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'The Voice' recap: The iTunes Factor
December 11, 2012 - April Diodato
The final four contestants on “The Voice” sang their hearts out last night in the show's semifinals, with some surprising results.
Many critics have been calling this contest all sewn up since Trevin Hunte sang his first song. Now, it seems possible that he won't be among one of the last three singers standing. That's right – it will come down to three. Last season, it was one singer from each team, with four battling it out in the finale; this time around, it's the top three singers with the most votes. “The Voice” has been mixing things up this season, with many changes in the rules. I haven't missed an episode and I've been struggling to stay abreast of each new adjustment.
The most important alteration has been the one regarding iTunes votes: if a singer's single makes the top 10 on the iTunes Top 200 Singles Chart during the voting period, their iTunes votes will be multiplied by 10. This has had a huge influence on who has made it through to another week. At first, I was confuddled by this new component but now that it's one week away from the show's finale, I recognize its importance. It may solve one of the show's biggest problems.
“The Voice” has yet to have a true breakout star. The show's past winners have vocal talent but that's not enough. Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul don't seem likely to reach the level of success that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have achieved thus far.
Monday night's episode really got me thinking about the iTunes factor. I've had my eye on the charts each week. With the top-selling artists consistently moving up in the competition, how well they do on iTunes could be an excellent indicator of how they will sell once the show is over. Powerful pipes will only get them so far – it's all about garnering support from the fans at home. The contestants who chose their songs with the iTunes votes in mind have fared better than some of the others with stronger voices. Take Melanie Martinez for example – she sings softly but she's savvy. That's why she was in the top six: she knew how to sell.
Aside from some bum notes in Hunte's performance of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” a strong indicator that he will not be in the final three is the iTunes chart. Right now, here's where they're ranked among the iTunes top 100 singles (I checked this morning, too, and the results were similar):
1. Cassadee Pope, “Stupid Boy”
2. Terry McDermott, “Let it Be”
6. Nicholas David, “You Are So Beautiful”
39. Trevin Hunte, “Wind Beneath My Wings”
It has been crucial to hit the following marks each week: choosing a song that people will want to download – a song that suits the singer well -- and giving a moving performance of that song. Hunte's selection wasn't successful. I don't particularly want to jam out to his version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” on my iPod, and it appears that I'm not alone in this. Pope, McDermott and David all delivered some soulful performances last night; I wasn't moved by Hunte's at all. It appears that the other viewers are with me on this one, too.
I don't really gamble – I lack luck and disposable income – but if I did, I'd put my odds on Pope, McDermott and David taking the top three slots tonight. Then again, I thought Amanda Brown would still be around. And on that note, here's some of my other thoughts on “The Voice” before the final three are announced:
- I am still thoroughly annoyed by the elimination of my favorite – and arguably, the best – singer on the show, Amanda Brown. I hope she'll take a page out of Jennifer Hudson's book and make it big. With the loss of Brown and Martinez, one of my other favorites, and the addition of even more inane filler, I have to admit that I was a bit bored during last night's episode … and did a lot of fast-forwarding.
- Terry McDermott gave another perfect performance, and he seems like such a genuinely sweet guy. Now that Brown is not in the running, I'd really like see him take this.
- Nicholas David is not of this era. I'm really suspicious that he was transported here from another time. It's something about the way that he can make those funky '70s-style suits look fresh, his peaceful vibe, those flowing ginger locks and, of course, that voice of his. He's improved with leaps and bounds all season long, and I commend him – I've become a believer. I'm so happy that he's found a following.
- The most refreshing quote of the night goes to Adam Levine, who remarked that “The Voice” was “just a silly TV show.” After all of the grandiose remarks we've heard this season, thanks for keeping it real.
- Confusing quote of the night: during all of those hometown visits (lots of fast-forwarding), an overwhelmed Cassadee Pope walked into her home and discovered a party was being thrown in her honor. Her reaction: she couldn't believe that her boyfriend was there. Why? Of all of the guests present, why would that surprise her? That struck me as so odd.
- Confusion aside, I applaud her choice to go country once again. She should really consider forgetting about this whole Avril Lavigne thing and take the country-crossover route instead.
- Here's a reason not to fast-forward through tonight's results show: season two's Juliet Simms will be performing her new single. Oh, how I've missed her!
I can't wait to see what happens on the finale of “The Voice” – the top three will be revealed tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.