Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Voice Season 2: 20 Best Performances

.. and just like that Season 2 of The Voice Season 2 is done and we have a new unexpected winner, Jermaine Paul. Yes, I somehow ditched the show a couple of weeks ago, but I still decided to come up with a definitive list of stand out performances this season.

I admit, the show has been a little frustrating. The potential of the contestants this season have been pretty outstanding, but they weren't showcased properly due to faulty and yes, dumb format. Personally, Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms outsang everybody during the Semi-finals, and yet one of them SHOULD be eliminated because they're in the same team. This was not right! Plus, I thought the judges had TOO MUCH control on who goes home, but I digress.

Just the same, this season managed to provided a couple of outstanding performances. So, without further ado, here they are:

20. Foolish Games
Ashley De La Rosa

The beginning was a  little shaky, but when she got her groove, the performance went from  forgettable to simply gorgeous. I thought her vocals were great, she showed some interesting melodic choices, and a big range that I didn't expect. Ashley, to me, had a potential that's pretty compelling and we got a good glimpse of that in this performance.

19. Please Don't Go
Lindsey Pavao

Usually, I hate that kind of kittenish whispering “singing”, but Lindsey made me somehow consider this "type" of vocals. Just from her unique tone, she could easily make a song sound relevant and shockingly fresh. I thought the way she navigated those notes were incredibly interesting and her phrasing gave the tune a different vibe. Lindsey is one of those quirky ladies who actually has a better hold on musicality. 

18. Folsom Prison Blues
Jamie Lono

Wow. Jamie is one of these people that if you close your eyes and just listen, then you might enjoy what you are hearing. I didn't expect that kind of voice honestly as he got some serious soul! Awesome arrangement. Good voice. Adorable.

17. Rumour Has It

WOW. I'm growing tired of Adele covers, but how she turned the song into something like that was very impressive. I love her tone and when she's not belting, she's got great modulation. I'm really interested to see how she handles other songs. With that unusual name, a great look, and some geniune talent, she's destined to be a star.

16. Baby One More Time
Tony Lucca

This wasn't the first time this Britney song got rearranged to a totally different vibe, but I must admit that this arrangement worked well with his voice. The justification it was meant to bring was subdued yet creepy and i liked that this was the metaphorical slap across Christina Aguilera’s face. Haha. His vocals could've been a little spot on, but whatever. Clearly, this was his most clever move on the show.

15. She's Country

Call me crazy, but I seriously enjoyed this performance. I actually thought that this was a pretty genius song choice. RaeLynn is clearly not a good singer, so it's all about the shtick and she sold it to me. I still found her enunciation a tad problematic, but I digress. She was fun, showed some sass, and I was shocked by that bit of power she had in her voice, which somehow proved the point that there's more than exuberance to her. Underwhelming vocals, but arguable compelling performance.

14. Seven Nation Army
Jamar Rogers

I didn't think he was anything special three years ago during his American Idol stint with Danny Gokey, but his voice improved tremendously. I hate to admit it, but his audition was fantastic. Nice raspy tone, good range and he's actually pretty engaging. He also picked a great song that highlighted the strengths in his voice.

13. Grenade
Chris Cauley

This was possibly one of my favorite and strongest auditions this season. He's smooth soulful sound impressed me, his tone is lovely and the way he tackled this incredibly difficult Bruno Mars' ditty made me a fan. Plus, the liberties he took with the song was actually pretty great. Very nice.

12. Killing Me Softly
Katrina Parker

Sure, there wasn't enough power and soul to make me forget about the great Lauren Hill, but her smooth tone and impeccable phrasing made this a stellar performance. I liked the fact that her interpretation was relatively simple without any unnecessary vocal embellishments because I allowed the gorgeous melody along with her lovely tone to soar.

11. It's My Life
Jamar Rogers

Yes, Jamar got such an electric presence on stage and his voice can do anything and this performance proved that. I didn't expect him to pull off this song and with that kind of arrangement, but he got the job done with his outstanding and confident vocals. After this, I have no doubt that given good material, he could be pretty successful. He’s very contemporary and he's very versatile - he can do rock, funk and ballads. To me, Jamar is a total package of vocal ability, stage presence and emotional connection.

10. Something That I Used To Know
Lindsey Pavao

While her vocal weren't really that spot on, I thought that Lindsey picked a very current song, which was awesome, and that it showcased her refreshingly quirky vibe. There's something oddly amusing about her and this was easily in a different league from the others. I'm not even going to lie that the completely current song choice and the creepily amazing staging helped her performance stand out. Vocally not as flawless, but the performance as a whole was pretty arresting - for lack of a better term.

09. Misery Business
Charlotte Sometimes

This may come as a surprise - even to myself - but this was shockingly amazing. Not a fan of Charlotte, I thought she was annoying during the Battle Rounds, but she made me forget that. It started off really bizarre, but things got a little better towards the middle. What I like about her is the fact that she knows her voice really well. She had great instincts on where to go big with the notes and when to pull it back a bit. Great musicality. Lovely tone. Good phrasing. Impressive dynamics. Interesting song choice.

08. Roxanne
Juliet Simms

Never been a fan of her throaty vocals - too gritty for my taste - but this song worked really well with her tone. The arrangement was very reminiscent of Dilana's version during the Rockstar days and I thought Juliet pulled it off quite nicely. Oh, and I found her voice quite expressive despite the almost gravelly quality to it.

07. Ordinary People

To some extent, I agree with Christina that her performance was a little loungy, but I can't deny the fact that Mathai's charisma carried her performance to a whole new different level. No big production number, but just her and her voice front and center. I thought her lovely tone worked really well on the song and the liberties she took with the melody were outstanding. If only she wasn't damn too happy while singing this song I would've put her above Juliet.

06. I'm Going Down
Sera Hill

Truth be told, her voice is probably one of my favorites this season. It's strong, incredibly radio ready and has a certain character to it. But what I seriously liked about Sera was that she could belt, but could also control her voice so she wasn't yelling. Very sweet tone, too. Oh, and she's someone that I've been looking for on American Idol - a viable R&B artist.

05. A Little Bit Longer
Jordis Unga

Ironically, Jordis is a rocker who sings much better soft ballads than uptempo or even powerhouse rock songs. I thought her vocals were stunning, the phrasing was impressive and she connected with the song quite nicely. It did took away the rocker side of Jordis, but if it means showcasing a vocal performance as beautiful as this, who cares? This, to me, was possibly one of the best performances this season and her best performance EVER.

04. Are You Going To Go My Way
Jamar Rogers

"I represent the comeback..." Maybe you came back, but you DON'T represent it! Haha. I wanted something different from Jamar - something more soulful, I guess - but he was outstanding in his own version of this Lenny Kravitz' song. Fantastic vocals. High energy. Great stage presence. Easily, one of the season's finest performances!

03. How You Like Me Now
Tony Lucca

Tony may not have the strongest voice in the competition, but his version of the song proved that he's one charismatic performer. I thought his vocals were pretty solid despite running around the stage, he looked confident and his "moves" were pretty entertaining. I was seriously underwhelmed with most of his performances this season, but who knew that channeling Robert Palmer would've worked perfectly in his favor no? Haha.

02. If I Ain't Got You
Jesse Campbell and Anthony Evans

Simply mind blowing! Seriously. Good song choice, their harmony meshed perfectly well together, they both had some outstanding moments and they looked like they were really fighting for Christina's vote. I loved that they started out with restraint and build something from there. It was fantastic! I would've gone with Anthony as I prefer the richer tone of his voice and his range was spectacular, but Jesse was just as solid. It sucked that one of them got sent home when far weaker performers get to advance to the live rounds. Blech.

01. It's A Man's Man's World
Juliet Simms

This was SENSATIONAL! Not exactly a big fan of Juliet, but this was possibly the best performance this season and, yes even one of the best from any singing show this year. That grit in her voice worked surprisingly well with the song, her connection with the material was palpable and she obviously rocked the living daylights out of the song. Ironically, with her imperfect strained vocals - with larynx closed at its top - she just totally owned it. Amazing!


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