Did America Pick the 'Best Voice' or am I just Wearing Rainbow Tinted Glasses?
By now most people who actually follow and care should know that neither of the spitfire performers, who also happen to be out lesbians, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan, won the title of “The Voice.” Javier Colon, a soulful singer with pristine vocals became the first winner of The Voice, beating runner-up Dia Frampton by a mere two percent of the vote.
By now most people who actually follow and care should know that neither of the spitfire performers, who also happen to be out lesbians, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan, won the title of “The Voice.”
Javier Colon, a soulful singer with pristine vocals became the first winner of The Voice, beating runner-up Dia Frampton by a mere two percent of the vote.
Perhaps I’m afflicted with a serious case of wearing rainbow-tinted classes but last night’s win – although spoiled by east coasters posting the results on SheWired – was on one hand a complete surprise to me, and on the other, completely predictable. I really believed that the gay ladies gave the best, most interesting performances, of the finale show, with Beverly hedging out Vicci a bit as Vicci got strapped with a lousy original song to perform but pulled out all the stops to make it interesting.
While I have not dedicated viewing time to American Idol – or any other television talent show - since Taylor Hicks beat Katherine McPhee six years ago – a travesty, I thought at the time - I eventually got caught up in The Voice, finding it refreshing that the contestants were chosen solely on the way they sounded and not on their looks, age, size, race, etc… I was also totally thrilled that four of the show’s contestants were openly gay, and became an instant cheerleader for both Vicci and Beverly, who are absolute powerhouses at the microphone.
A few weeks in to its run The Voice became the anti-Idol, as Idol has yet to feature an openly gay contestant. Vicci actually turned down a stint on Idol 10 years ago over contract negations. She has merely cited that the contract required her to change aspects of herself, although she’s not specifically said that they asked her to remain in the closet. And Beverly, well, she couldn’t be more opposite of the girls who’ve made it to the Idol finals, save for her ability to belt that could rival Kelly Clarkson. She shaves her head, she’s laden with tattoos, she’s pierced and she’s in her 40’s - which is way over the hill by Idol standards.
Prior to the finale America had four opportunities collectively to vote to keep Beverly and Vicci on the show, and they did. Although last week, Vicci beat out Nakia, an openly gay man, and Beverly won over Frenchie Davis, a gay icon in her own right. Still, I was encouraged that The Voice voters were more thoughtful and open-minded than the tween girl fans who’ve been voting in snooze-inducing if not reasonably attractive young men since Jordin Sparks was the last woman to win in 2007.
It’s not that Javier lacks talent. His pitch is perfect, he likes to interpret classics including Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” he seems like a lovely man but in my heart of hearts I can’t say that I find his performances new, exciting or even memorable. After the second chorus of his original song solo “Stitch by Stitch” on Tuesday I was reaching for the remote to fast-forward. I just wasn’t engaged.
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His closest competition was Dia, a talented musician at the piano and on guitar, who’s also know for her creative interpretation. The difference with Dia is that she does have a singular sound, even if it is a bit like a Norah Jones / Missy Higgins rolled into one. However, coach Blake Shelton really handed her some lousy music to work with for the final performance show. A duet with Shelton on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” was just a bit of a mess that failed to showcase what she does best, and her solo original song was too repetitive and unmemorable. Plus, she was upstaged by shadow dancers behind her.
That brings us to Beverly and Vicci and their final performances. While Vicci also got saddled with a lousy original song, she killed vocally on her over-the-top rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” with coach Cee Lo Green. Meanwhile, Beverly nailed her solo and managed to hold her own in a lovely duet of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” which is no easy feat when Christina insists on riffing and trilling around every last note.
So what happened that America voted for the cute young straight woman and the family man as its top two choices for The Voice? Is America not about to choose its own openly gay icon? Or is it that America is just not ready to choose a woman to be its top anything anymore? I’m thinking back to Idol’s Crystal Bowersox losing to Lee DeWyze. Or maybe it’s just that rock is dead and Beverly and Vicci lost solely on that fact. But then, why didn’t Dia win?
With Lady Gaga, P!nk, Rihanna, Ke$ha and Katy Perry ruling so much of the airwaves today I just find it implausible that America’s television voters have yet again chosen to ignore the women when it comes to the big prize.
Again, I may just have wanted so badly for America to vote for a winner who was gay – and / or female - that it made me aurally immune to the best voice. Being as unbiased as our lesbian audience can be, who do you think should have been The Voice?