Last night, Usher and Adam both crossed the halfway mark in their team casting, which is a good sign we’re already at the halfway mark of our opening gimmick.
Carson would add another five minutes of filler fluff to the recap of last night if we let him, but that’s what mute buttons, viewing delays, DVRs and the fast forward button all strive to solve for me. (It could be worse–at least I allow that Carson exists in these recaps, unlike Christina Milian and her social media nonsense. Remember kids, what happens in the Branded Skybox stays there.)
Last night was notable in one other way–we saw our first serious contenders with decades of experience. Will we see any more tonight? With the show only running an hour? Let’s find out.
Time to start week two of The Voice‘s most popular gimmick. Yes, even after all the tweaks and adjustments over the course of six seasons, the opening “Blind” auditions bit is still the reason America tunes in.
Do we really need the big long recap from Carson? No. The facts that matter at this point are simple: Adam Levine and Usher have 4 each so far of 12. Shakira has 3, Blake Shelton has 2. Of these groups, Shakira’s look the weakest coming out of the gate, while Adam and Usher have picked up the strongest contenders. Blake is sticking with the country folk he’s most comfortable with.
Let’s get to more of our invitees and see how they do.
The Voice really does have this “make three hours over two nights feel like one long episode” thing down. After a quick recap of yesterday, a few (now extremely dated) pokes about mentor chemistry designed to show The Voice as superior to Idol and XFactor, and we’re back at it.
Another thing that helps this feel like one long episode? All the auditions were taped in a marathon 12 hour day, so the judges are always wearing the same thing. (Also, note despite this being premiere week, we settle instantly into the two hour-one format. No double two-hour premiere. Sorry NBC.)
If we’re halfway through the Idol process, then it must be time for the spring version of Mark Burnett’s competing musical reality show, The Voice, to shuffle in and act like their not seriously late to the party. NBC has an excuse this year–the Olympics delayed everything until now. But I think we may remember that The Voice didn’t actually get started last year until March. So NBC is actually pushing up the return date due to lack of viable programming. (I mean, have you seen the trailers for Growing Up Fisher? JK Simmons, I remember when you were branding swastikas on people’s asses. I’m not going to be able to believe you in a comedy.) The good news is perhaps this year it won’t feel like the program runs half way into summer?
But enough considering how The Voice is going to play to audiences. We have the real stars of the show to open for us. Take it away mentors!
Remember when the opening performance by the mentors at least looked live? With the removal of XFactor from the landscape, the comparisons are now straight Idol vs Voice, and they are both working hard to widen the gap.
Now that the mentors feel like they have gotten their appropriate attention due, we turn to those invited to audition and see where the producers have assigned them. After the frenzy of the Idol auditions, the pacing here feels almost stately. Please note that since this gimmick was tapes a good month ago, Carson will not be talking about the fact that CeeLo has quit the fall version of the production, or that the show is quietly hunting for a replacement judge. The show’s first chance to address that won’t come until a couple of gimmicks down the road when we reach the Live Playoffs. Considering the embarrassment filling judges slots caused over on Idol and XFactor over the last couple of summers, I would not be surprised if Burnett has the slot filled by that time.
With the end of the Olympics means the end of people voluntarily tuning in to NBC programming other than The Voice. Good thing they’re bringing it back immediately.
Here’s a sneak peek of youtube star Christina Grimmie’s audition to whet your appetite. (In case two months of Idol shows hasn’t done so already.)
I mean, you can’t say you didn’t see this coming after last fall. I said it during the season. heck I asked how long it would be until Usher replaces him full time only last week. Apparently it was “right quick.”
He announced it on Ellen this morning.
“I’m going to continue my relationship with NBC,” explained Cee Lo. “I have a television development deal with them as well, and hopefully some other talk show opportunities with them later in the year. I’m going to miss The Voice too.”
And then he announced. “I’m not coming back guys!”
After the audience reacted with “ooohs!” and “awws!” Cee Lo continued. “I don’t want to wear out my welcome there. You know what I’m saying. I have so many other things that I want to do. I haven’t released an album in four years.”
Usher and Shakira are back! Considering how much better Xtina was this passed season, this is not a full upgrade, only partial. It’s good to see Usher is ready to take it all this cycle. Considering how quickly CeeLo lost all his contestants last fall, and with a trial coming up, how long is it until Usher replaces him full time?
For the last time until March or so, let’s check those iTunes stats.
01. “I Have Nothing” Tessanne Chin
03. “Let It Be” Tessanne Chin&Adam Levine
08. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” Will Champlin
09. “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” Jacquie Lee
10. “Tiny Dancer”Will Champlin&Adam Levine
16. “Try” Tessanne Chin
18. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Tessanne Chin
19. “We Remain” Jacquie Lee&Christina Aguilera
29. “Back To Black” Jacquie Lee
50. “Not Over You” Will Champlin
69. “Angel” Jacquie Lee
74. “Redemption Song” Tessanne Chin
88. “At Last” Will Champlin
94. “If I Were Your Woman” Tessanne Chin
98. “Underneath It All” Tessanne Chin
Let us be fair–the only songs that matter here are the final tracks sung last night, and those sit at 1, 8 and 9 respectively. Not that there is a Top Ten bonus advantage. There’s some language in The Voice rules now about a “cumulative iTunes sales total” that’s been accruing since the Top Six.
Why did they change it up? Check out the rest of that Top 100. This being the last window of shopportunity, it’s normal to see older tracks bubble back up as fans get completionist about it. The return to the Blind Audition songs (a point where very few are shopping) also causes extra tracks to float back as people go looking for the original blind audition numbers and find other stuff. In terms of that derby, out of the 15 slots The Voice holds, Tessanne almost laps the competition with 7 tracks in the Top 100 (including her duet) while Will and Jacquie tie at four apiece.
So all iTunes signs point to Adam finally playing the game right since the format change and getting Tessanne to peak at just the right time.
Is it enough to carry her through? This new rule set favors those who peak at the right time, which she’s certainly done. Let’s bulletpoint our way through the mess of filler and find out.
We’ve reached the end of another surprisingly entertaining season of The Voice. Tonight our Top Three–two from Adam’s team and one from Xtina’s–will perform two solo numbers and a duet with their coach. Plus there will be group numbers and filler galore because it’s a two hour show. Tomorrow will be even more filler laden, as we have an old fashion variety show break out while we wait two hours for results.
But first Carson is going to bore us all to death with a season recap. The only thing good about this is he’s not doing it from a branded Skybox. We can skip that and go to the opening number.
Lest you forget and thing that somehow our contestants are the stars of the show, this should set you to rights. besides, Blake and CeeLo need to feel included somehow.
I may have stamped my feet and squealed with sheer delight at the sight of the iTunes results on Tuesday morning.
1. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Tessanne Chin
6. “Angel” Jacquie Lee
10. “Carry On” Will Champlin
12. “Shameless” Cole Vosbury
14. “With Or Without You” James Wolpert
It’s a close race, but when you’ve got three in the Top Ten, and two who couldn’t break that line, the results are written on the wall. Voting could make a difference between Cole and Will making it in, but the chances are slim.
And Tessanne made number one! Dear Matthew, this is what is known as peaking at the right time. (Ok, that was a little harsh. After all, “Hallelujah” is still in inside the Top 100.)
Let’s see f iTunes is calling it or if there’s actually a surprise in store with tonight’s eliminations.