I’ll just get my negativity out of the way first. I don’t like to be meddled with and I felt like there was some meddling going on tonight on The Voice performance finale. We’ve all felt the #GirlPower push all season but tonight was just unabashed vote propping. After two full rounds of a consistent performance order that favored Hannah Huston as the last performer, the final round was switched up once again giving Team X-Tina’s finalist Alisan Porter the highly coveted final spot on the most important night of voting of the season. That wouldn’t have been as obvious had they not buried Hannah’s best performance of the night in the first round and Adam’s chart-topping original song in the middle of the show during the time when we’re usually checking on the laundry or feeding the cat.
I get it. You want Alisan to win and I like her and I’ve got nothing bad to say about her. Just don’t toy with us and play manipulation mambo with our emotions. If all that wasn’t bad enough, she then pulled the Christina’s never won card again during her final package. I don’t blame her, that’s all producers doing all they can to get a win for XTina. Listen, Alisan can sing. Just don’t mess with me. It makes me vote for other people. Sorry.
Also, was Pharrell’s pink raincoat part of some Jedi mind trick tonight or are his clothes getting weirder and weirder?
Anyway, this was really a pretty great finale and any of the four deserve to win. I’m having a hard time coming to grips with who I think should and will win. Each contestant had three performances; one original song, one duet with their coach and one cover. They could have taken a page from the Idol playbook and kept each round to one style to make things easier to compare but who is really comparing at this point I guess. Here’s a quick look by round:
Laith opened the show with White Room by Cream and he was fantastic on his guitar as usual. I was actually glad he made the finale because he is different and authentic and having him there made for a great show. My thoughts during his performance: If dudes voted, this guy would win.
Alisan was second in this round with her original song Down That Road. I was so completely distracted with the odd metal object placing on Alisan’s sheer dress that I missed half the lyrics of the song but the ones I did hear were kind of cliché. This song reminded me a lot of Bonnie Raitt. Then, an eerie row of strangers appeared with lanterns in the background and creeped me completely out. Not her fault. She sounded flawless. The song…meh.
Adam and Blake did the first duet tonight which, to me, looked like they hadn’t rehearsed a lot. Blake’s been pretty busy with the new girlfriend, I understand. The Conversation isn’t a song I’d heard before and while I enjoyed both of their voices, I just felt like they had zero connection to each other while singing it. Adam was really quiet in spots and didn’t really seem to be in it to win it…to quote the Dogfather.
Hannah closed out round one with what would be her best performance of the night. With the help of Pharrell and Paul the leader of the house band, they flipped Every Breath You Take by The Police into something a little more sultry and dark. She looked stunning, the risks were worth it and this was her moment tonight. Don’t get me started on why it was buried in round one!
Laith and coach Adam covered a song (or three) with way too long of a title; Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End. This felt like one of those jam sessions that are really awesome between musicians that are really awesome but this isn’t a catchy song or anything I can sing along to in my car. Therefore, I don’t get it.
Alisan and Christina vocally battled through You’ve Got a Friend and it was a great duet but I found the song choice to be lacking any sort of creativity or real attempt to garner votes with the iTunes crowds. It was fine and these two girls can sing but again enough with the runs and embellishments.
Adam’s original song Lonesome, Broken and Blue was written on a beach while he was drinking margaritas and the sun was in his eyes. I like this guy and his realness and his talented songwriting and musicianship. This was my favorite original of the night and America must agree as this song has, as of this writing, dethroned brother Timberlake atop the iTunes charts. This was Adam’s moment tonight, go download this song. (At this point, I still feel like someone told Adam to lay off on the trying to win stuff though. He just didn’t feel 100% committed tonight).
Here is where the only real stumble happened. The weakest link in the show tonight was this slow-moving train wreck of a duet with Hannah and her coach Pharrell on Brand New, which is currently hovering between 80-100 on the charts. I honestly thought Hannah had a shot at stealing the title in a complete coups until this happened. I don’t know who picked this song but it didn’t do anyone any favors. This should have been buried in round one so voters could forget about it.
Round Three (catch the different order here):
Laith’s original song reminds me of listening to my parent’s music in the 70’s. This guy is smooth and so blues-tastic but I’m not going to buy a whole CD of guitar riffs. Some people will but my guess is they don’t vote. Morning Light is the only song of Laith’s to pierce the top 10 at this hour so he’ll get the multiplier, but only for one song. My guess is this dude, as awesome as he is, goes home in fourth place.
Adam Wakefield got bumped down in the performance order for his final performance tonight of Vince Gill’s When I Call Your Name. He was perfect as usual and the difference between Adam and the rest of the finalists is that I would actually buy a whole CD of whatever Adam is singing. To me, he is the only one with a current sound that is authentic, has a point of view and knows who he is. While I still feel like he was slightly off tonight, I still think he is one of the best contestants this show has had in terms of marketability in the right hands. Ever.
Hannah too got bumped from her prime closing spot for this round, which was her original song round. Her song seemed to be made up by Pharrell, for Hannah, during rehearsal. The production value on Call the Shots was phenomenal and the song had Pharrell’s stamp all over it. I don’t think it was the best to showcase Hannah and placing it just before people are voting seemed like a sabotage move to me. I’m kind of crazy but why not put her best performance of the night in the last round so that is what voters remember? Huh, why?
Alisan, heir apparent, got the final spot and she always deserves the praise but sometimes (just my opinion) it seems like marketing Alisan might turn out to be like trying to bring Celine Dion back. Her performance of Somewhere was everything I want in a final number of a Broadway musical. There is no denying that she can sing, but is she current or does she have a sound that is missing in music today? I don’t think so.
Original Song Round Winner: Adam Wakefield
Duet Round Winner: Tough one but I’ll give it to Adam and Laith for sheer coolness.
Cover Winner: Hannah Huston for that super amazing Every Breath You Take.
I’m not saying that Alisan doesn’t have the best voice or that Hannah hasn’t shown the most growth and has the best personality. Without a doubt, this was one of the best final four I’ve seen in a while. But I still think Adam deserves to win. Final Answer.
Tune in tomorrow to see how that goes.