably into it. Ill-fitting song choices were part of what sent Caroline home last week, and I hope Matthew doesn’t fall victim to the same fate.
6. TMI with Carson Daly
Thanks to Carson Daly, we now know that coach Blake Shelton sends e-mails to the other coaches while pooping. Wow, these audience questions are dope! I’m so glad they’re doing this.
7. Best Musicianship
If this was a pageant, and I could give out awards, the banner for “Best Overall Musicianship” would go to Will Champlin. While neither of last night’s performances hit the high marks of “At Last,” they were still solid efforts that showcased his diversity as a singer and multi-instrumentalist. His piano playing on “A Change Is Gonna Come” was particularly impressive, and “Hey Brother” was probably my favorite current song performed this week. The last person I saw handle a banjo with such finesse was Dolly Parton (Dolly: Call me!)… I’m thinking America should keep him on, so I get more Will and MORE BANJO!
8. “Finding The Voice Within” with host Christina Aguilera
I would like this to be a real show with Christina where we hang out on comfy couches and talk about our feelings and find our voice within and stuff. I could definitely see Jacquie Lee dig deeper for her fiery performance of “Cry Baby” because of Christina’s gentle wisdom. Imagine her using that same technique on all of us Oprah style – “You can definitely finish that PowerPoint presentation. I know it. Now you have to know it!” How great would that be?
9. Weird and wonderful
James Wolpert is a little odd and a lot awesome, and this week’s songs fit his aesthetic to a tee. His stripped down “Fell in Love With a Girl” had a snarling intensity no one else duplicated, and “I Would Do Anything for Love” was my favorite performance this week – wonderfully over the top and bombastic and a great showcase for his vocal ability. Watch it again above. P.S. If this is how he sounds under the weather, he should consider staying under the weather.
10. “The Voice’s” Music Education Series
Cee Lo made a good point about “The Voice” educating its artists and audience on the classics. This week, we were treated to Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Sam Cooke, Percy Sledge and most importantly – Hall & Oates. Not bad!
11. To all the girls I’ve loved before
Hey ladiessss, Cole Vosbury’s “Better Man” may have been dedicated to his first love, but really? This was all for you. Please do enjoy.
If you live in LA, come see my holiday show Tuesday at The Hotel Cafe! We have some very special guests (including a fellow Team Adam member) plus tinsel, Antonio the Reindeer and bubbles. You can also download my brand new holiday single on iTunes and everywhere digital music is sold (see the video below)! Christmas music is MY JAM.