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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Talking to Atlanta’s five ‘The Voice’ semifinalists

The five Atlanta voice singers

Mathai, Pip, Jordan Rager, Chris Cauley and Sera Hill are all metro Atlantans battling to win NBC's second season of "The Voice." Here, they pose at 11Alive studios March 5, 2012. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

This morning at 11Alive, I spoke with the five metro Atlanta-based contestants on NBC’s “The Voice.” That’s an impressive take considering there are 48 semifinalists.

They are Mathai, Pip, Jordan Rager, Chris Cauley and Sera Hill. They are quite an impressive mix of voices and backgrounds.You can get more details about them here.

The next round is called the “Battle Rounds.” Each of the judges  – Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton- currently has 12 members. In pre-taped “battle rounds,” they will pair them off into six one-on-one battles, each dueting the same song. Then the judge has to cut them down to six people. We won’t see all 24 battle rounds today. This, I presume, will take four episodes since 12 people are featured each two hours. The final 24 will then go to the live shows April 2.

Here is video of each contestant explaining why the should win “The Voice.”

7:39 p.m. I spent all day on the set of “Single Ladies” and only now have time to actually write up some of the comments from the contestants. Here are some highlights:

Mathai ( who dared to sing Adele and get away with it), 18, who moved to Atlanta a year ago: “I’ve always loved music but I never believed in myself that I could do it as a career. One thing. I woke up one morning senior year. I’m a Christian. I heard a voice tell me that this is my calling. I was being directed in this way. It really is that dramatic. It was an overnight thing. We found out about a competition that introduced me to my manager. And that has brought me here. It happened so quickly. I’m just shocked.”

She did hedge her bets by entering nursing school. But “The Voice” is clearly guiding her elsewhere.

Pip (”House of the Rising Sun”), 19,  from Marietta: “My revelation came about the same time. I was doing the same thing. I was going to school for pharmacy. I felt I had to get a real job. Funny. Mathai and I were both on another reality show: ‘The Glee Project.’ That’s when I dropped out of school. (Samford University in Birmingham).  That’s the first time I had affirmation at a bigger level, that it’s something I could do as a career… I’m going to focus all my attention on this. If I do go to school, it’s a later thing… I remember, 8 or 9, watching the Grammys and saying, ‘I’m going to be there.’ ”

He realizes when Adam Levine, his coach, said he was a “chameleon,” that was a blessing and a curse. He likes too many genres of music and hasn’t honed in on his own style just yet. He tried when he said, “I want to do Adele with more rock, soul, pop and jazz.”

Jordan Rager (”Chicken Fried”), 18,  from Loganville: “I’m like Pip. I listen to everything from country to pop to soul. Our stories sound scarily similar. I started singing in church. [His dad is a pastor.] At age 14, I started listening intently to country. I used to have a straw cowboy hate like Kenny Chesney. I’m a big fan of Jason Aldean. My favorite country artist is Alan Jackson. I grew up listening to him.”

Chris Cauley (”Grenade”), 28, from Atlanta: “I bounced around all over the place but I lived here my whole life. I was born and raised here. I’ve been touring for many, many years, done a lot of college shows. I have more shows under my belt than people double my age. I was doing 250 shows a year, touring like crazy. I got linked up with Tyler Perry and did a stage play with him ["Laugh To Keep From Crying"]. For two years, I didn’t focus on me. I was accepting everything that was coming in. I jumped aboard ‘Man in the Mirror,’ a massive Michael Jackson tribute show in London, did a world tour for two summers… I’m so blessed to play music for a living the past 10 years. ‘The Voice’ has been a blessing. I can’t think of another situation where you get 90 seconds to be in front of millions of people focused just on you. This is massive massive free promotion.”

[As we compared fedoras, he said he likes hats because it's easier than working on his hair.]

Sera Hill (”I’m Goin’ Down”), 24, from Lithonia. “I was six years old when I realized I could sing [at Covington's Richard's Chapel Methodist.] I was eight years old when I started doing theater. That helped me channel all my hyperactivity. I bounced all over the place. I did a few plays between 8 and 14, one with Ruby Dee. I performed anywhere I could. I did the National Anthem at Hawks and Braves games. I’d sing at graduations. People would say, ‘Stop singing! You sing too much!’ I went to Clark Atlanta for a couple of years and majored in theater before I decided to push music further. I joined Remedy, an R&B group for a couple of years. But I was back up, not the lead. It was Destiny Child-ish. I’m not a group person. I’ve since been getting my solo thing on. ‘The Voice” came to mind soon.”

And each person’s thoughts on their mentor:

Mathai on Adam Levine: “He has so much drive. He knows what he wants. Not in an offensive way but he’s the child of the group. He has the most youthful spirit.”

Pip on Adam: “I chose him because he was the first one to turn around. Each of them could do amazing things. But he wanted me the most. I could tell. As weird as it sounds, he has that passion. He critiqued me. The others didn’t. I don’t ever want to be totally satisfied with a performance. I can always do better.”

Jordan on Blake Shelton: “It sounds like a cliche but I would have been happy with any coach. But it’s no secret Blake was my first choice. He’s the best fit stylistically.”

Chris on Adam: “We had this long dialogue. I said whoever I pick is someone I think would be a good hang, a good person to hang. I didn’t want someone who, once the red light is off, we go our separate ways. I want the person to genuinely work with me. I want to this mentor to be a friend so I can be a sponge and learn.”

Sera on Christina: “It’s so crazy. She’s very dynamic. She’s a diva, larger than life. But in person, she’s really down to earth. She’s a genuine person. She’s very precise. She’s a perfect person to learn about my genre, R&B soul and she also can switch to hip hop and pop. She can help me become a more versatile artist.”

On TV
“The Voice,” Mondays, 8 p.m. NBC

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

127 comments Add your comment

JTesla

March 5th, 2012
12:58 pm

Thanks Rodney. Did you and Chris discuss hats?

Rodney Ho

March 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

@JTesla. Of course. We had a “hat off.” I won, of course.

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
1:03 pm

thanks Rodney. They’re clearly working you too hard!

I hate the battle rounds on The Voice but I’ll keep an eye open for the Atlanta contingent.

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
1:09 pm

Here’s a fun little game for Idol fans. I got all but one:

http://www.sporcle.com/games/rockgolf/idol_curiosity

DanJ

March 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

Thanks Rodney,all five have talent but I think Pip and Sera have the best chance to win. Although my favorite is Tony Lucca. Like Deirdre I’m not crazy about the battle rounds but maybe they’ll grow on me this year.

G

March 5th, 2012
2:24 pm

RoHo, thanks for The Voice write-up. I can’t wait til the show tonight.

[...] more Talking to Atlanta’s five ‘The Voice’ semifinalists at Radio & TV Talk… /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR [...]

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
2:53 pm

Deirdre: glad Mercedes mentioned “Walking Dead” in the last thread – you didn’t warn me about the fact that WD was scary as hell (and had some incredibly stupid things happening) last week! Found myself screaming at the tv to “stop that s–t” etc, and I’m sure you know what I mean. When that window broke, I about had a heart attack! Rick really needs to get ahold of himself and keep his cool. My nerves can’t take all this ill will.

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:01 pm

Aww, posted my top ten on the end of the last thread. Should I put it here too?

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
3:03 pm

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:07 pm

OK, on its way! And Sam-A, my dear twin, even before I read your comment I realized I’d forgotten about…. Alexis Grace and Katie Stevens! Alexis actually would make my top ten.

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:09 pm

Here it is. Edited to include Alexis.

1. (THREE-WAY TIE) Adam, Katharine, Mike

4. Carly

5. Pia

6. Alexis Grace (I REALLY liked her. And yes, it was Jolene that got her booted. Same night Adam did “Ring of Fire”, and I was scared for both of them. Now SHE was someone on whom the judges should’ve used the save….

7. Lakisha Jones (in her “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going” days, early in the show. Remember how Simon told everyone else to pack their bags after she sang that? I so HATED that she fell off from that.)

8. Haley Reinhart

9. LaToya London (the first season I ever watched… my very first Idol favorite)

10. Crystal Bowersox

No one else from Carrie’s season, because as long as Carrie stayed each week, I didn’t care who went home.

Only Kat from her season… again, as long as she stayed, I was good. I was probably the only person on earth who was glad it was Chris Daughtry instead of her. Liked Chris, but if it meant Kat stayed… bye-bye Chris!!

Other than Alexis, same with Adam’s season too. As long as he stayed….
(Though I did like Allison Iraheta fairly well… remember their duet?)

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:11 pm

p.s… I bought Alexis’ studio version of “Jolene” off iTunes, and it was very good. I still listen to it occasionally.

[...] Popular reality show “The Voice” boasts 5 contestants from Atlanta (AJC) [...]

Harriett

March 5th, 2012
3:19 pm

D, I missed Jordin. I was busy with stuff here and did not get all the way thru in time, but got all but one in the top 12. Thanks for posting.

Highlander

March 5th, 2012
3:29 pm

@Jenny, as I posted on the last thread (I was too late also), you can’t really list Kat or Adam as having “left too early” since they were in their respective season’s finales.

Please deduct 10 points from your score total. :D

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:37 pm

Speaking of Jordin, though I liked her, she does factor into one of the “most annoying Idol moments ever”. Remember the first year they did Idol Gives Back? They pretended like they were going to send someone home… except they had clearly told Jordin and Chris Richardson (the “bottom 2″) that no one would really be leaving. (I think one of them even confirmed later that they knew.)

Anyway, Jordin and Chris could be seen nudging each other and snickering, and then quickly trying to get a straight face back and look scared for the camera. And not everyone realized that they weren’t really scared. The next day in the media there was all sorts of weeping and wailing for “poor little Jordin, how could they terrify her like that?”

It seemed like the show had done that on purpose to garner support for Jordin, because they wanted a 17-year-old “pop star” winner… which was truly a shame, because Melinda Doolittle far and away should’ve won that season.

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
3:38 pm

Highlander: If they didn’t win, and you thought they should have, ie me with Clay, you can certainly list them as having left too soon.

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:38 pm

OK, Highlander. Duly deducted…. But can’t we put them into the category of “left too early” because they both should’ve won? ;-)

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

OK, Sam – JINX!! Wow!!!

Highlander

March 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

My list of Idol contestants who I think left too early:

1. Daughtry
2. JHud
3. Haley R.
4. Carly S.
5. Pia T.
6. Tamyra G.
7. Elliott Y.
8. Kellie P.
9. Constantine M.
10. Anyone else who left before Fantasia!! :shock:

There are probably others that came and went along the way during the last 10 seasons who I liked and thought left too soon but that damn Alzheimer’s is a bitch!

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
3:39 pm

Mercedes’ quiz was the “left too early” quiz. Mine was the “best non-winners quiz”.

Just watched this week’s Walking Dead. Stunned….just stunned!

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:42 pm

Ah ha! I was answering Deirdre’s quiz, Highlander! Can I have my 10 points back now? ;-)

Highlander

March 5th, 2012
3:47 pm

CRAP! See there, …even after reading the previous comments from the last thread, I forgot Melinda. And I’d probably add Mandisa to the list, too.

Sam A. and Jenny, I’ll stand by my interpretation of the rules (suggestion, parameter, nudge, …whatever). Since they made it to the finale, they didn’t leave too soon, they were simply voted off the island. …Oh, wait. Wrong show, huh? :oops:

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
3:51 pm

Hey Highlander, does that mean you watch Survivor?

Highlander

March 5th, 2012
3:53 pm

I stand humbled and corrected! Well, …corrected, anyway! :lol:

Hey, we could do a list of who left Survivor too soon, too. But then again, who would know or care??? And isn’t it time for Jeff Probst to be voted off?!

Back to The Voice, I think Carson Daly is doing a marginally better job as host of The Voice this season (so far). Then again, it would be hard for him not to improve over last season. …Or maybe I’m just subconsciously comparing him to the disaster that was Steve Jones!!!

Highlander

March 5th, 2012
3:56 pm

No, Jenny. I couldn’t even get through the first full season of Survivor way back when. Wayyyyy too much manufactured drama – kinda like “The Real Housewives of Bora Bora”!

Outta here for now. (Quit applauding, dammit!)

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
4:01 pm

So Mercedes’ was “left too early”… Deirdre’s was “best non-winners” — how about “hung around too long”? Mine:

Taylor
Taylor
Taylor
Megan Joy
Jason Castro
Casey Abrams
Sanjaya
Scott Savol (was that his name? the vote-for-the-worst one from Carrie’s season who was just awful, but lingered and lingered…)
And I’m sure many more that I’ve blocked from memory.

Rickster

March 5th, 2012
4:04 pm

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
4:19 pm

“left too soon” and “fave non-winners” kinda almost the same thing – so my list stands for both.

Jenny: Great minds obviously think alike!

Deirdre: Stunned as in “scary as hell” or “oh no they didn’t!”

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
4:22 pm

Jenny: Take out Taylor, and I totally agree with the rest – all pretty unbearable. I thought Taylor was ok, because I liked the soul songs from Temps, etc he sang, and couldn’t stand McPhee. Didn’t love him for sure, but found him acceptable.

Megan Joy, alias “Tweet Tweet Girl” – wore on my last nerve. Like sitting on an airplane with a squalling kid in the row behind screaming and kicking my seat!

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
4:27 pm

Great description of Megan! And the thing that bugged me the most was Alexis going home, while Megan stayed, tweet-tweeting and caw-cawing. :roll:

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
4:27 pm

Sam…neither.

Harriett

March 5th, 2012
4:29 pm

Time to run. Have a good rest of the afternoon.

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
4:29 pm

I think the “left too soon” quiz was more about shocking exits. Pia, Michael Johns. People who may not have been the best but certainly didn’t deserve to get ousted before a bunch of other people.

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
4:30 pm

Stunned as in “I didn’t see that coming”.

Jenny

March 5th, 2012
4:42 pm

Sam, the funny thing is, I kind of liked Taylor during the auditions, and even the first few shows. I felt sorry for him and thought he’d probably be cannon fodder… but then he kept staying and staying, over singers with much better voices…. and that really upset me.

I almost always liked the *songs* he chose, but just not his voice or ‘woo’-ing or mannerisms. And toward the end he appeared to get, um, how to say this politely… a rather high opinion of himself…. ;-)

Sam-A

March 5th, 2012
4:54 pm

Jenny: I did get sick of “soul patrol, soul patrol”. I just couldn’t have cared one iota less for Kat M, so with it down to the two of them, I had to go for Taylor.

Deirdre: hope that Rick and Shawn didn’t complete the “mission” they started out on last week. Don’t tell me, but if they did I will be most disappointed with Rick. That fiasco at the prison already p’d me off terribly. I really need to be consulted on some of these scripts! Getting too close to the shark sometimes.

Rickster

March 5th, 2012
4:58 pm

Our son & d-i-l are taking our daughter out for a few hours, so I’m having a romantic dinner date with the lovely & gracious Mrs. Rickster.

Have a good evening, everyone!

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
5:41 pm

The “fiasco” at the prison was about a lot more than “the mission” And it was a long time coming. I thought it worked very well in the context of what’s going on personally between Rick and Shane AND the need to make decisions regarding the prisoner. Which was the excuse rather than the catalyst.

Sunday night’s episode was a game changer.

Mercedes S.

March 5th, 2012
6:20 pm

Grrr, I’m three hrs away from that WD “stunner”. Started to watch what I thought was first record show of season… long time went by.., then I thought, wait a minute, that kid became a Dead, what is she doing there in the car with Mom and happy Rick family??

So I’m still behind. So proud of clean up job this weekend – boxed and packed up 400+ video casettes – I might just veg and watch the idiot “Bachelor” tonight. Supposedly he is being cussed out by his ditched girls.

Mercedes S.

March 5th, 2012
6:32 pm

Checked out D’s game – got the first 12 ones MINUS Chris Allen. Totally forgot about him.
Shouldn’t last years winner be included?

JTesla

March 5th, 2012
7:21 pm

Who was last years winner again?

Deirdre

March 5th, 2012
7:24 pm

Way too soon for last year’s winner…whatever his name is.

Mercedes S.

March 5th, 2012
8:01 pm

Scott somehing.,, Scottie? Scotty? Can’t remember last name…

Pitchy

March 5th, 2012
8:06 pm

Good evening.

Pitchy

March 5th, 2012
8:06 pm

Javier won last year.

DanJ

March 5th, 2012
8:09 pm

Is anyone here watching the show?

DanJ

March 5th, 2012
8:10 pm

I should say watching the show live!

Rodney Ho

March 5th, 2012
8:11 pm

@DanJ> Just me! Atlanta’s Chris Cauley is up against Disney man Tony.