Out, Broken, & Saved–The Shocks Keep Coming on The Voice

VoiceThey pull it off every year.  These whacky battles just confound my expectations.

For instance: Christian Porter is knocked out of The Voice.  Oh the humanity! Christian was one of my top favorites from the blind auditions.

He's out!
He’s out!Christian was one of my top favorites from the blind auditions.

Meanwhile, who would have thunk it, but Usher–the man destined to rein as coach supreme–broke his little red-headed girl, Miss Taylor Beckham.  Broke her.  As in, he– Usher–just snapped her confidence in two.  Why would he do a think like that? What was he thinking? Meanwhile, who knew her confidence would snap so easily?

Here’s what happened: It was a three punch knock out:

First he gave her a song that was way beyond her years and experience to convey.  Amy Winehouse had been to hell and back by the time she was 17.  Miss Taylor didn’t become an olympic gymnast hopeful by being trouble and letting people know she was no good.

She's got sad, sad, eyes. Hopefully Blake wants her for more than cannon fodder.
She’s got sad, sad, eyes. Hopefully Blake wants her for more than cannon fodder.

Then, while Taylor’s hopelessly lost trying to find her inner sexy button, Usher attempts to help.  He walks off a ways and saying to lure him in.  Bring it, Taylor.  But he’s Usher. Usher!  I mean, the guy oozes seduction.  What unprepared woman would be able to handle that?  I’m sure she found the experience surreal.  Why oh why couldn’t he have thrown some pimply PA down a dark corridor and let her try to give her inner siren call a whirl with that dude? Then maybe she won’t have been so overwhelmed.

The last straw was when, lost and bewildered, she just needed a hug. Instead, Usher wrapped up the session in a professional way, giving her a few more helpful notes in a very nice sounding voice.  But it wasn’t the help she needed.  She didn’t find a way into the song and now she wasn’t going to, because time was up.  That’s when we saw her confidence snap.  Poor Taylor crawled away, still lost and already defeated.  Hopefully Blake–who’s good with youngin’s–can put her back together.

Amber Carrington, you rocked it.
Amber Carrington, you rocked it.

Then there are the folks who I NEVER expected to make it this far. Swon Brothers I’m looking at you. Okay I get it.  The older one is funny.  He’s fast on his feet.  He and Blake have a natural rapport. He gets Blake and Blake gets him.  I’m still sore about it.

Then there’s Garrett.  He sounded better than the other guy, I’m just amazed that he did sound better than the other guy.  Still not a huge fan, Garrett.  It’s probably not your fault.  I’ll admit it, I just don’t care for your stinkin’ looks.  It’s totally subjective.

Some of the rounds were so good–here’s the best one of the evening.

Now let’s talk strategy.  I think Blake is doing chess player moves.  Surely people want to see a duo get farther than they have the past three seasons.  If he’s looking a few rounds ahead, I bet he matches the Swon Bros. up against the Twins so that a duo makes it to the third round.

Let me make some predictions: I think that Adam’s team is going to look scary strong by the end of the battle rounds but I think he’s still going to sound like a whiny twit.

Do you all have any predictions out there?  I’d love to hear them.

If you want to follow my blog, just click on that lil’ ole button to the right.  You can also pop over to Lady Smut where I blog Mondays and Thursdays.  xo -Madeline

Your Voice Dream Team

Yes the blind auditions are over. Yes, there’s some really good stuff going on this season and I am as sucked in as ever.  Last season on The Voice website they had some sort of ‘build your own Voice dream team’ kind of thing.  I regretted not doing it after a few weeks and they don’t seem to have that option this year.  So here’s my Voice dream team–I’ll track them and see how I do.

I Think Blake has the best team this year:

Here are my Top Picks:

Christian Porter's figured out he's sexy.
Christian Porter’s figured out he’s sexy.

1)Christian Porter

2)The Morgan Twins — duos have yet to make it past the first round in the past, but I think this year we’ll see at least one duo bust through and become a major threat.

3)Savannah Berry

Fun pick: Christian Porter (so he’s a double threat)

4)Fun pick: Grace Askew (best name ever!)

Adam started off with so many four chair singers.  I think he has the next best team:

Top picks:

5)Sarah Simmons

Judith6)Judith Hill

7)Midas Whale

Fun pick:  Midas Whale –so they’re a double threat

Secret Threat: Patrick Dodd (Sarah mentioned she used to go see him perform in Memphis, I was meh about him, but we’ll see if he’s hiding something)

I DO NOT LIKE: Warren Stone (in one clip he seemed like the sexy firefighter. Maybe—but watching him interact with his children made me think something’s wrong there—his little girl would NOT look him in the eye)

Usher didn’t get some good picks until towards the end—but I have a feeling he do a lot with what he’s been given:

My top picks:

8)Jessica Childress

9)Ryan Inness

10) Fun pick: Audrey Karrasch (irrevent, love her hoarse voice)

Taylor –Usher’s eyes lit up with cash signs when he saw her.

11) Think he’ll favor Taylor Beckham—the female version of Justin Beiber.  His eyes lit up with a fanatical glow when he turned around and saw her.

Poor Shakira has only one singer that wowed me.  I just hope she can pick up some more heavy hitters in the battle rounds when coaches can steal.

12)My final pick is Monique Abbadie — so who would you pick?

Terry McDermott DID IT!

Hi peeps! Fellow Terry McDermott fans (Hi McHobbits!), will remember how I obsessed I got over Terry on The Voice—how much hand wringing I did over his progress on The Voice.  I think we all saw real talent in him and wanted that talent realized.  So when the show was over, I felt again this tremendous anxiety–would he fade away? Go back to working Bourbon St. in New Orleans?

Nooooooooo! He released a single (how did I miss it?) a few weeks ago and it’s blasting away on itunes.  It’s clear that he needs the right people creating songs for him.  This song showcases that he can take a new song and make it work.  Now MORE of the right people will want to work with him.

Yay Terry!

Terry McDermott 1, The Hobbit 0

Terry McDermott
Look at those dimples.

Last night Terry McDermott rocked it out on The Voice with–of all things–‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ by Aerosmith.  Doing a duet with Blake Shelton, he made his coach look bad as he outperformed the country singer with one hand tied behind his back, nailing the song.  Steve Tyler would be proud–if, he hadn’t been a judge on a rival show.   The way Terry sang it, you could even understand the lyrics–I never realized before but that song is edgy, man. Their duet has appeared on the itunes top 100 songs chart this morning–I’m not at all surprised.

Unfortunately, technical difficulties appeared to mar Terry’s performance of his second song “Broken Wings”.  Adam Levine referred to Terry as digging himself out of a hole and recovering by the end.  Because all top three singers reprised their ‘breakout’ song moments, Terry redeemed himself, once again, by ripping open his heart with “I Want To Know What Love Is”.  This version was a little softer, and a little better.  He was definitely feeling it tonight, looking right at his family as he performed.

Perhaps the school shooting this week brought out the feelings.  The show opened with a musical tribute to the children who died.  Being the father of a six year old, Terry said later he couldn’t make it through a chorus without tears. The other reason for some heavy-hitting emotion was his father’s presence at the finale.

The Voice maybe pushed things a little too far in going for a third “surprise” visit for Terry McDermott.  When they brought out his father the effect was a tad underwhelming.  Though he apparently was the one who introduced his son to classic rock, and could make a song out of every little thing himself when Terry was a lad, at this point the best he could say about Terry Jr. was that he’d worked very hard to become a success. (But wasn’t a success? You had to wonder if this opinion was unspoken.)

It was not anything like the heart-warming moment he had seeing his aunt and uncle from Scotland.  However, his father was absent a lot as Terry jr. was growing up, and mother died from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS as it’s called (a horrifying disease where your body slowly freezes up until you’re mentally aware but completely unable to move).  Sometimes there are a mountain of complicated deep feelings that are too hard to tap–and not appropriate for reality television.

And now it’s all over.  Casidee is queen of the prom, sitting on her itunes throne in the number one spot.  She has various other numbers from the show in the top 100 as well.  She was excellent last night, as always.  Perhaps her solid excellence proves that consistency can beat out sporadic moments of sheer perfection. (Not that she didn’t have her perfect moment with ‘Over’ and came very close with ‘Stupid Boy’.)

NicholasNicholas David churned out an excellent performance of all his songs too.  He even ladled on some crazy sauce with extreme karate kicks at the end of his first performance.  Yet he was barely fluttering the itunes charts today.  On one hand I get it–he doesn’t make me want to buy anything either.  On the other hand, he did what I was hoping Terry would do in a way–he put it all on the floor, left nothing undone to perform his heart out for us.  The judges acknowledged this in their own way.

Even though my heart sank a little that “Broken Wings” didn’t go so well and didn’t seem to suit Terry, I had hoped that the itunes version would sound better.  Indeed it does, and Terry’s sitting right below Casidee in the top 100.  He’s filled up practically the entire top 10 rock chart.  I hope his father sees that and is proud of him.

Nicholas must feel a little frustrated that they both only perform older songs, but Terry’s had so much more success.  (Well, he does have a better voice.  Though Nicholas is perhaps most improved.)

I was struck by how much the top three finalists gleam with an extra patina of charisma and presence this season.  They look, feel, and sound like top entertainers in the biz.   Good job, people at The Voice!

So back to my obsession: what will become of Terry after The Voice?  Will he sink down into obscurity? Will some rock manager/promoter/producer looking for the next Stephen Tyler get ahold of him and make him into a star?  It would have happened if he was in his early twenties. It might happen now…I want to say, but it’s kind of tragic that he only got this opportunity at age 35.  He said he’s sorry it’s all ending, even as tiring as it is. At least he’s had this shining moment before going back on the road, away from his son, to slog, slog, slog once again.  Certainly he doesn’t show any signs of quitting the biz.

Meanwhile, I went to see The Hobbit yesterday and I was disappointed for the following reasons:

1) There was NO Hot Elf King. 😦  I am super-disappointed by this.  He must show up later down the road in this drawn out trilogy.  Ugh!

2) OMG it was so long…I took a long nap between the escape from the Trolls and the arrival in Rivendale and I can’t tell that I missed anything at all.  It’s called editing, Peter Jackson.

3) There’s this whole plot problem with the eagles.  Yes, it’s a great moment in the book when they get to fly on the backs of eagles, but at the same time I remember thinking as a kid that that if the eagles flew them to this far, why couldn’t they have just dropped everybody off at their destination? If I could figure out this major plot point when I was nine, you’d think someone else would have figured it out.  Alas, the movie unfortunately makes this plot hole even more obvious.  Even as the eagles are dropping them off, you can see the enormous mountain standing out in the far, far, distance.  As audience members we’re left saying “really?” as the credits pop up and we tromp out of the theatre in disgust.

That said, the acting in The Hobbit was good–really good, and sometimes it was quite excellent.  Jackson handled the dwarves well too, differentiating them physically and presenting them just right.  They were playful and vigorous, but not too vulgar.  They were not made into fools.  You could appreciate the strength and endurance of the dwarves, and yet notice the fault of pride within their leader.  Well done.

brothers fili & kili
More hot dwarves. Fili & Kili. The one with the sword is h-a-w-t.

As an added bonus there were two unexpectedly extra hot dwarves (aside from Thorin.)  Why hello, Fili & Kili.

Questions for Terry McDermott

terry & casideeI wish I could ask Terry McDermott from The Voice these questions:

1)People constantly mention that success on The Voice depends on connecting to a song emotionally–how hard is that for you? Do you feel you’ve gotten better at it during your time at The Voice? Did you feel connected to the duet you did with Casidee?

2)How do you feel you’ve grown during the time you’ve been involved with The Voice? Do you think your singing has gotten better? How?

3) You quoted your father as saying that you can’t have success without sacrifice—and you said you’ve finally learned that lesson.  What were you reluctant to sacrifice before starting the show? What have you been sacrificing lately–and has it brought you more success?


My own journey in becoming a Terry McDermott fan has been riddled with some embarrassment.  I’ve liked The Voice since it first started, but I have never rooted for a fan this much before. The fixation is on the level of a tween sighing over some random Jonas brother.  So embarrassing.

BLIND AUDITIONS: I thought Terry McD was a serious contender.  I thought he’d make it to the end for sure.  Yet I liked others singers just as well.  But it was Terry I kept looking up on the internet.

BattleBATTLE ROUNDS: Terry crushed it.  Then the battles went on and on and on.  I kept thinking: But they’re forgetting about Terry.  He was on a million years ago.  When do we get to see Terry again.  It’s also sad that they don’t sell the duets on itunes anymore.  His duet had to be the best, next to Amanda and Trevin’s.

KNOCK OUT ROUNDS: Even Terry’s opponent Rudy seemed to recognize that Terry had come out to obliterate him quickly and painlessly.  You can see Rudy nodded approvingly at one point during the knock out round. Yes, he’s wiping the floor with me. Knock out 

LIVE ROUNDS: First there was the embarrassing/obsessive phase where I couldn’t believe that I was hooked on wanting Terry to win as much as I did.  That blog post is here at Lady Smut. (Terry, it’s not completely 100% admiring, and I’m sorry for that. Sort of. It’s the squirmy embarrassment talking.)

Then I wrestled with the fact that while my heart was still for Terry, my head had to admit Casidee Pope was killing it.  I mean, putting aside the mysterious magical properties that makes Terry into Scottish catnip for grown women, is he really the best voice on the show? Could he really win The Voice–or at least be in the top two? That blog post is here.

terry4Finally knowing he sailed through the semi-finals with a little help from Sir Paul McCartney and is safe in the top three–I’m not sure how I feel.  He probably has the top two spot all sewn up.  Today I looked around the web and found out–wow–people on the internet really like him.  Yet like Terry’s son Liam, I’m over it.  For the semi-finals Liam gave dutiful, somewhat apathetic applause.  Maybe he was tired—Terry’s wife seemed tired.  Terry’s said he’s exhausted—the whole journey seems to have been just as exhausting for his family as well.

terry & trevinThe Voice really needs a Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson.  Casidee seems poised to become that break out star that takes things to the next level for The Voice. Meanwhile, on Tuesday Terry’s duet with Casidee was perfectly pleasant, even if the song seemed a bit low in range for him.  They seemed to be watching each other closely at the close of the song. If you looked carefully, however, it’s not that they were connecting so strongly, they were just looking at each other’s mouths to make sure they were singing the words together.   Perhaps it’s the fault of live shows–yet I wanted to see Terry pushing his boundaries in connecting to the lyrics and connecting with Casidee.

Classic Terry, he always leaves you wanting more.  Sure, I can live with him not winning the show. I can even live with him going back home to his family to rest and be happy after his moment of glory.  Never before though, have I wished so hard for someone to go out and leave his blood and guts on the stage.   My biggest hope is that Terry does this so he can walk away with no regrets that he didn’t sacrifice enough to win.

terry & casidee2That’s the sign of a true artist.  None of this gentle “we’ve already won” shite they were talking about in the after-show.  You give what you have to give, and then you give some more.  Not because it’s a contest, but because you feel compelled to connect with your tribe–in their hearts or in their visceral gut.  Look at Terry’s face–you can see he wants it. I think Casadee’s got our hearts.  Next week Terry’s only hope is to go for our guts and bring it home.

Place Your Bets–Can A Hobbit Win The Voice?

terry1As you all know, I’ve been obsessing about Mr. Terry McDermott a lot lately and how he’s doing on The Voice.  The Scottish rocker has held on with his classic 80’s mojo–not to mention his hobbit hair.  What will he do next? Is he peaking at just the right time? Will he stay classic or try another contemporary song? Will he emotionally invest in a song so that he wins over more fans? Could he actually win The Voice?

Terry HobbitMy guess is he’s gonna stay classic–though I would love to see what he could do with a U2 song or a Coldplay ditty.  Yet he sings “in a straight line” as Cee Lo Green has mentioned before, and perhaps just reaching the notes wouldn’t be enough to successfully fill the footsteps of Bono.  I’d die to hear him sing “Beth” –a stripped down ballad by the rock band Kiss.  Or Led Zeppelin–anything by Led Zeppelin would make me happy.

As far as winning goes…man, though he’s my absolute favorite, I wouldn’t want to be a bookie right now taking bets on Terry.  There are so many other factors to consider.  Let’s look at his competition :

Trevina) Trevin Hunt: So far two men have won the voice–two black men.  Trevin, can you really win given this history? I suspect the show might work against him in this regard somehow–mostly by having Cee Lo Green his coach give Trevin some kind of funky song to sing.  The other week Trevin sang ‘The Greatest Love of All’ —bleh. Who’s brilliant idea was that? I see him as a strong contender to make it to the final two, however.  He’s got 41,000 followers on Twitter and probably picked up some of Amanda Brown’s fans.  He’s a classic definition of ‘the voice’ and yet despite the killer voice, despite the breathy soft-spoken voice (luv it!) I just don’t find him that interesting.

casadeeb)Things look just right for Casidee Pope.  She’s white and female–so she’d add some diversity to the winner’s circle.  She’s so well groomed to win the whole thing.  The girl hits her marks–she’s very present in the moment, and yet never makes a wrong move.  She seems emotional, yet sincere.  She has a story to tell, and she is consistently very strong vocally.  Most of all she’s got 250,000 twitter followers.  She’s been hitting the itunes charts and staying there for a long, long time–and all those votes will be added to the grand total.  So to most TV bloggers, Casadee is a done deal and it seems clear to everyone that knowing this sucks some fun out of the show.

So just for the sake of adding back in the fun, let me play devil’s advocate.  If you look at season two of The Voice, you’ll see that it doesn’t pay to peak too soon.  Casadee seems like she’s peaked with “Over”.  That song was genius, but since then she’s holding on, not surging forward.  It leaves just an inch of hope–just an inch–for the others. [But when you consider how they rigged the voting–not really.] Definitely final two, probably the winner.

nicholasc)Nicholas David.  I don’t think he’s going to win.  I love, love, loved his duet with Melanie the other week, and yet, he’s perhaps the weakest singer in the bunch.  He had 21,000 Twitter followers–so he doesn’t seem to have as strong a following as Terry.  Yet you never know.  If he keeps getting stronger, and is able to pull in the alternative folks who were voting for Melanie he might get there into the final two.  For instance, since Melanie was kicked off, he’s gained another 8,000 Twitter followers. Yet, ultimately, I think Terry can take him.

terry 2d) Terry himself.  He’s got 54,000 Twitter followers–more than either Trevin Hunte or Nicholas David.  He’s getting better at emoting the songs.  He’s flirting more with the camera, letting those dimples show, and you just get the sense that everyone on the show likes him.  Since many of the “characters” have left–including Cody and Amanda–he’s the lively force during the after show videos.  I think he’s got staying power.

I just hope that  he doesn’t let visiting friends or some travel to performances between episodes of The Voice prevent him from getting enough sleep.  Not enough sleep takes a serious toll on one’s voice.  Ideally, he should be sleeping long hours and then spending the rest of the day not speaking to anyone and sipping orange juice.  So get some sleep, Terry!  My sense is that he’s still aware of how fleeting this all is, and that he’s enjoying the moment while it lasts.

NBCUniversal's "The Voice" Season 3 Red Carpet Event - ArrivalsWill he make it into the top two? If Trevin doesn’t pull out something like he did with ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, if Nicholas doesn’t perform some amazing feat of wonder like he never has before, then Terry probably will.  Casadee Pope seems like a lovely young woman and I have nothing against her except that she’s in Terry’s way.  Yet my first impression of her was “here’s another girl singer, sounding like almost all other girl singers ” and in the last weeks since performing ‘Over’ I’m slowly going back to that opinion.  So if she holds steady and the rest of America starts thinking the same thing, while Terry surges ahead with continued brilliance, then there is a wee melting snowflake’s chance in hell he might pull it off.

The key seems to be sticking to songs that are stripped down so you can see just how good he is.  For instance, he did a track that was never released that you can listen to here.  It’s excellent–with just the guitar you see something of a blues influence on his rock voice.  It’s in the very best kind of American-blues-influences-British-Rock style.  You find the same thing with the Rolling Stones or Robert Plant.  Let’s hope that wise heads manage to put him in that space this week.  Look, even if Casadee wins, we at least want the chance to hold our breath up to the last minute thinking she might not.