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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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My take on NBC’s ‘The Voice’

Frenchie Davis tries again for a recording career after spending years on "Rent."

Frenchie Davis tries again for a recording career after spending years on "Rent."

If “American Idol” never existed, I’d be captivated by “The Voice.”

But you can only fall in love the first time once. The innocence is gone.

Still, you have to give NBC credit for pulling out all the stops for this show. And it should get some sampling, even  against “Glee” and “Dancing With the Stars.” There’s talk show host Carson Daly, Ryan Seacrest minus the schtick. Big stars on the coaches’ panel. Great singers.  If you missed it, NBC will repeat the  show Wednesday night.

[UPDATE: All the promotion paid off. I expected the show would open with 10 million viewers against "Dancing With the Stars" and "Glee," among others. But it actually pulled in 11.8 million and an impressive 5.1 rating with 18-49 year olds, based on early Nielsen numbers. It beat "Glee" during the 9 p.m.-9:30 p.m. hour 18-49 4.6 to 3.4 and "Dancing With the Stars" during the 9 p.m. hour 4.9 vs. 3.5. ]

The concept is a lot like “X Factor” with a small twist upfront. The coaches cannot see the singer. They can only hear them. If they want the person on their team, they press a botton and the chair twists around so they can watch them. If more than one coach presses the button before the end of the song, the contestant gets to pick who to be the mentor.

Eventually, each celebrity will gather eight team members. On night one, each one picked up three.  Next Tuesday, they’ll select the rest. They then have to pare their teams down to four each by having two sing the same song. The one who sings it better survives. With the final 16, the show goes live and the public gets to vote.

On day one, there was no Susan Boyle with such a major visual/vocal dissonance. But there were a few who were unconventional or not terribly visually attractive. One 41-year-old woman was bald with multiple tattoos but sang with verve  and aplomb. One guy was really really overweight but his voice drew support from all four coaches.  On the other hand, one woman felt her visual appeal was a distraction and made it difficult for people to take her vocals seriously.

The four coaches – Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine - had good camaraderie, teasing each other and getting competitive by poking light jabs at each other to try to attract a singer to their team.

NBC didn’t introduce us to any train wreck singers. There were a few okay singers who didn’t get a vote.

Here’s a sampling of a few who did:

- Xenia, a shy 16 year old, had a cool raspy voice. Blake and Cee Lo both picked her. Blake said he wanted her to go country. “I consider myself country, too,” Cee Lo said. “I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.” She went with Blake.

- The country guy with the cowboy hat Patrick Thomas was the real deal. Young, attractive, smooth as a baby’s bottom. He sang Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You’re Dying” with passion and sensitivity. Not surprisingly, Blake became his coach. Christina showed her sassy side when she first asked him to take off his hat, then joked, “Can you take off your pants?”

- Kelsey Rey got one million page views from a YouTube video.  She looks a bit like a sultrier Katie Holmes. “Idol” would have loved her. But she isn’t just a pretty face. She possesses a good pop voice. Cee Lo, Adam and Christina pushed their buttons.  “They might end up hitting on you all day,” Aguilera said, trying to get her not to pick the boys. But she picks Cee Lo.

- I really liked Vicci Martinez and her heartfelt take on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I found the whole thing about hiding her face a bit annoying because she isn’t ugly. Butch, yes. Ugly? Not in the least. There’s an honesty to her singing that made hers so much better to me than Haley Reinhart’s version last week.

- Homeless singer Rebecca Loebe did a searing pop version of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” She has an absolutely stunning voice. I am a fan! Adam nabs her over Christina.

- I was not taken by Tje Austin, the man with the afro. Powerful voice but not that distinctive. But he had a fanin Cee Lo, who picked him. “I heard myself in you,” Cee Lo said.

- Jeff Jenkins was the first person who was clearly not attractive enough to get in the door on “Idol” or anywhere else with his physical appearance alone. His problem was his weight. His voice? Really interesting. It had depth and texture while he sings Rascal Flatt’s “Bless the Broken Road.” Everyone wanted him! Oddly, Shelton was the last one to push his button.  Hilariously, Adam had never heard that song before. “Is that a country song?” he asked. Blake chuckled. Adam at this point hadn’t gotten a team member and worked hard to try to get him – and he did.

- And here’s our “Idol” reject! Frenchie Davis notes she was disqualified from “Idol” seasontwo, but only alludes to a mistake she made when she was 19 (specifically, nude photos on the Web.).   After years of success on Broadway with “Rent,” she still wanted a recording career. The judges held off from pushing the button on her as she sang Katy Perry’s “I Kissed the Girl.” Christina finally did toward the end. Frenchie probably would have gotten more support if she had gone pure R&B instead of pop. Cee Lo recognized her once he saw her. “Great choice of song,” Cee Lo said. “I can relate to it totally.” At first, she felt it was a little shaky but she was sold later on. “I thought the ship had sailed,” she said. “Don’t ever give up on your dreams.”

63 comments Add your comment

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
8:42 am

I dvr’d the show last night and will watch it sometime in the next few days. I admit to being curious.

Frenchie!? Interesting. I wonder how many Idol rejects will show up.

Woodpappy

April 27th, 2011
8:48 am

I really enjoyed the Voice last night. Surprisingly it kept my interest.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
8:59 am

Our tornado sirens just went off. Stay safe everyone!

Mercedes S.

April 27th, 2011
8:59 am

Thanks for explaining the rules, RoHo…I was a bit lost just watching portions of it last night.

Wish they had put show in a different season. Don’t think I can handle more musical stuff than “Idol” and “Glee”. Nor can my TV recorder, whoch is full as it is of unwatched “Killing”, “Thrones” and “Borgias”.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
9:05 am

I have no idea why our sirens went off…there’s no warning for my area.

Mercedes, I’ve been watching The Killing on ON Demand. It is excellent.

Liked 127 Hours…don’t know if I’d ever do what he did but who knows. Arm scene is gruesome!

Rickster™ © ®

April 27th, 2011
9:06 am

Four post since I was here last? Rodney’s had a very busy 15 hours!

Gee

April 27th, 2011
9:07 am

I really enjoyed the show. It was refreshing.

Gee

April 27th, 2011
9:07 am

What area are the sirens going off?

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
9:16 am

Fayette…but there’s no warning up…weird.

Harriett

April 27th, 2011
9:37 am

D, I liked 127 Hours, too. Watched it last weekend, but admit to turning away during the arm being cut off. Too squeamish!

Rodney, I loved Rebecca, too, and totally agree about Vicci vs Haley on the Adele song! And, I could not help but think about Casey’s treatment of the Nirvana song and compare the artistry and orignality of Rebecca’s interpretation of Nirvana.

Mercedes S.

April 27th, 2011
9:38 am

I’m off to see a movie at 11. Covered my peonies with rows of umbrellas tied to heavy garden sticks. It’s worked before, against hail and heavy rain, but a tornado…

Deirdre, what made The Scene in “127 Hrs” bearable to me was that amazing shot that precedes it, when the camera goes from the bottom of the canyon to ten miles up in the air and you see that in desolate landscape the hero has only one chance to get out of there alive. And he takes that chance…

Mercedes S.

April 27th, 2011
9:41 am

Tried to see Pia on “Dancing” still missed her. Did see Constantine though… who appeared with a cloth tail! “Idol” James is a sartorial Idol as well…

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

April 27th, 2011
9:50 am

Sheesh, Rodney. Were you bored last night? ;)

Well, I managed to catch Glee, Pia on DWTS, and turned onto The Voice Towards the end. I like it so far. Xenia, Vicci, and Jeff were my faves. Assuming it will continue on Tuesdays, I might have to make room for it on my viewing schedule. It will be interesting to see how it flows once we go live…as we’ve seen with this season of Idol. But it will make for fun viewing in the meantime.

A few friends are thinking of swapping Idol for the Voice. I’m not there yet. Idol might have to be pried from my cold, dead hands at this point.

Mercedes, I hear you. I was DVRing most shows, but I’ve noticed I can catch a few of them ON Demand so I’ve stopped. My DVR is thanking me. The Killing, Game of Thrones, and Friday Night Lights are fantastic so far.

D, glad you liked 127 Hours. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
9:52 am

They used that “fly up” scene a lot during the course of the movie. Early on, when he first gets trapped it was very effective.

I also admit to turning away from the scene. No matter how desperate his situation, it was very extreme.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
9:55 am

k&cf…I started The Killing this past weekend and watched the first 4 episodes. It’s really good. Love the lead female, she’s amazing and Michelle Forbes, the mother once again proves what a dynamite actress she is. I remember watching her maybe 15 years ago on Guiding Light. she was amazing than. Her stint on True Blood was also awesome.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
9:56 am

Wow…I have blind fingers this morning!

Rickster™ © ®

April 27th, 2011
10:02 am

I was wondering why Rodney posted a review of “The Voice” on the AI blog. Then… I noticed he snuck in the mention of a former AI contestant. So it’s good.:-)

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
10:11 am

I watched the first 2 or 3 “Killing”’s but keep forgetting about it. For some reason, the lady cop reminds me of Crystal – without the dreaded dreads. Something about her face. She’s really good. If I can ever find the time, I’ll try to catch up “on demand”.

Dierdre – you didn’t mention “Event” this week. I thought it was really terrific, sure hope it comes back.

Mercedes S.

April 27th, 2011
10:11 am

Still haven’t seen any of my “Killing”s… What part did Michelle Forbes play on “TB”. D?

Heather MacDonald

April 27th, 2011
10:14 am

I thought the coaches on the voice were excellent. Aguilera is pocket-sized but fiesty, and Blake Shelton cracks me up. He has a quietly vicious sense of humor that I love (one of the things Highlander has in common with him). Cee-Lo is funny and seems to be a good judge of vocal talent, and Adam Levine is really particular about who he turns around for. I like the premise overall of not being able to see the talent before you hear them, and I like how seriously Aguilera and the others were taking it. The only thing I don’t like? Carson Daly. Seriously, wallpaper has more personality.

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
10:15 am

Watched the first couple shows of “KIlling”, but keep forgetting about it. Will have to try and catch up “on demand”. I really like the lady cop – for some reason she reminds me of Crystal – sans the dreaded dreads, of course.

Dierdre – no comment this week on “Event”? I thought it was really good – hope it comes back.

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
10:18 am

Sorry – didn’t think the 1st one went thru – seems like half of mine don’t ever appear.

JTesla

April 27th, 2011
10:46 am

Rickster, from what I gather (as Rodney addressed the issue) expect to see more Voice and X-Factor here. He’ll be covering those two shows here, regardless of any Idol tie in. Of course, Rodney should correct me if I’m misinterpreting his prior statements regarding these two shows (also assuming they have staying power).

a$$play

April 27th, 2011
10:51 am

The talent on this show blows away AI… Speaking of that ship has sailed. The talent on this show eclipses AI.

As picky as they were I don’t see anyone turning around for any of the AI top 10. I see RoHo starting his own The Voice blog soon…

Rickster™ © ®

April 27th, 2011
11:08 am

They ought to rename the blog to reflect the onslaught of new stuff that Rodney’s covering.

We ought to have a contest. :-)

Harriett

April 27th, 2011
11:15 am

Sam-A, I am The Event fan and I loved it. I think it is the most gripping hour of television on right now. Of course, that is in my limited exposure to others. Just me, I guess, but I cannot believe how the hour flies by. I, too, will be sorely disappointed if they do not bring it back.

And, I will remain faithful to Idol until it breathes its last. Interlopers may entertain, but never can replace in my heart the years-long love affair that I have had with Idol.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
11:17 am

Michelle Forbes was the orgy demon from last year who trashed Sookie’s house.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

April 27th, 2011
11:23 am

Yes, aka Maryann. :)

Also, not only does he dress like him sometimes, but Cee Lo also has Elton John syndrome. (aka big chest, really short arms).

The Killing also stars one of my faves, Billy Campbell. He was excellent in Once & Again!

G

April 27th, 2011
11:25 am

The good…..The Voice is the “anti-AI”. Everything you hate about AI, the Voice eclipse AI. It’s not even close. From the judges to the talent, The Voice is straight up better than AI. All the crazy comments we have on this blog about facial expressions, outfits, and stage pressence is totally irrelevant and removed from this show. Genious. Finally, you have “credible” judges that have started to give relevant feedback. The concept is refreshing and the system seems to be fairly rational, from what I gather at this point. Good job Voice! I’m already a fan.

The bad….The worst part about this show is the time slot, and possibly the time of season all together. It needs to be an off season of Idol, DWTS, and Glee. Too much competition of “america’s new standard of favorites” to work it in. I’m really not sure if NBC will garner enough viewers who will support a show like this, around this time of year. I hope I’m wrong. They definitely have the star power in the judges.

I also notice Javier, went with Adam. Great selection. I believe this is the same Javier who released an indy CD some years back. Great talent for the show. I don’t believe I saw a contestent I didn’t like. I don’t care about the genre or what they look like……just sing your heart out.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
11:33 am

Sam, I haven’t been watching the Event. I knew it wasn’t going to make it so I decided to opt out.

G

April 27th, 2011
11:34 am

Oh yeah………Pia. I managed to slide her in between The Voice and the game. Lucky, the Hawks crapped out early, so I only had two shows to focus on. DWTS worked out pretty good for Pia, because she didn’t have to move around. The dancers moved and she sang, so it all worked out. Kinda funny……..Pia didn’t seem to stand out “as much” with all the gorgeous dancers. Just an observation……

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
11:35 am

Harriett: And, I will remain faithful to Idol until it breathes its last. Interlopers may entertain, but never can replace in my heart the years-long love affair that I have had with Idol.

Ditto!

carla roqs

April 27th, 2011
11:35 am

i would love to see The Voice blog. i cannot watch idol and only came here because i wanted to see rodney’s coverage of the voice. i loved the show– blake is the sexiest thing ever and i love cee lo’s personality. the singers were great, mostly. really liked the 16 yr old’s voice and i would marry tje and blake in a heart beat– but that would be bigamy, hunh? well i’d marry blake and listen to tje’s singing. his voice was interesting. did not like the couple who sang, she was fairly decent- he was off key.

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
11:36 am

K&C: I loved “Once and Again” – it broke my heart when the show went off air. It was a areally fine drama. Also loved “I’ll Fly Away” – another fabulous show. Sam Waterston was so great in it.

I saw on a few mins of “Voice” – didn’t really like Christina, especially the way she interrupted the others when they were speaking. Don’t think it has the appeal that Idol does (usually).

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
11:39 am

G: All the crazy comments we have on this blog about facial expressions, outfits, and stage pressence is totally irrelevant and removed from this show.

But how long will that last? The voters will see the contestants and WILL choose based not only on voice but on appearance.

Rodney Ho

April 27th, 2011
11:50 am

Just started watching “The Killing.” I like the lead, too. Anyway, just updated the ratings. 5.1 18-49 for “The Voice” is huge. 11.8 million in total viewers is respectable, too. All the pimping and promoting worked for NBC.

G

April 27th, 2011
11:55 am

I hear ya Deidre. But at this point, The Voice is choosing these people regardless of what they look like. By the time we get to vote, there may not be any “visually pleasing” (for a lack of better term) contestants. From what I saw last night, there aren’t any Pias, McPhies’, or even Haleys’. The show forces you appreciate the pure talent and feeling the vocalist bring to the stage.

Most of the time when I have these shows on, I turn away from the tv or walk somewhere else just to force myself to listen to the vocals. I admit being a bit bias, because I’m a musician. But that’s just me. I’m not easily fooled by the gloss.

a$$play

April 27th, 2011
12:05 pm

@G – I agree with the point you are making with the visually pleasing. What about the one who all she said was…I am tired of being known as the pretty girl with a voice? … In my opinon she will only be known as the pretty girl. She did not stand out like the others who absolutely could sing.

Am I the only one who thought the duet duo was appalling? She was cute and awesome and he was just so way off key…

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
12:11 pm

The duet was one of the few I saw, and I agree a$$ – she was ok, him not so much. Cute couple, but not very good singers.

JTesla

April 27th, 2011
12:25 pm

Funny, but I think Idol has pretty much done away with the “choosing people based on looks” concept as well. At least based on who is left.

Will The Voice feature only ugly people? If not, then why should Idol.

RK

April 27th, 2011
12:31 pm

Maybe The Voice will have The Voting worked out better than The American Idol.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

April 27th, 2011
1:25 pm

Sam-A, agreed. Once and Again is one of my fave shows ever. I actually had the chance to meet Sela Ward at a book signing. Very lovely and pretty Southern lady.

I do think it’s a neat concept that the judges have to pick without seeing the contestants. But if they really wanted people to vote the same way, they would’ve held out showing us what they look like. Otherwise, it’s basically like Idol once the public votes, imo.

I thought it was interesting that they showed the “different” looking women. They don’t really get shown on Idol if ever. The only one I can recall to make it to Hollywood was Briana Ramirez-Rial in season 3, and she only made the semis. Will the public vote for Beverly and/or Vicci? Maybe we’ll find out.

carla roqs

April 27th, 2011
1:43 pm

hi RK, what’s going on?

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
2:39 pm

I can’t really comment on The Voice that much since I haven’t seen it. Looking forward to seeing how it goes. Isn’t Christina Aguilera somewhat of a train wreck at the moment? Lots of bad press. Maybe this will help.

Harriett

April 27th, 2011
2:54 pm

She’a actually pretty good on the show, D. I liked her.

Mercedes S.

April 27th, 2011
3:03 pm

Thanks, D. fpr Michelle Forbes info. The maenead, I take it. Who gets all of two lines in one of the Sookie books! I actually hated that story line, even if MF was good. Look forward to seeing her in “The Killing:.

“The Bridesmaids” is the funniest movie I”ve seen in the last 5 years. Make that 10 years. Opens Friday.

JTesla

April 27th, 2011
3:04 pm

Bad publicity for her is good publicity for The Voice. Idol had the Paula train wreck, Voice has Christina.

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
3:15 pm

No such thing as bad publicity. I’m looking forward to Idol tonight but am hearing that the storms are going to hit around 8pm. Hope they don’t interfere and, if they do, I hope youtube gets the performances up quickly once my electricity returns.

Highlander

April 27th, 2011
3:33 pm

Is it just me or does Frenchie Davis sorta kinda look like a male Jacob Lusk? :-) :evil:

Woodpappy

April 27th, 2011
3:43 pm

Highlander….Amen

Deirdre

April 27th, 2011
4:06 pm

LOL! I’ll admit I thought it WAS Jacob at first glance.

Rickster™ © ®

April 27th, 2011
4:14 pm

Put a big ol’ pair of sunglasses on Frenchie and she’d look like CeLo.

Sam-A

April 27th, 2011
4:17 pm

At least she’s lost the 1/2″ buzz cut colored vivid orangy-red she sported the year she was on idol! That on top of a “stone mountainish” body was quite startling.

Harriett

April 27th, 2011
4:43 pm

For a really heavy person, I think she carries her weight well. And, there is no denying she’s a good singer. Talk to y’all tonight. Gotta get out of here. :)

JTesla

April 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

Bald can look good on some women: Amber Rose, Demi Moore, Natalie Portman, and Sigourney Weaver. Frenchie is not one of those women.

Rich

April 27th, 2011
5:14 pm

Becca Loebe happens to be an Atlantan, in addition to being wonderfully talented.

Leanne

April 27th, 2011
5:47 pm

I actually liked it, although I doubt I will take it as seriously as I *used* to take AI! I’m surprised you didn’t mention Javier, Rodney. I thought he was fantastic and it was fun to watch Adam Levine go crazy over him. I think the dynamic with the judges is great and the only one who will possibly annoy me is Christina, who seems to like to take the lead on everything.

DeBradley

April 27th, 2011
10:48 pm

Better than Idol… and i like Idol ;’D

KPH

April 28th, 2011
10:09 am

Turning away from the contestant so I could just listen to them and not have to look at them is something I have done on Idol several times. Last night I had to do this with Jacob because I couldnt stop laughing at his suit. I also did this several times with Adam Lambert as well as many other contestants over the years. Hey it works for me. :-)

Capn

April 28th, 2011
10:15 am

You can fall in love only once? Yes, in real love that’s true. But you can fall out of love with something like Idol, and I have. The Voice is my “new love.” I’ll follow Idol and blog it every week, but I’m pretty much over the hype, over-production and crazy voting by girls and their moms. Idol put one nail in the coffin last season with Lee DeWyze, another with the elimination of Pia Toscano and will hammer the thing shut when Scotty wins Season 10.

Lina

April 28th, 2011
10:57 am

I was a huge AI fan..watched it wed n thurs faithfully, …up until pia got eliminated, it crushed my heart, they still had chicken dancing off key James blunt reject Paul, growling Haley, bruno mars reject stefano, and nothing new one toned repeat scotty still there week after week. I never ever will watch that show again. I loved xenia, she realli stood out for me, the cowboy Patrick was really good too. I thought every one were great with the exception of the bald rocker chick and the husband in that folk genre duo. The bald bald rocker chick wasn’t bad but she also wasn’t a powerhouse. The husband was so off key, I honestly thought they were gonna split that duo up lol and say she should go solo. This is my favorite show. Blake and celo are hilarious, but charming as ever lol. I like Christina lol she’s adorable, I’m nervous that she Nd that cute rocker dude won’t get along. I’m a fan, i will be watching faithfully.

Patsy

April 28th, 2011
1:56 pm

What is the name of the song that they sing at the beginning of the show?

procare

May 4th, 2011
12:17 am

This show seems a lot similar to a show in Korea called MBC Star Audtion. Curious which one came out first. I remember seeing auditions on youtube. Im really enjoying ‘NBC’s The Voice’.