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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Voice - Season 2, Week 1

We have decided that this is the most tolerable of the reality shows searching for singers. First of all, there is less time wasting on this show. The overall running times are reasonable, unlike worst time-sucking offender The X-Factor, which asks us to dedicate several hours per week. The Voice also has less spectacle and shock value. It’s less annoying. There are fewer bright lights flashing in our faces and overeager hosts. We like that this show doesn’t make fun of people or bring through all the rejects. Nobody buys that Simon and Randy screen all these people first, and yet the Idol and X-Factor formats are designed to make us think they sit through everyone and have the biggest say on who gets picked. They don’t.

One thing that makes this show great is that they offer downloads of the singers’ covers on iTunes from the start, rather than just when the people hit the top 12 or so (and that it will eventually count in the voting). We also like that the singers pick their coaches and that only one judge has to like you for you to get a shot. It’s kind of annoying when the singers say, “This is such a tough decision.” MANY of them say that, and you roll your eyes, because you know these people have researched the judges, their connections, and their credentials, and they know who they want, for the most part. The show DOES begin with the highest level of talent, but it’s a little lame that the show claims to judge people entirely on their voices.

That’s just not true. The producers and showrunners screen these people for looks and sob stories. Only the judges evaluate these people on voice alone, but they only get to evaluate from a pool pre-selected and probably even screen tested by the producers. This method does serve to make the show classier and it reduces the focus on looks, but it shouldn’t claim that it goes for voice alone. We love that all the judges have different sounds and do current music. Simon is still looking for Celine Dion 2.0. These judges are looking for something different. Yeah, they tend to favor their own genres and voices like their own, but since they all sound so different, that results in variety.

Let’s get right into the contestants we saw this week on Monday and Superbowl Sunday.
  • RaeLynn was the first. We loved her. She did have a little Miranda Lambert going on, and that’s fine. Ern is not a country fan, and even she enjoyed this performance.
  • Jesse Campbell started out bashing his ex, saying that she left him because he couldn’t provide the lifestyle she wanted. Uh…yeah. Relationships are usually more complicated than that, and that sounds like one side of the story. He should have kept that tidbit to himself. Bashing exes on TV is immature. We do like how committed to his daughter he was. He had a good voice AND a sob story (homelessness) so you knew he was getting on this show. He’s not one of our faves, but the voice is there. We're pretty sure all of the judges thought of Javier Colon when Jesse started singing.
  • Daniel Rosa was our first crier of the season. His voice was too breath-y due to nerves. The ending was ok, but the beginning was way too rough for him to have a chance. No one picked him and the judges told him to work on pitch and control. This is something else we enjoy about The Voice: we feel like the coaches are actually helping the people they don't choose, and still encourage them to pursue their dreams.
  • Juliet Simms had a little of what Ern calls goat vibrato, and we are starting to get tired of singers who can only get character in their singing by growling. The judges, however, loved her “gruffness” and “dirt.” Leeard liked her, overall, and Ern admits that her riffs were right on and, underneath the poseur rock raps, she had a nice tone. We loved Christina making fun of Adam during this round. We also like that Juliet walked out of there feeling “accepted for who she is.” That’s always nice.
  • Chris Mann came in with just the right sob story. Cancer mom. But he also came in with a risky song choice. Opera people coming into these things singing operatic songs in other languages? That makes it rough for the judges to see them making modern music. Lots of classically trained singers have put their voices into powerhouse pop, like Pat Benatar. We thought this guy would be shown the door, but the judges proved they want variety. We like that Chris had the guts to go in as himself, rather than “shrink his voice to fit popular music.” If Cee Lo can dig opera, anyone can.
  • Tony Lucca was Christina’s former Mickey Mouse Club castmate. The producers had to tell Christina who he was, and she gave him some very belated info - Britney Spears had a crush on him. She went a tad crazy years later, but we have a feeling Tony is still regretting not having these facts earlier, haha. As a singer, he was good, but one of us didn’t like the way he snubbed Christina by not telling her who he was and by not picking her as a coach. It came off as jealousy. One of us is completely fine with his decisions; he chose the coach he thought would help them the most, and he didn't make her feel bad in front of the audience by basically calling her out on not remembering him.
    • The second hour started with the judges performing. Man, Christina is a great live singer. Cee Lo is pretty good too. Blake was a little too different than the others, so he didn’t fit as nicely into the performance with his country sound (side note: shut up, Ern. He was awesome). Adam was a little too quiet in front of all that loud background music. We would like to thank Christina for not dressing like a hooker who only has access to clothing three sizes too small for her. We think Christina has a great body, but no matter what size or shape you are, you have to know how to dress it to your advantage. It's not just for curvy girls like Aguilera. It's the same way if you are a skinny stick who just goes straight down. You don't want to be wearing long, slinky dresses that will just emphasize your lack of hips. Christina seems to have learned her lesson after last year's famous short shorts. Ladies, retire the short shorts after the age of 28. Now if she would just lose the rings. She could also use a different hair color. We don’t think that’s the right shade of blonde for her. The best thing might be a light brown, frankly. The performance was nice and short. Again with the no time wasting. There are also a reasonable number of commercial breaks on this show.
  • The duo The Line was nice, but we were unenthused, overall. Together, they sound fine. We thought it was funny how pissed Blake was when the rest of the judges turned around so that they could horn in on his country duo.
  • Jamar Rogers, you had a good voice and were rightly chosen for this show. Sorry about the HIV, bro. One of us immediately remembered him from Idol (like 3 years ago) and is glad to see him again.
  • Neal Middleton, why wouldn’t you tell us how you fell off that building in the first place? That sounds like a part of the story we need to hear. We loved his sweet, supportive wife, but this guy needs to give up the rock star dream. He is 33 and needs to seek his health insurance elsewhere. He picked a great song ("Heard It Through the Grapevine"), but he had a butt-rock/Creed-like voices we didn’t care for. There is no way he would have won the show, because his sound is not unique. We completely agreed with Blake, too: he shouldn't have started (and stayed at) 10.
  • Country crooner Gwen Sebastian had to choose between using her drying up eggs and making it in music while the face is still good. Ahh, the challenges we women face. Gwen picked music over babies and tried out for The Voice. One of us thought she had an annoying voice at first, but through her song, the tone got more appealing. We are happy to see her succeed and like her, overall. We don’t think she will make it far though.
  • Pamela Rose was so attractive that she would have been picked if the judges could have seen her. Roll on over to Simon Cowell, girl. He’s the patron saint of hotties who can’t sing. Pamela’s earrings were obnoxiously large and her voice was shout-y and pitchy. The song she chose was appropriately titled "Already Gone".
  • Kim Yarbrough had great skin, especially for a 50-year-old woman. We agreed with her that if you say old people aren’t allowed to sing, you are depriving the world of something. That something is probably more substantial, wiser lyrics. However, the industry panders to teens, and teens want to see young people. Kim had a decent alto. We want to hear her sing a different song before we make our minds up about her.
  • Angie Johnson was next. She was the military chick and THIS is the story that got Ern, stalwart backstory hater. Just give us the singing! Here, Ern got chills, because there’s something about all this Band of Brothers business that melts her a bit. We preferred Angie’s voice singing "Rolling in the Deep" on the youtube video, but she was still pretty good in her audition. "Heartbreaker" was a bad choice. We think she is better at clear-voiced pop than rock. Christina was starting to annoy us with the fake-presses. She lets her hand hover and then jerks it away. Attention whoring. We’re rooting for Angie and we want to see her sing something else, soon. That song made her sound too generic. Good job hitting your button, Cee Lo.
  • Dez gave up on Yale to move away and pursue singing. MORON, wait until after graduation. You will look and sound the same, and there will still be a singing competition show. Probably the same ones. You were in YALE!!! The judges were angry when they saw that they gave up on a cutie. Everyone thought Adam would feel his sound and style, sing it was high pop, like Adam sings. But Adam’s face let us know immediately that he would never have pushed the button for this kid. He was firm in his decision. Dez did not do well and was rightly booted. We're pretty sure he'll be one of the singers they bring back in a few weeks for second chance auditions.
  • After that, we saw our current favorite, Lindsey Pavao. Her version of "Say Aah" was so much better than the Trey Songz version. It actually had a melody in her version. Her jazzy version made the song and lyrics sound almost haunting/eerie. When she told the “shorty” to say aah and that she knew he was thirsty, it sounded like she was some sort of unique-voiced vixen dragging this “shorty” right to the bowels of debauchery. We mean that in the best possibly way. It’s always a good idea to bend the gender on songs, meaning that guys should cover girls songs and the other way around. It instantly makes it more unique and more your own, and it’s harder to compare you to the original singer. We both downloaded this performance and it’s even better recorded. Good call, Christina. Adam, you are crazy. Although maybe he was able to foresee her crazy hair. It was a HALF BUZZCUT. Good lord, why?
  • Hoja Lopez followed, covering "Teenage Dream". She had weird pronunciation and bad pitch. Was she trying to do some sort of accent? We agree with the judges for not picking her. These judges didn’t let good people slip away and knew when not to push the button. They didn’t make a mistake once, through all the different genres, styles, and ages. They really know their stuff. We frequently scream at our screens during American Idol auditions when good people are let go.
  • Jermaine Paul, friend of Alicia Keys, picked a bad song to audition with, but his voice came through anyway. And WOW, Alicia, way to make a good luck recording that sounded totally insincere and rehearsed. Bleck. Also, stop growling, people. We understand that it can be appealing, but it’s overdone lately.
  • We left off with Angel Taylor, our second favorite. We would have liked her better if she hadn’t picked an ADELE song. That version is hard to stand up to. Also, everyone has heard it so many times that we are a) tired of it and b) so used to ADELE singing it that any other voice just sounds wrong doing it. Except for Glee’s Santana and Mercedes, maybe. Angel sang the word “heard” weirdly too. It distracted us. This girl had a record deal before and was dropped from her label (as happens frequently on this show). Ern actually had her album, years ago, and her voice was decent on it. It was the songwriter who should have been chucked, not her. Check out the song “Chai Tea Latte.” It was probably the best song on that CD. Angel has a really nice voice and a sob story that tugged our heartstrings enough that we would call it “effective.” We think she should do well in the competition and we like that this show gives people second chances. Several great artists needed second chances. We also loved her family’s reaction during the audition. They seem like a riot. More of them, please! In this day and age, if Angel makes it big, we might have a reality show with this crowd to look forward to. Any family has to be more entertaining than those boring-ass Kardashians.
 We will likely cover this in the following weeks. It deserves it, and we don't cover reality TV enough (because most of it sucks). Drinking game: Take a shot every time we are forced to use the phrase "sob story."


  1. I love your guys’ judging, I almost feel like I don’t even have to watch the show! In all truth though, The Voice is the one and only reality TV show that’s worth watching this season. Since I normally work Monday nights I don’t watch The Voice live, but instead watch it on my job’s site, It’s free to watch and it’s dependable (unfortunately my roommates tend to “accidently” cancel The Voice half way through recording). Thanks again for the reviews; I’m eager to see what you guys think once the coaches have their teams filled.

    1. Thanks!

      And yeah, one of us watches it on hulu. We can't be in a specific spot every week, on the dot.