OK, maybe their conversation was merely a way to kill time in between Carson Daly’s vein-popping pronouncements. But I can’t help but optimistically wonder: Could we finally have the anecdote to the almost poisonous disdain exec producer Mark Burnett and the suits at NBC have shown for promoting the fortunes of the vocalists on whose backs the three-time Emmy winning enterprise has been built?
(Hey, this seems like the perfect opportunity to link to Season 1 finalist Dia Frampton’s gorgeously haunting “Golden Years.”)
Of course, it’s easy to understand where Alicia and Miley got the inspiration for their potential business venture. Blame it on fresh energy or beginner’s luck or a real depth of musical knowledge, but these women not only have several Season 11 front-runners on their squads heading into the Knockout Rounds, but the depth of their benches exceeds those cobbled together by vets Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Not that we can ever discount the power of the Blake Multiplier (TM pending), but in any event, let’s break down tonight’s trio of Battle Rounds from least- to most-promising winner
— bearing in mind I’ll be updating this URL with more detailed performance reviews (one at a time) overnight.
3. Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher defeats Bindi Liebowitz on Marc Broussard’s “Home” (Bindi stolen by Blake) | I expected the final steal of the Season 11 Battles to live up to Carson’s screaming hyperbole, but the resulting duet had all the energy of Ted Cruz making a get-out-the-vote call on behalf of Donald Trump. To be fair, Brendan’s tone really did possess the tree-trunk sturdiness pointed out by Adam and Sammy Hagar, but he wobbled noticably on the opening verse, and dissolved into shouting by the final refrain. Still, I liked what he did better than Bindi, who despite the sweet sandpapery quality of her instrument, seems to lack the control and training of a true contender.
2. Team Alicia: Whitney & Shannon defeat Gabriel Violett on “More Than Words” | I can’t really come down too hard on sister act Whitney & Shannon or Broadway vet Gabriel, seeing how they all colored very neatly within the lines of the syrupy 1990 hair-metal ballad they were given. Yet while I found Gabriel’s unnecessary embellishments more forgivable than the duo’s charisma deficit, I’m not sure either act was really built to survive past the first round of viewer votes.
1. Team Blake: Austin Allsup defeats Preston James on “Bad Moon Rising” | I’ll give Preston this much: He managed to stay mostly in tune while pushing his 15-year-old voice into overdrive to mimic the gruffness of John Fogerty’s original template. Austin, however, never let us see him sweat as he tweaked the melody, played to the audience and added some swampy stank to the composition. Dude may be flying under the producers’ radar thus far, but if Blake takes him to the Live Playoffs, the young Billy Bob Thornton doppelganger might be looking at a trajectory similar to Season 7 champ Craig Wayne Boyd.