From L to R: Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan.
Thanks to a combination of high wattage star power and a weakened roster of American Idol candidates, NBC’s The Voice was able to capture the fancy of American television audiences this springtime and delivered huge viewership numbers to its network. Last night, the judges and audience voted to select the show’s four finalists. If you haven’t been watching (or even if you have!), we put together a quick primer for you on who the remaining candidates are and why you should root for them, which you can use to prepare for next week’s finale, airing on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
WHO:Javier Colon (Top Left) COACH:Adam Levine SOUNDS LIKE:Brian McKnight WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR HIM: Funny, the reason you should root for him is the same as why some are rooting against him. You see, Javier Colon released two albums —he was simply called Javier at that time— on Capitol Records in the mid-aughts. Some would argue that he never really got a fair shake from his label during those tumultuous years for the industry, while others would say that he’s already got his shot and doesn’t deserve another one.
WHO:Dia Frampton (Top Right) COACH:Blake Shelton SOUNDS LIKE:Vanessa Carlton WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR HER: Much like her competitor Javier Colon, Frampton has a major label background; along with her sister Meg, the two released the album Here, Here, and Here on Sire Records in 2009. They were later dropped by Warner Bros., Sire’s parent company, in July of 2010. Will America give her another chance to make it big?
KATY PERRY‘S NEXT RECORD, THE BALLAD OF BROOKSLEY BORN, SET TO BE A ROCK OPERA ABOUT OTC DERIVATIVES
We kid, we kid. However, in the new issue of Rolling Stone, which hit newsstands today, the California Gurl talks at length about her newfound awareness of what makes this great land of ours tick. “It just feels like the thing running our country is a bank, money,” she tells RS contributing editor Erik Hedegaard. “I know it sounds like an intense viewpoint, but I’m only slowly but surely getting the wool taken off my eyes. When I was a kid, I asked questions about my faith. Now I’m asking questions about the world.” Lest you think she’s totally lost her way and turned into a stuffy economics obsessive, she then goes on to talk about her boobs. [Rolling Stone]
BEYONCÉ RUMOR MILL CONTINUES TO CHURN
Hot on the heels of last week’s rumors that Beyoncé‘s new album, 4, was going to be pushed back to September, this morning’s New York Post contained a juicy item planted by someone who clearly isn’t on Team Bey. According to the snitch source, Columbia Records execs are “very nervous about Beyonc?’s new record” because “it doesn’t have the hit songs that her fans are used to. They asked her to make changes, but she said no.” The last time we remember this much behind-the-scenes drama playing out in the gossip rags before a record came out was when Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis got into a very public beef before My December hit shelves. [Page Six]
We’re nearing the end of the first season of NBC’s The Voice, the show that has revitalized the entire genre of glorified karaoke singing competition programming. The show has been a massive ratings success for the struggling Peacock Network; so much so, in fact, that NBC has the confidence to air a 1-hour special of The Voice in the plum post-Super Bowl slot come February (that is, if an NFL season actually happens) and program it against the reigning champ of the genre, American Idol.
While it remains to be seen whether or not American audiences will be able to stomach two high-profile singing competitions on network television at the same time, The Voice has proven itself to be just what the doctor ordered for the summer network TV viewing season, which is ordinarily filled with either reruns or new shows that network execs have very little faith in. Big name talent like Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine have all upped their profile considerably, Carson Daly seems to be having the most fun he’s had since his TRL heyday, and heck, the competitors themselves have turned out to be fairly engaging, too.
Take Javier Colon, for example. The amiable 34 year-old father of two (and former Capitol records signee) seems to be the consensus favorite at this stage of the competition, and his performance of Coldplay‘s “Fix You” last night was such a knockout that it briefly clawed its way into the iTunes Top 10 singles chart. Not to take anything away from Colon, but everyone knows that it’s the majestic, shimmery guitar crescendo that gives “Fix You” its rousing power, not its lyrics or Colon’s (or, for that matter, Chris Martin‘s) voice. That said, Colon made sure to seize the moment by tossing his trademark cap into the audience and showing America his gleaming pate for the first time. Now, if we were coaching Colon, we would have advised him to save that move for the finals but, as such, it looks like his path to the next round is secure.
The only part of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that we caught last night was Ziggy Marley‘s “Forward to Love” performance, so thanks to Popdust for alerting us to an unmissable bit of Leno’s interview with Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (promoting The Voice, naturally). Apparently Los Angeles, where Levine grew up, was home to a Chuck E. Cheese-plus-lip syncing birthday party venue called Closet Stars, at which kids would get somewhat in costume and sing their favorite songs. Naturally, somebody dug up footage of a preteen Levine mouthing the words to “Don’t Be Cruel” while copping some of Bobby Brown‘s signature dance moves. (Levine starts talking about Closet Stars at 2:12; the performance kicks in at 3:24.)
Even at that age, Levine showcases a bit of the swagger that he would bring to Maroon 5 later in life. But for our money, the honor of Best Bobby Brown Lip-Sync Performance of All Time goes to Mayim Bialik as the title character on Blossom. The show-runners wanted “My Prerogative” to be the theme song to the show, which aired after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Monday nights. The rights, however, proved to be too expensive, so “My Opinionation” was hastily written, and Dr. John was hired to record it. Nevertheless, the title sequence remained as shot for the entire first season, so you can see what the show’s opening might have looked like if the rights had been secured:
Whose rendition do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
To usher in the next stage of the Rube Goldberg competition structure on NBC’s The Voice, the show opened with another judge-quartet performance, this time a medley of three of Queen‘s biggest hits. For the myriad sing-alongs the band inspires, Queen is really tough to cover, and unfortunately, it shows a little in this performance. Read more…
Buoyed by an extended onslaught of promotion, the premiere of NBC’s new series The Voicescored big ratings, outranking stiff competition in its two genres: music (Glee) and reality (Dancing with the Stars). The show’s structure is overly complicated (the four judges each recruit a team of eight singers, then train their team for competition against the other judges’ teams), and a few suspense beats that would have worked on series creator Mark Burnett‘s biggest success, Survivor, fell flat, but overall, the show works. So, a quick rundown:
By way of introduction, The Voice‘s four artist/judges performed Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy,” with Adam Levine on drums, Blake Shelton on guitar, and Christina Aguilera joining Cee Lo Green on lead vocals. The quartet won’t be forming a super-group anytime soon, but their rendition was polished, and successfully communicated the artists’ willingness and ability to succeed in a variety of musical genres.
The contestants range from rank amateurs to near-professionals: After belting Faith Hill‘s “Breathe,”Tarralyn Ramsey tearfully ad-libbed a few bars of “What a Girl Wants” when she was selected by Aguilera, confessing that she sang along to all of Aguilera’s songs, “even the Spanish ones.” She didn’t mention that in 2003, she won VH1′s Born to Diva competition, performed on Divas Duets, and got a one-record deal with Universal?the same grand prize offered by The Voice.