First off, kudos to NBC’s The Voice Finale for a lovely, pitch-perfect tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Here’s the video of all of the contestants and coaches singing Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah.
Now, on to the competition. The Voice is more than a contest to find out who merely sings the best. If it were, Trevin Hunte and Sylvia Yacoub would still be around. It goes beyond vocal ability and seeks to identify the biggest star: the person who can sell the most records.
Cassadee Pope came into the show with a leg up on her competition. Having been the lead singer Hey Monday for the better part of four years, her band enjoyed a higher profile than either Terry McDermott’s or Nicholas David’s. Therefore, it’s not surprising that her fan base is larger. The result is that she consistently outperforms her competitors on iTunes, which also serves as a proxy for the other methods of voting.
On last night’s The Voice, in this critic’s opinion, Nicholas’s solo performance of Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire combined with Jimi Hendrix’s Fire was by far the most entertaining song of the evening. I mean, he had fire on his piano while he rocked his vocals!
It was much better singing, stagecraft, and performance than Cassadee’s strained rendition of Cry by Faith Hill. And Terry’s Broken Wings by Mr. Mister was flat and dull by comparison.
Nicholas further distinguished himself by teaming with Cee Lo Green on Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music.
Theirs was the only duet that didn’t induce cringes. Blake Shelton and Terry fizzled on Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like a Lady. That song needs to rock, and they played it too tame. And Blake did Cassadee no favors in choosing Sheryl Crow’s Steve McQueen; neither one of them looked comfortable with that song.
So, by our reckoning, Nicholas won the night. However, his influence with the voters is the weakest of the three. To wit, his solo performance ranks below that of Terry and Cassadee in iTunes this morning. With her loyal fan base leading the way, Cassadee will officially be recognized as The Voice tonight.
Well done to all the contestants, and we wish them all the best of luck as they continue their music careers.