Live Performances – Week Two – The Voice.
By: Ed Ulibarri
I hate to say it, because it takes a lot of my time to watch these shows…
I like the vocal competitions on TV. As a musician, song writer, and singer, I connect and feel for these kids that are singing their hearts out. What I like is the spectacle of witnessing a star being born right before our eyes. There are kids that have that STAR quality, and then there are kids that can sing well. And the interesting thing that makes these TV shows so intriguing is that everybody sees that “Star thing” in different contestants. We all don’t agree. But when one of these shows produces a Kelly Clarkson or a Carrie Underwood, it’s magic. I also like to see the artists grow during the series. Some of them become much better singers than they knew they were. You have to hand it to the producers of American Idol, The Voice and The X Factor. These shows have some really talented people coaching these kids, and do a KILLER job. There is so much that goes into making it big in the BiZ! Of course you have to be a good singer… and it helps if you are a great singer. Ahh… but there’s so much more. There is stage presence, being different and unique, timing – meaning that you have the right sound at the right time… HUGE!!!! And having the right material is KING. And of course having the right producer to help the artist navigate the entire process of selecting the material, getting it tracked, mixed and mastered to showcase the best of what the artist has to offer.
I had the opportunity to be included in a group of some of the most talented people on the planet as a judge in Mike Pinder’s on line song writing contest called SongWars. (I am very fortunate to say that I have been a close friend of Mike – and his wonderful wife Tara – for over 25 years. Mike Pinder of course is one of the founding members of The Moody Blues, which is one of the most influential bands of ALL time. Note: The Moodies are not a member of the Rock N Roll Hall of fame. Give me a break! But that discussion will continue at a later date.) Sorry… I got side tracked…
I heard a lot of good songs as a SongWars judge, there’s a lot of talent out there. There are so many people out there that write songs, some good, and some not so good. And once in a while you get to hear a great song. That great song makes it worth the effort of listening to all of the songs that weren’t that good. But here’s a really cool thing. Without question, every one of the SongWars judges I spoke to all encouraged each and every song writer to continue their journey to become better song writers. The joy of creating something from the cosmos is a really great feeling, and contributes much to help heal the world in which we live. I must admit that I enjoyed the study of music on that level, which is one of the reasons I enjoy these types of TV shows. It really is a study of mostly young talent, and the interaction with some of the best talent in the music industry for the contestants to work with, and to hone their skills on many levels. I especially enjoy it when the artists surprise themselves with a great performance. What a feeling that has to be when “the crowd goes WILD” and you know you nailed it! I cheer and chuckle a bit when that happens. I really am happy for the contestant, and want to tell them so.
Which brings me to why I’m writing the “Eddie U” blog. I’m going to weigh in – on what I see going on with these talent shows. Not just with the contestants, but with the judges and whatever else that moves me.
So here it goes.
As appeared in the telecast.
#1. 4/9/2012. The Voice (week 2 of the elimination round on NBC)
I really liked the show last year, and this year is even better. Especially the judges. Adam, Cee Lo, Christina and Blake do a very good job indeed! More often than not, they usually have good comments for the contestants. Theirs is not an easy job… especially when the judge has to give a truthful critique of a bad performance. Great jobs guys. (unlike other shows). The production of The Voice this year is very good, and much improved over season 1. They especially improved the audio production compared to last year. Last years performance of Train’s Pat Monahan did not sound good at all. You don’t want to make the guest stars sound like shit. Ouch!
What can I say about The Band – KILLER. Enough said. I’m sure these guys are working their butts off. Way to go guys! SMOKIN!!!
Judge note: I think Blake was a little bit lit tonight. Blake really does ad a good balance to the show… But his comment tonight was WAY strange. Here is what he said:
“This is the outfit… this is how little of a crap I give about ya’lls teams.” Now… I know he was joking, and he really didn’t mean it. Blake is not that kind of guy. So let’s not get carried away here. But this was way out there. The grammar on this show is creative to put it mildly, but this one had to take the cake for tonight! Go Blake! Nice come back by Adam for sure. I hope you recorded the show. Quite entertaining…
KATRINA PARKER – I gave her a 9.
Song: Tonight Tonight by the Smashing Pumpkins.
This lady has really won me over, and her performance tonight was one of the best of the night. Great way to start the show. I hope she goes a long way in the competition. She deserves it. Great singer. One of the criteria I use for ranking the contestants is – how much the performer GROWS in the competition.
And Katrina has really grown… a Lot. I had never heard the song that she sang tonight, and Katrina knocked it out of the park. It was the right song for her.
Cee Lo… I love you buddy… but I couldn’t disagree more with you on this one. You said “I don’t believe this song was meant to be performed… It should not ever be a show tune” WHAT??? I don’t have your perspective of this song as you do. You’re familiar with it, I’m not, you saw it live, and I saw the performance on TV. Cee Lo … I hope you have a different take on Katrina’s song after you see it on TV. (And I know Katrina is going against your team – and then there’s that (;>O
And Christina thought her dress was too constricting. Katrina looked great! The best for her so far!
Cheesa – 6
Team Cee Lo
Song: Don’t Leave Me This Way – by Thelma Houston
The song she performed was not a good song for her. And the Cheesy production didn’t help her either…nor did Cee Lo. Good voice… but has some harsh tones in certain ranges. Some vocal lessons will help her iron that out.
Cheesa could be in trouble.
Tony Lucca – 7
Song: In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.
Tony did the song justice, but didn’t seem to be enough to impress the judges. I like this guy a lot, but I’m afraid that there is a reason that Christina, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears became big stars, and this guy didn’t. He just doesn’t have the Star factor, and his lack of range hurt him tonight. Christina is covering her butt, because of the Musketeers connection. I get it. Tony has very good stage presence and strong vocals. But the weak ending didn’t help him none. I think Tony will go through to the next round.
Kim Yarbrough – 4
Song: Rolling In The Deep – by Adele
The judges got this one right for sure. Kim had some pretty bad pitch issues tonight. She’s a goner!
Side note: The backing vocals sounded great!
James Massone – 9
Team Cee Lo
Song: Don’t Know Why – by Norah Jones
This was a great song choice as it showed another side of James’ singing ability.
This is another contestant that has won me over. James has that Star factor. The TV loves him! Cee Lo nailed him… “James let the girls get him sidetracked”. He had some pitch issues because of it.
(Judges Note: Blake redeemed himself with the PANTIES routine. “I almost pitched my panties” was the line of the night! Blake… your cool buddy!!!! Nice…)
James has a unique voice, and can sell some records with the right producer and the right songs. He will definitely get through to the next round. The babes love this guy.
Juliett Simms- 8
Team Cee Lo
Song: Roxanne – by the Police
Roxanne was a very good choice for Juliett. She struggled a bit with her voice… I think she had a little voice fatigue from the week of rehearsals, which in a way helped her with this song to get an even more raspy sound, which is great for ROCK. Juliett has a very good rock voice. She had some pitch issues here and there that she needs to be careful of.
She has a good stage vibe for sure! This performance is probably a good example of what it must be like to see the show live as opposed to watching it on TV. There’s got to be a different experience for the listener if you’re in the audience. The Judges heaped more praise on Juliett than she deserved. Juliett has had five record deals that all went south. But I believe she can sell a lot of records with the right material and a killer producer. Juliett is one of the favorites here at T.D.I.R. GO Juliett. Nice job indeed!
Mathai – 9
Ordinary People – by John Legend
Adam says “Magical” that is exactly RIGHT! Great job on this one buddy!
This is one of the times when I thought I was seeing a Star being Born. Mathai has a unique voice and vibe… something really different about her. Great voice, great song choice, and here is another singer that the camera loves. I hope she goes through to the next round.
Judges note: I love Christina – one of my favorite singers of all time – but she always wants the over the top production. I agree with Blake… sometimes LESS is MORE!
Tony Vincent – 5
Team Cee Lo
Song: Everybody Wants To Rule The World – by Tears for Fears.
Tony had a rough night. He chose a song that did not fit him at all. I have never heard him have pitch issues like he had tonight. He is a much better singer than what he showed. Cee Lo didn’t help you this week. Tony is in real trouble and might not be back next week.
Karla Davis – 4
Song: Airplanes – by B.o.B
Karla also chose a song that she will regret. That plus pitch problems means she’s in trouble for sure. Cee Lo was right when he said that Karla had good phrasing on the song.
Not an easy thing to pull off.
Erin Martin – 7
Team Cee Lo
Song: Walk Like An Egyptian – by The Bangles
Erin doesn’t have a great voice, but she can sing good enough in the studio to make great records with the right material and producer. Erin’s voice is very unique and she also has that cool Star thing. Erin looked great, and was entertaining. She has a lot of potential, and could do something as an artist. The TV also loves her. She might be in trouble however???
PIP – 4
Song: When You Were Young – by The Killers
Pip underperformed tonight. The song was not good for him. He had pitch problems all over the place, and was really stiff on stage. The judges… especially Adam did a great job critiquing a weak performance. Pip’s a goner.
Jamar Rogers – 8
Team Cee Lo
Song: Are You Gonna Go My Way – by Lenny Kravitz
Celo definitely picked the right song for Jamar. Jamar kicked ass tonight. Very strong vocal work. And his personal story will help him with the voters. Jamar really comes off well on TV, saying the right things when he gets the chance, like the back stage ditty. Unfortunately, there wasn’t’ much originality shown with this song. However… it was well done!
So here are the people that are in the bottom, and are in danger of going home tonight.