Final thoughts on The Voice

I waited an extra day to post my final thoughts now that a champion has been crowned in season two of The Voice.

My first thought is, “Wow, America loves bald black guys.” Two for two.

My next thought is, “Did Jermaine Paul deserve to win?” Absolutely.

To be honest, Jermaine isn’t the best singer or performer on the show, but he’s the one that could do both with consistency.

Juliet Simms was the best singer of the final four. Her takes on Roxanne and It’s a Man’s World remain the Voice’s best performances to date. Unfortunately, she was sick during her final performances. While I liked her version of Freebird, she had pitch problems all night. Her other songs didn’t really suit her style either.

The bulk of those issues belonged to Simms, but it’s hard not to lay a chunk of blame at Cee Lo’s feet. He had the strongest team this season, but time after time poor song choices sent talented people packing. Last year he elevated his contestants with unconventional, surprising material. This year his singers looked more out of place and concerned when they were forced out of their comfort zones.

Tony Lucca finished the night doing exactly what he should have been doing, trying new things. It was also interesting seeing Christina’s reaction to him all season. She was consistently negative about his performances, more so than any other contestant. I have to wonder what drives that.

Lucca is a perfect example of what good coaching can accomplish. Adam Levine clearly helped create something new for Lucca (who would have likely gone home in the second week of live performances had he played it safe). Beating out Katrina Parker was no small feat. Her vocals were much better than Lucca’s.

Chris Mann was the odd duck. In his element he was amazing, but his take on modern music left a lot to be desired. His problem is that his voice has a bright operatic tone which doesn’t really mesh with contemporary songs. His take on Bittersweet Symphony on the final results show was excruciating.

Still, Mann has a great foundation to build on. With the right songwriters and producer he could be an excellent cross-over sensation. In my last post I mentioned the caviar vote (people who liked something because of its perception rather than content). Mann could turn that caviar vote into something more sustainable with the right team, and I hope he does.

That brings us back to Jermaine. Now that he’s won, the question is what to do with that record contract. Will his album be Rock or R&B or Pop? If you looked at a picture of the final four, he isn’t the guy you’d guess got there singing Avril Lavigne, Bon Jovi and Journey. Of course, that’s exactly why I liked him from day one.

Maybe he’ll buck the trend and give us some speed metal. I wouldn’t be surprised. Polka classics? A Ray Stevens cover album. Why has no one covered The Streak lately? He’s the fastest man on two feet.

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