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The Voice: Battles 9 – 16

We are straight to battle stations tonight. Well, once The Block finally finishes and we get through the recaps of last night’s events.

Keith starts off with Taga and Cam who will battle it out over “Change the World” by Eric Clapton. Taga doesn’t know the song and is also quite intimidated by Cam, but Megan suggests that Cam might be up against it if he continues to sing with his eyes closed. Stage rehearsals show that this advice has largely fallen on deaf ears. It’s all about living the dream for these guys once they hit the stage. Taga sounds very tentative compared to Cam, whose eyes are wiiiiiiide open. Seal rewards Taga’s tentativeness by calling it “sensitivity to the song” and Joel agrees. Delta’s no outrider, so she sticks with majority rules. Keith prefaces his assessment with “this is an unusual pairing…” which he chose, right? So don’t excuse it as not being apples and apples if you deliberately put a lemon in there. After all this misdirection, Keith decides to make lemonade with the less experienced Taga. Cam’s kids will have to learn to live their dream some other way.

Facing off for Delta are Peta and Viktoria. They will tussle over Prince’s “Purple Rain”. Peta feels she might have an advantage, since she is both a huge Prince fan and she actually knows the song. Viktoria’s lifelong dedication as a fan of Delta’s might be a handicap… if Delta wasn’t going to be the one making the final decision. Their stage rehearsal sounds like a stand off between two alley cats. The actual performance starts with some really off-putting enunciation by Peta and then Viktoria has a crack and I really don’t care for this performance one teeny tiny bit. In fact, I think this is what it sounds like when Doves die. I hope Prince doesn’t catch any of this and cancel his tour in protest. Keith thought it was a good night for Peta. Well, well. Seal also gives it to Peta for owning the song. Joel invokes authenticity and gives it to Viktoria. Now what will our Delts do? Seek Darren’s counsel, of course, and then give it to… well, the inevitable Viktoria, but not until a planet in the outer solar system has time to orbit the sun whilst she agonises. Sheesh.

Seal’s contestants are Michael and Anthony who will sing “Living for the City”, chosen as Seal believes it will benefit both singers. Just as I’m thinking Anthony’s early rehearsal is a bit karaoke, Ricky-Lee suggests he copy even more of Stevie Wonder’s delivery. Seal reminds me that I’m missing the final episode of The Walking Dead as he shows Anthony how not to move on stage. Thank god for the IQ. There’s not a great deal of originality in the performance, which is not to say it’s bad. “Purple Rain” provided more than enough originality for one night. Joel leans towards Michael for the performance, but he thought it was splitting hairs. Delta struggled with Michael’s diction so goes with Anthony for his – I’m not kidding – FARNSY quality. Now that it’s “The Voice AND…”, Keith gives it to Michael. Like his colleagues, Seal praises both, but takes Michael forward.

Joel pits Nick against Lakyn and they will sing “Big Jet Plane” by Angus and Julia Stone. A&JS have the ability to send me to sleep even when I am highly caffeinated, so I hope the boys can inject some energy here. The “make it sound like you care” advice might work if the song wasn’t so who cares?. It’s a tough call to show you’re confident singing a semi-shoegazer song. Anyway, I have to give them credit for overcoming a dreary start to finish with a bit of energy. Let’s see what the professionals think. Delta just wanted to listen to Lakyn, and so did Keith. Seal makes it a clean sweep for people whose opinions don’t count. This should make Joel’s judgement easy, but he pads it out by name-checking Twilight for the screaming teens before adding Lakyn to his team.

What? We’re still going? I thought that Dare ad was a new show…

Delta is getting Danni and Sarah to sing Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. It’s going to be a battle of the divas and one of them might let the wall down and mix some metaphors confusingly, according to Delta. Sarah does a bit of random upstaging during one of Danni’s bits, waving her arms around as though she’s just found a cigarette lighter and her inner 1980s pub rocker. I’ve got to say, my threshold for watching the judges be so moved by the performances was reached a good while back. Keith struggles to pick a winner in the “diva derby”, but gives it to Danni by a “smidgeon of a margin”. Sarah’s “controlled aggression” gets the nod from Seal. Joel leans towards Sarah, but loves Danni’s “mystery”. What a surprise – Delta takes a time-out. But wait! We haven’t had the Miss Congeniality round and professions of commitment to world peace! How can we make a decision without hearing heartfelt speeches from our divas? Danni it is.

Keith pairs Jimmy and Glen and they will sing “Plans” by Birds of Tokyo. Jimmy feels that the song is more in Glen’s wheelhouse than his. Keith advises Jimmy not to overdo it, and points out to Glen that he needs to focus on continuity. Megan mentions the P word for the first time tonight – that’s right. Pitch. An old-fashioned concept, but it’s nice to know somebody’s paying attention. Seal fell in love with Glen’s voice… but then Jimmy came out! Joel makes it two out of two in favour of Jimmy. Because Jimmy’s performance wasn’t all about connecting with Delta, she goes for Glen. Keith takes a time-out to get some input from Megan. “Do you wanna build or crumble?” she asks, enigmatically. Jimmy gets the nod.

Surely the question should be “why did Australians switch away from Quaker oats?”, right?

Mali-Koa and Laura will sing “What’s Up” by Four Non Blondes for a chance to stay in Joel’s team. Benji and Joel show Mali-Koa what “trying” looks like. It’s a bit like aggressive constipation. “I’m a technically-trained theatre singer” sounds like something you might say as you race up to attend an on-stage emergency. That’s not what Laura finds herself in tonight as both singers do a creditable job of the song. Delta’s a big fan of Laura, but Keith goes with the rawness of Mali’s voice. Seal thinks Mali has grown more and gives her the nod, in a non-binding way. Joel doesn’t waste much time in making his decision, putting Laura through.

The final battle of the night is Chris versus Yshrael and they will be singing “Fireworks” by Katy Perry. Seal tells Yshrael that he has a nice voice but is not a great singer. Not exactly constructive, but… hey! It’s late, and tonight I’m not really feeling the “pep talk” segment like I was last night.  Compared to some of Yshrael’s dodgy pitch, Chris sounds as though he has live auto-tune going on. Joel found the song a struggle for both singers, but gives it to Chris on a countback. Delta hated it, but goes with Chris. Keith found a tonal thing he liked in Chris’ voice, so throws a preference his way. As with the other judges, and this household, he didn’t enjoy the song.  Chris goes through.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens once the live shows start. I’m assuming it’s all been singer’s-own-wardrobe so far, as the styling has verged on bizarre for some performers, and I’m hoping they will be getting some manner of professional style advice.

Oh, and in the most important match-up of the evening, I’m giving the nod to Oak. Not because I think it deals with Hungry-Thirsty better than Dare does, but because their ad is not eleventy-billion minutes long.


1 Miss TJ { 05.01.12 at 10:52 pm }

Loved the recap RR!! Team Delta destroyed purple rain :(

2 SimonL { 05.01.12 at 10:54 pm }

On the below can i just say that you are 100% misled, what you see is the terrible terrible work of a so called stylist.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens once the live shows start. I’m assuming it’s all been singer’s-own-wardrobe so far, as the styling has verged on bizarre for some performers, and I’m hoping they will be getting some manner of professional style advice.”

3 Kate { 05.01.12 at 10:56 pm }

38minutes late! The voice started 38 minutes late!

4 Chunks { 05.02.12 at 12:59 am }

Is it really necessary to drag out the ridiculous shenanigans of The Block like this? Sheesh. It’s not that riveting Nine.

After thinking last night was pretty good, tonight started off very badly. What was with the song choices? I’ve never even dreamed of a lamer versions of Purple Rain or What’s Going On. Finally got some life and passion into the proceedings with the Jimmy/Glen playoff. I do think Lakyn is destined for great things but again, poor choice of song. And Sarah should have stayed instead of Dani. Just sayin’.

And WTF – Dare? A movie-length ad for freaking flavoured milk? Marketing genius right there.

5 Injera { 05.02.12 at 7:17 am }

Miss TJ – thanks! What team Delta did to Purple Rain was awful.

Simon – wow! Just… wow! In that case, I hope the stylists step off!

Kate – last night’s ep was scheduled to start at 8, but it was still annoyingly late. Seeing the end of The Block eps in this way is like anti-advertising; it makes me vow not to watch it.

Chunks – after the first set of battles, I was keen to see these match-ups too, but it did drag for me. Bizarre song choices. Let’s not forget Fireworks! The Mahalia/Prinnie match deserved the marquee treatment, but to finish this ep with such a damp squib, which basically boiled down to “that was horrid but at least you hit some notes, Chris” ,made me wish they could invite almost any one of the previously eliminated contestants back.

6 Darryl { 05.02.12 at 7:20 am }

Kate – It didn’t start 38 mins late. It was always 8.00 p.m. which means 8.10 in Ch 9 language. Monday was 7.30

I like how they advertised the next show for 10.00 p.m. last night. My TV guide said 10.20 p.m. Monday night was just as bad, 20 mins later than advertised to finish

7 Kate { 05.02.12 at 7:24 am }

Oh I’ve just realized in Newcastle everything is pushed back 30 mins for local news, but I was using a Sydney tv guide, so oly 10 mins late……

8 brain dead dave { 05.02.12 at 8:21 am }

It seemed like 38 minutes , Kate. Never mind the singers ,Ch 9 are putting their viewers in a ring of pain.

Do you want to build or crumble? Keith Urban is obviously hell bent on crumbling by plonking for the Christopher Cross clone with the mascara in the Turds Of Tokyo cover.. The poor ba$tard is spinning out because it’s his ” last chance” .Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?

You got that right about the Purple Rain segment, Injera. Even Karl $tefanovic savaged the unacceptable lameness of it this morning. The Prince battle had me throwing up into my Raspberry Beret.

How ironic the title for the final battle – “Fireworks”. The show had dragged it’s ar$e for so long now that it would have taken fireworks to wake viewers up. Instead there was Chris $ebastian and he went off like a damp squib.

Spoiler: Matt Preston’s new haircut is hilarious.

9 Picnic { 05.02.12 at 8:44 am }

I thought the Jimmy/Glenn sing off was a Billy Crystal/Russell Crow gig!

10 PollyB { 05.02.12 at 8:46 am }

Picnic, Billy Crystal, of course. It’ been bugging the hell out of me. Gold!

11 brain dead dave { 05.02.12 at 8:53 am }

Billy Crystal is spot on, Picnic. Billy Crystal auditioning for Spinal Tap.

Only difference between them…Billy is an entertainer.

12 Jaylow { 05.02.12 at 8:58 am }

I am getting beyond being amazed by the self-aggrandizing negativity of tall-poppy Australians. So droll.

13 Joseph Skyrim { 05.02.12 at 9:52 am }

Again entertaining enough show tonight and I’m really liking that Megan chick. As of last night she totally beats out Delta and Ricky Lee for me… arrrrrgh. Is it wrong that after the show I went to youtube and spent 30 minutes listening to her stuff? 😛

Aaaanyway back to the show:
I was happy world-changer man won his battle, not so thrilled ze russian (all over the place) beat nicole kidman, was surprised that mole man defeated unemployed truck driver, and figured that edward cullen would defeat his werewolf nemesis (despite seemingly being on drugs).

Hoops beat barbie in the best duet yet. I would have gone with barbie and so would mentor man but Delta chose Hoops. Billy Crystal for me -did- outperform Russel Crowe and the wuthering woman easily blew miss mismatch out of the water.

As an aside it’s so great to hear trained voices as you can understand what they’re saying.

The last bout was crap but as much as I dislike younger sebastian he didn’t suck as much as the carpet cleaner as the song favoured his vocal range. I liked the carpet cleaner too. :(

Lastly that Dare ad did it’s work well. Everyone will remember it, though maybe not in the light they hoped! Must have cost them a pretty penny though.

Since MC starts soon I’m really thinking they are trying to burn through these so that the live shows come on at the same time to combat the cooking giant.

14 Ruby { 05.02.12 at 2:33 pm }

Love your comments, you guys. You are more entertaining than the show. Highlight last night was how bad Purple Rain was. It was agony. And then the Concrete Blonde song came on….Why don’t the mentors pick songs that will suit their proteges? Do they want them to fail?? Love the Billy Crystal references. But at least that battle entertained a bit – a bit more than the last one. I thought the spoiler man said that Chris got dumped. No such luck. Shame Yshmael imploded as he was quite entertaining when he sang Miss You. None of these performers sounded better during their battles. They might very well be better off without their high priced mentors.

15 brain dead dave { 05.02.12 at 5:57 pm }

The judges had no troubles booting out all the older female contestants, yet 47 yo Billy Crystal has fallen through the cracks….but it’s all about the voice.

Watch for Billy to regurgitate some Led Zep Lite real soon.

16 Kate { 05.02.12 at 5:59 pm }

That’s it bdd, and guy Sebastians brother cannot sing, is all Vibrato badly pitched and doesn’t have great stage presence. I say the Janis Joplin chick to win!

17 brain dead dave { 05.02.12 at 6:13 pm }

Janis has got a bit of Macy Gray and Toni Childs in there for mine, too.

The constipated squatting that a number of the contestants employ to attempt injecting passion and emotion into their performances is becoming too much. Ditto microphone shaking going for that uniquely personal vibrato. The microphones are already that loaded with aural turd polishing technology, it’s a miracle they don’t explode.

18 ksp { 05.02.12 at 11:28 pm }

BDD, how do they actually autotune or improve in someway voices live? I can understand (in a very basic way!) how it’s done in pre-recorded material but I don’t really get how it’s done live. And since it’s possible to do so, do many performers use that technology and how can you tell? To my ears I don’t think The Voice contestants sound autotuned but then again I find it hard to pick which songs on the radio have been autotuned due to my complete lack of musical education!

19 ksp { 05.02.12 at 11:59 pm }

I really enjoyed Billy and Russell’s performance tonight, I thought they were easily the best of the night. As someone mentioned early, I think poor song choices brought the performance quality of the show as a whole down from the previous night which was a shame. Even though he wasn’t very good in ‘Firework’ I was still disappointed that Yshrael left the competition as I found him very entertaining in the blind audition. However I also liked Chris’ audition so I didn’t want him to go either! I wasn’t keen on the Diva Duel, it just felt a bit ‘forced’ to me but I was in the minority in my household. And even though it’s about ‘the voice’ I was captivated by the Isla Fisher lookalike’s gorgeous red hair and Chris Sebastian’s amazing eyes. Maybe I should watch the show in my own red swivel chair!

20 bella vita { 05.03.12 at 2:30 am }

Chris Sebastian aka Guy Sebastian’s brother (how many times did they want to milk that? even he does himself!)
Completely and utterly pathetic and no way deserves to be on this show, let alone have any sort of music career…best suited for drunk karaoke at best

I do know some of the next results so I won’t spoil them for people…but let’s just say as a generalisation that they certainly have some doozys in the Live Rounds

21 brain dead dave { 05.03.12 at 12:59 pm }

Thanks ksp, I typed ” how to tell if a singer is using auto tune” into Google and there’s thousands of articles and examples.

Trust your ears -they’ll tolerate maybe a ten cent deviation from the true pitch of note- after that if it sounds like **** it is. Don’t be distracted by the orgiastic face pulling of Seal and Keith ,close your eyes and try to imagine what the contestants might sound like around a campfire- without a mike. Try walking into the next room and on the concentrate on the vocal, knowing that a reverb preset like “Rooty Hill RSL” or “Mariah Scarey” is dialed in to make these snowflakes sound more.unique than they actually are.

The most obvious auto tune moment talked about on this blog would have been at the beginning of a Mahogany”performance ” on X Factor 2 seasons ago.

I think Chris Sebastian’s low register mess of two weeks ago sounded awful strange, too.