Will Beverly or Vicci Become 'The Voice?'
One of the great about-to-be-answered questions of this TV seasons is, “Who will be The Voice?” Will it be either one of the show’s powerhouses, who also happen to be out lesbians, Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez? Following a juggernaut season of terrific performances on NBC’s vocal talent show that features coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, The Voice aired its final performance show last night to what this fan would consider some mixed results.
One of the great about-to-be-answered questions of this TV seasons is, “Who will be The Voice?” Will it be either one of the show’s powerhouses, who also happen to be out lesbians, Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez?
In the interest in attempting to handicap that question, which will be answered tonight at 8 p.m. EST, I’ll engage in a mini recap of Tuesday’s show.
Following a juggernaut season of terrific performances on NBC’s vocal talent show that features coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, The Voice aired its final performance show last night to what this fan would consider some mixed results.
The four finalists, Beverly, Vicci, Javier Colon and Dia Frampton performed original songs –- songs that have never been recorded -- as solos and then duets with their respective coaches.
We’ll skip over the coaches' mess of a David Bowie / Freddie Mercury tribute with their rendition of “Under Pressure,” which was just a mish-mash of styles that fell flat.
So, first up, the only guy in the finals -- which is quite the opposite of the American Idol phenomenon of sending mostly young men to the finals – Javier sang his original song “Stitch by Stitch,” turning in as impassioned a performance he could with the source material – a melodic if not particularly memorable tune.
Next, Blake Shelton’s protégé Dia performed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” with coach Blake. Dia’s got a singularly interesting voice and the ability to breathe new interpretive life into classic songs but the song didn’t do much to showcase her abilities, and Shelton’s Blues Brothers-esque staging and costumes just didn’t fit. Still, Dia’s a strong contender.
Then it was on to one of our favorites Vicci, who poured her heart out on the original song “Afraid to Sleep.” While Vicci’s a firebrand on stage who’s endlessly interesting to watch and continually delivers exemplary vocals, again, the source material left this viewer unmoved. Vicci pulled out the stops on the song but it didn’t resonate the way her “Jolene” or “Dog Days are Over” has on previous shows.
For their performer / coach duet Beverly and Christina turned in a refreshing, acoustic version of Christina’s mega-hit “Beautiful.” While Christina’s endless riffing and trills has never appealed to me, she and Beverly appear to genuinely care for and respect each other, and that came through in their performance. Plus, Beverly is a professional with pristine vocals through and through.
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On to Dia’s original song – the thoughtful singer did her best on “Inventing Shadows,” although the coaches noted that her performance at the piano was almost literally 'overshadowed' by mime-like shadow dancers behind her.
Next up, Javier and coach Adam turned in a strong cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” although there was nothing wildly inventive or new about it.
The first of the finalists to land a standing ovation from all four coaches, Beverly nailed her original song “Love Sick,” a power rock song that showcased her range and showmanship.
While Beverly’s solo was a definite high point of the evening, leave it to “warrior” woman Vicci and coach Cee Lo to end the show on a high note with an over-the-top, campy yet freaking spectacular rendition of Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield.” Vicci and coach Cee Lo blew the doors of the auditorium with stellar vocals and a band of kid dancers in their futuristic / dystopian performance.
If I had to predict who would take the crown during tonight’s finale based solely on Tuesday’s performances I’d have to hand it to Beverly, who turned in two solid performances while taking the night with her solo. Javier’s a strong performer with a beautiful voice but I’m not sure he’s doing something very new or exciting. And while Dia’s got strong interpretive skills and a unique sound the material she had to work with Tuesday did little to showcase her strengths.
That brings us to that adorable little powerhouse Vicci, who delivered killer vocals and performance on a song I don’t believe matched her ability. However, that iconic final visual -– and aural moment -- of the night of the pint-sized warrior Vicci and Coach Cee Lo killing it on a beloved classic may stick with The Voice voters.
While it may be tough to toss my bias for wanting to see the American public vote for an openly gay woman as its choice for The Voice aside I’m going to bet the show comes down to Beverly and Vicci, who’ve continually churned out rock-solid, raw performances. Although which one of them will take the title is anybody’s bet!
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