The Voice season 7 has been airing the Battle Rounds these past couple weeks. The coaches paired up their contestants, with only one advancing to the next round. And of course, there were the steals the coaches had up their sleeves to save singers they wanted on their team.
BuddyTV spoke with many of those contestants who advanced during conference calls with reporters, where they discussed song choice, how they went about making the song their own and not imitating the original artist, Toia and DaNica’s emotional rehearsal and the coaches using their steals.
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Song Choice and Not Imitating the Original Artist
On any of these singing competition shows, song choice is key. And when you’re given a song either not in your wheelhouse or one you’re not familiar with, that’s an added challenge because you have to make it seem like you’re in command of the song and performance.
For Katriz Trinidad, she and Blessing Offor were tasked with performing Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do.” The problem? She had never sung Stevie Wonder before, so it was “out of my comfort zone.” But she did her homework and practiced, knowing that she needed to “have fun when out on that stage.” And it worked out because Pharrell chose her over Blessing.
Another area that can bring its own issues is when the contestants are performing a song by an artist that they’re similar to in style or sound. Now, at first glance, that doesn’t seem like a problem because that song is most likely in their wheelhouse. But they also have to make sure they’re not sounding too much like the original artist and instead showcasing who they are, something that came up for Jessie Pitts during the Battle Rounds.
“People say I sound like Ellie Goulding,” Jessie revealed. And she was indeed tasked with singing an Ellie Goulding song this week, so she realized this was an opportunity to prove that she’s not Ellie, that she’s her own person. It was a “challenge to break away” and be herself, she admitted. Even though Gwen didn’t choose her, Blake definitely saw the uniqueness in her since he ended up using his steal.
There are certain superstar singers who are hard to live up to if someone performs their songs. Beth Spangler and Mia Pfirrman performed “I Turn to You” by The Voice coach Christina Aguilera, a singer who is known for her unbelievable range and exceptional talent.
So how you distinguish yourself from Xtina? “It’s really hard not to sound like Christina” and mimic what she does when performing her songs, Mia admitted, even though “no one will ever sound like her.” She found this a wake-up call because before The Voice, she’s always “tried my best to perform songs like the original, [but] it’s hard to do that with Christina” — who she calls a “sacred artist.”
Beth was in a similar predicament. Over the years, “I found myself being an imitator of artists I love,” she revealed. So she struggled with finding out what her sound really is. With this week’s Battle Round performance, she had to “find the balance between not imitating her” and not doing karaoke, and instead “putting my own spin on it without watering it down,” while also making sure both she and Mia had “opportunities to shine.” Considering that both advanced to the next round, one chosen by Adam and the other because of Gwen’s final steal, I’d say they both found success in finding that balance.
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Toia and DaNica’s Emotional “Halo” Rehearsal
One of the more emotional moments on The Voice this season was during rehearsals for Toia Jones and DaNica Shirey’s Battle Round performance. Their song was “Halo,” which is definitely one of Beyonce’s most memorable songs. Song choice, as mentioned before, can be critical in how a singer fares, but another aspect that goes along with that is being able to connect to the message of the song.
Both Toia and DaNica had lost their fathers. When the two were rehearsing “Halo,” they were picturing their fathers wearing the halos during the performance. And it became a really emotional moment, especially for Toia, who broke down crying, as we saw during the episode. They were able to connect to this song in a way that they might not have been able to if it was a different song.
“In that moment, I started thinking of everything that had gone on throughout my life, and all of the no’s and all the people telling me, you’re too gospel, you’re too this, you’re too that,” Toia said. “So Pharrell pretty much just told me to live in that moment; don’t run from those feelings. I lived in that moment.”
Along with that, “There were a lot of emotions that were running through me. And I could feel my father — I could feel his presence — and I could feel my mother and everyone who has told me [to] forget what the naysayers say; you can do this. And I definitely dropped the negativity and I took in what [Pharrell] said and I just gave it a go.”
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Being Stolen By Another Coach
During the Battle Rounds, the four coaches have two steals each, where they can have a just-eliminated contestant join their team. Right when these singers think they’re off the show for good, here comes a second chance to continue on.
Jessie, who lost to Ryan Sill, was stolen by Blake. She was “completely shocked.” She knew that Blake was holding out for a particular singer since he only had one steal left, so she’s “really grateful and honored to work with two coaches,” since she’s been able to receive all different kinds of suggestions and advice by working with multiple artists who have already made it big, have their own style and have unique points of view to present.
Beth had a similar mindset of being able to work with more than one coach: “I’m excited to learn from two incredible artists.” Going beyond even that, Toia also appreciated the opportunity to “learn a lot from members of Team Adam.” For her, it was a “surreal moment” that she is grateful for. “I couldn’t believe it” when it happened, she said.
What I found really interesting was how the moment of being eliminated overwhelmed Beth to the point where she no longer realized if there were any steals left in play. “I thought there was a steal left,” but “somewhere in the mix, I didn’t think there was,” she said. And she didn’t even hear host Carson Daly mention that there was an opportunity to steal, so she went to hug the coaches, thinking she was going home. For Beth, she was “flabbergasted” when Gwen hit her button and found the experience to be “indescribable.”
And for Blessing, he was actually at peace following his elimination. Since he had never played a show without a piano, he was just happy he “didn’t suck,” as he put it. “I was happy with the outcome … [and] happier with this unexpected outcome” of Adam using a steal on him.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)