The Voice Battles, Week 1: Keeping the Dream Alive

Reality TV can get a bad rap, that’s why I think we should call talent shows something different, like Competition TV or Dream Makers TV. The Voice, American Idol, X Factor, and America’s Got Talent have nothing in common with shows like The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, and Teen Mom. Both types of shows have real people, but that’s where the similarities end. I will admit to watching seasons of The Bachelor every now and then, and I have seen episodes of Teen Mom, but I am embarrassed by that fact. Those shows highlight what’s wrong with the world; however, I am never embarrassed to admit that I watch TV that helps people achieve their dreams. My favorite show by far is The Voice. Like other competitions, there is a prize at the end; the winner of The Voice gets a contract with Universal Republic Records.

Why is The Voice better than those other competitions? It is truly about working with people who have a dream of becoming a recording artist. All contestants are following a passion that has been burning inside of them since they were little. This is the only competition that makes sure the contestants are worthy before they get on the show. The other shows have too many people who just want to get on TV, and they do ridiculous things to guarantee it. I get really sick of that kind of behavior; shock-value behavior perpetuates more shock-value behavior. No wonder we have a society that undervalues education, morals, and character when all one has to do is act stupid to become famous. The other talent shows also make fun of people. I hate that even more. I’m sad for the William-Hung type contestants who think they are really talented, but in reality society is laughing at them. The Voice is the only show that honors and respects everyone’s talent, whether the judges turn their chairs around or not.

The Blind Auditions are also unusual in this era. People are judged purely on their voices, not the surface-level visual appeal that has destroyed the music industry in certain respects. Some of our greatest singers would never have made it in the industry if they were judged by appearance rather than their voices. Imagine the world without Barbra Streisand, Lyle Lovett, and Freddie Mercury. Fans grew to love these talented artists, regardless of their physical features, and later embraced these characteristics that made them unique. That’s why The Voice is an awesome show. Contestants who are beautiful in appearance also like that their voices turn the chairs around, not their looks. With so many people getting hurt, overlooked, or prejudged because of looks, it’s a wonder the world pays so much attention to it. Thankfully the producers of The Voice figured it out.

The Battle Rounds are hard, because so many people are eliminated each show. Some are amazing artists already, but their time on the show ends. I realize that in any competition there will be winners and losers, but it’s so hard to see talented people lose. My hope is that producers in the industry watch the show, and the people who are eliminated get opportunities to continue pursuing their dreams.

I have to admit, Adam Levine is the reason I started watching the show. I know it sounds hypocritical to say that I wanted to gaze adoringly at this incredibly gorgeous man, since I just admonished the world for being too appearance orientated. But in my defense, I loved Maroon 5’s music before I knew what Adam looked like. His looks were just an added benefit. Also, through watching the show, I’ve come to admire his character, as well. I also enjoy watching the interactions among the other judges.

Recap and Opinions of The Voice “The Battles Begin” Aired March 5, 2012

First Battle: Team Adam. Adam picked Tony Lucca to go against Chris Cauley; they had to sing “Beautiful Day” by U2. Tony Lucca is the former Mickey Mouse Club member, and Chris Cauley is from Atlanta. During The Blind Auditions, they showed that great clip of Chris singing with his grandmother. Alanis Morissette and Robin Thicke were the guest celebrity coaches for Team Adam.

While they are practicing, I can’t help but wonder why Adam put those two against each other. They are both so good. Both singers could be in the final, but now, one of them has to leave the show in the first round.

Chris felt a little intimidated by going against Tony Lucca because of Tony’s past. He tried to stay positive and said, “At the end of the day we have to be great performers.”

Both were awesome, but I felt that Chris was better. Blake agreed with me. He felt Chris’s pitch was consistent.

Christina and Cee Lo both thought Tony did better, however, with Cee Lo saying that Tony is “the total package.”

Finally, Adam said that “Chris is theatrical” and that “Tony blows me away.” He said, “I didn’t think it was going to be this close.”

In the end, Adam picked Tony. I’m not sure I agree with that choice, but then again, I’m not in the music industry.

Chris Cauley is a great guy. His final comment shows that he is a man of character. He said he was a fan of Adam’s music but that now, he’s “a fan of [Adam’s] as a man, which is more important.” I agree.

Second Battle: Team Blake. Blake picked Adley to go against Raelynn; they had to sing “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty. Adley has rock influences, and she is new to the music dream; she has only been singing for 10 months. Raelynn, on the other hand, has been trying to break-in to the country music industry for some time, even though she is only 17. Blake says that this will be a good battle because they are “both completely different” performers. Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson are the celebrity guest coaches.

Raelynn was so excited when she saw Miranda Lambert; she hugged her and said “You’re real!” It might have been an embarrassing moment for her, except that she is so darn cute about it, it makes it an endearing interchange. Miranda and Raelynn blended beautifully together during rehearsal, and Blake said that the two of them were “Kindred spirits.” I wonder if Blake sees a duet with his wife and protégé in the future. Raelynn said she hopes she wins this battle because “This is my dream. I don’t want to go back to the farm.”

Adley works with Kelly Clarkson. What I didn’t expect was how beautiful Adley and Blake sounded together. For a brief moment their voices created a beautiful duet, with Adley’s deep tone complimenting Blake’s. Adley’s spunk and determination was summed up when she said, “I’m not going to quit until the last note.”

During the battle it was a little awkward since their voices were so different. Raelynn has a unique sound that is definitely country; Adley’s voice is clear and strong, and could work with any genre of music. It was nice to see the two girls hug at the end of the song. The competition did not affect their sense of decency and mutual respect.

I felt that Adley won the battle. Christina and Cee Lo agreed with me.

Adam, however, said he liked Raelynn better because she was “more unique.”

Blake chose Raelynn, which I was a little surprised about, but I’m sure he sees her as a future country star.

Adley showed class when she said to Blake, “I look up to you, and I hope I made you proud tonight.”

Third Battle: Team Christina. Christina chose Chris Mann to battle against Monique; they had to sing “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion. Chris is the artist who was classically trained; Monique has a powerful voice but she doesn’t have the training that Chris has. The celebrity guest coaches are Lionel Ritchie and Jewel.

Chris works with Lionel Ritchie. Chris is worried because he’s a perfectionist and Monique sings with passion.

Monique works with Jewel. Christina tells Monique to “use the emotion and the love you feel and put it back in the song.”

It was a little bit of an awkward performance because their styles were so different, but I think Chris was a bit robotic, whereas Monique sang her heart out. Blake agreed with me.

Cee Lo and Adam said that Chris won the battle.

Christina picked Chris; again, not who I would have picked.

Monique said that Christina’s help was “priceless.”

Fourth Battle: Team Cee Lo. Cee Lo chose Cheesa to battle Angie Johnson with the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. Cheesa is a Honolulu native; their move to Los Angeles hurt their finances so the family moved into the garage and opened up an elderly care facility in their house. Angie is a staff sergeant that became a YouTube sensation. The celebrity guest coaches are Baby Face and Ne-Yo.

The girls seemed to be a little catty about each other. I don’t like to see that. It’s not The Bachelor.

Cheesa works with Baby Face. He gives her good advice on holding her notes.

Angie works with Ne-Yo. He said that Angie had “depth and levels to her voice.”

Both gave strong performances, but I liked Angie better. Blake and Christina agreed with me.

Adam would have picked Cheesa.

Cee Lo chose Cheesa. I haven’t agreed with a judge yet.

Angie said, “This experience was a fairy tale for me.”

Fifth Battle: Team Blake. Blake chose Jordis Unga and Brian Fuente to sing “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Jordis has an edge to her and has tried everything to break into the music industry; Brian has been in a band, but is trying to breakout into a solo career.

Brain works with Kelly Clarkson. She said, “When you’re not hesitant you’re a freakin’ killer.”

Jordis works with Miranda Lambert. Miranda told her that she auditioned as Jordis, so she shouldn’t worry about Brian. Jordis seems to be overwhelmed with the competition. She said, “I have no backup plan” if she doesn’t make it on this show.

Blake says, “Let me be the bad guy.”

Jordis had more emotion and strength in her voice, but Brian was interesting and fun to watch. I liked Jordis better. Christina and Adam agreed with me.

Cee Lo would have picked Brian.

Blake chose Jordis, the only one I agreed with so far.

Sixth Battle: Team Christina. Christina chose Anthony Evans to battle Jesse Campbell; they will sing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. Anthony is a pastor’s son who is “feeling the pressure to be something because [his] dad is something.” Jesse is a single dad who was homeless and living out of his car for a while.

Jesse understands Christina’s motive. He said, “You can’t have two similar styles representing the team. Someone has to go.” He summed up what the judges seemed to be doing with their battle pairings.

Jesse works with Lionel Richie. Lionel Richie tells him that a lot of people make mistakes by trying to outdo, “Don’t try to outdo…Don’t run past you.”

Anthony works with Jewel. She told him, “Don’t let a single note come out that you don’t mean.”

I was surprised at how good Anthony was. He seemed so timid during the blind auditions, but his voice was commanding.

The most amazing performance I’ve seen on any show. It was electric! They should be a duet instead of solo artists. I don’t know if either one of them will have the charisma they had together.

Since I have to choose one, I pick Jesse only because his story is more moving, but both voices were amazing.

Cee Lo said, “I was blown away.” He didn’t choose either artist.

Adam said, “The sheer level of talent is mind blowing.” He picks Jesse.

Blake said, “This whole thing was so good it’s ridiculous.” He picks Jesse as well.

Christina had a hard time choosing, but ends up picking Jesse.

Anthony said afterwards, “I did all that I could. I don’t have regrets. That to me feels like winning on the inside.”

Jesse said, “I feel infinite possibilities are ahead…Now it’s just time to fly.”

I am sad that two great artists’ time was cut short on the show. I would have loved to see more of Chris Cauley and Anthony Evans. They could have gone far but Adam and Christina set themselves up to make painful decisions. If anything, the nature of this type of show means that talented people will have to be eliminated. I hope that all of the eliminated artists continue to fight for and someday achieve their singing dreams.


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