Things I Learned From 'The Voice' Live Shows, Week 5
Things I Learned From 'The Voice' Live Shows, Week 5
What did I learn from The Voice this week? Here are thoughts from stage 17 (and stage 22!) on the semifinals, bringing back old friends and Justin Hopkins and Tony Vincent's recent concert.

We're down to one last week on the show, and what I realized this week was what that really means, and how much I'm not ready for it. While the season's only been on the air for about four months, season two has actually been going on for a lot longer: blind auditions were taped in late October 2011, and battle rounds just before Christmas 2011. So for me, this is something I've been a part of for more than half a year, and the artists have been doing this for even longer than that.

When you've worked on something for that long and that intensely, it's no surprise that it's difficult to then leave it behind. "I've kind of just been going through the process and never really taking it all in, and kind of realizing the entire journey I've been through," Erin Willett told me Monday. "It's every day and it's ongoing. It's something that you kind of get caught up in. For me, I took in where I've been and how incredible this entire journey has been for me."

Even in my case, I've been living and breathing this show for the past seven months, and now that we're in live shows I work ten hours a day before I even start writing the articles you read. The Voice does become my world when it's on, because it really is a full-time job. And I know I'm going to feel a little bereft when it's over again.

Here are the rest of my thoughts, feelings and observations, in no particular order:

  • One of the hardest things I've had to do all season comes at the end of every show. I leave the studio the same way that artists come onstage, and so I usually end up walking by as they're getting ready to hear if they stay or go. On Tuesday that meant going past Jamar Rogers just moments before he was eliminated. And as he was getting ready to face the music, he still stopped and acknowledged me. What a sweetheart, that Jamar.
  • I have a lot of respect for Chris Mann for going back to his opera roots for his performance show outing. He showed the audience what he loves to do, take it or leave it, and they took it. "To be singing classically and have people care is still crazy," he said afterward.
  • Having the teams sing together on Monday was a great choice. I enjoyed hearing the artists perform with other artists that we don't normally hear them with. From their feedback, they really liked the collaborations as well. "Chris and Lindsey [Pavao were] awesome. Amazing," Jermaine Paul told me. "Amazing performance, equally amazing people."
  • It was a fantastic idea to bring back the original four finalists to perform on Tuesday night. It felt appropriate to have them pass the torch, per se, by showing up. And given how many times I get asked what Javier, Dia, Beverly or Vicci are doing, it was good for the audience to hear from them again as well.
  • Beverly has opened for B.B. King and sung with Linda Perry, Christina Aguilera and now Cyndi Lauper. Talk about accomplishments! Congrats, Beverly.
  • Javier told me that he was supposed to go golfing with his former coach Adam, but had to cancel because of rehearsal for his performance. Given Adam's tendency to have self-deprecating meltdowns during golf (although he did still win The Haney Project), Javier quipped, "I'll be very cautious."
  • Last season, the Top 4 performed not only with their coaches, but also with special guest singers. I asked them which artist they'd like to select for their celebrity duet. Jermaine chose Beyonce, Chris was excited for his coach duet with Christina, and Tony Lucca gave me a whole list including Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, but I loved Juliet's response: "I've said from day one Dave Grohl. Or David Bowie. Anyone named Dave."
  • On Tuesday, the press line moved from stage 17 to stage 22 in order to accomodate a post-show party sponsored by Kia. I was not invited, but I was told they were also taping things you'll see in Monday's show.
  • As they were required to be at the event, most of the artists were pulled off the line before I could talk to them, but I appreciated that Chris stopped by to hug me before he walked out. And he apologized for not being able to stay. Again, file that under "sweetheart."
  • Future collaboration alert? Lindsey wants to do a song with Moses Stone. "I really want to collaborate on a song with Moses," she said, but he's not the only one she'd be open to singing with again. "Whenever I need a voice, I'm going to come to these people and be like, 'Juliet, I need that!'"
  • The Sprint Social Media Lounge is awkward. Very awkward. But Chris and Erin Willett clowning around in the background of Christina Milian's shots, while she went on unaware, was probably the best thing I've ever seen back there.
  • Happy birthdays: Erin Willett (Tuesday) and Chris (Saturday).
  • I want to give a special shoutout to my new friend Kylie from Alabama and the folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It was Kylie's wish to come to the show and meet the coaches and she did that on Tuesday night. I was so happy to see how sweet the coaches were to her; Adam even came over during a commercial break to talk to her again. I'm glad she had that great experience. Kylie, if you're reading this, all my best wishes.

Also this week: last night, Team Cee Lo's Justin Hopkins and Tony Vincent, who quickly became great friends over their time spent together on the show, put on an intimate almost hour-long show via StageIt on Wednesday night.

If you missed it, you missed some great music. They sung their new singles (Justin's "Love On The Radio" and Tony's "Starting Over"), of course they had to reprise their duet take on Journey's "Faithfully," and then Justin decided to change some lyrics in Gnarls Barkey's "Crazy," saying that Cee Lo was crazy to let Tony go from his team.

In addition to the music, though, what was most rewarding was seeing the real friendship between these two talented guys. There's an obvious love and deep respect there, and it was never more evident than while watching them banter as they adjusted microphones and moved about between songs in Justin's living room.

I also want to say a thank-you to Justin and Tony for the sheer fact that they were willing to put together such a show for their fans. I know I'm not alone in saying I appreciate the time and effort. It's a really great thing that they're cognizant of their fans and then are actively reaching out to them.

Whoever wins, I'm convinced that the best thing to come out of The Voice this season is that it introduced Justin Hopkins to Tony Vincent. We've gotten to hear some great music from them, both together and apart, but we've also gotten to see a beautiful friendship come to be. That's priceless.

Until next week, keep your ears and your hearts open, because you never know what you might hear next...

For more on The Voice, you can follow my Voice-exclusive Twitter at @bigredchairs.

(Image courtesy of NBC)