Song of the Day #2,321: ‘Riptide’ – Team Gwen

voice_team_gwenMy family took a few years off from watching The Voice but picked it back up this season. I like singing competitions for two reasons: the judges and the chance to hear new songs or interesting takes on songs I already like.

One reason I never watched American Idol (is it still on? I’m not sure) is my complete lack of interest in Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. The parade of weirdos they brought into to replace the departing judges never piqued my interest either.

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Song of the Day #1,120: ‘The House That Built Me’ – Dia Frampton & Miranda Lambert

In the final episode of The Voice, when all the voting was done and the network just needed to burn 55 minutes before revealing the winner, each of the finalists got to perform with an established artist.

Javier Colon sang ‘Landslide’ with the legendary Stevie Nicks, whose voice is showing signs of age but who still commands the stage with her very awesomeness. Vicci Martinez performed with the guy from Train, one of her favorite groups. Beverly McClellan sang with some guy I’d never heard of before and further established that, no matter how strong her voice is, she can’t command an audience’s attention for more than 20 seconds.

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Song of the Day #1,119: ‘This Love’ – Team Blake

The rapport between the coaches or judges is a key factor on all of these talent competitions. I’ve never watched American Idol but even from afar I could tell that the Simon Cowell/Paula Abdul dynamic made for much better television than a poor fit like Ellen DeGeneres.

Through luck or good casting, The Voice wound up with a set of coaches with strong chemistry, both as a group and in individual pairings. It was fun to see them sharing glances, wondering who would press the button first during the blind auditions. Blake suggested than one contestant choose him over Cee-Lo because “he’ll dress you up like Batman.”

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Song of the Day #1,118: ‘Love is a Battlefield’ – Cee-Lo Green & Vicci Martinez

One of the neat aspects of The Voice was seeing the coaches and contestants perform together. During the first few weeks of the series they performed as teams but once they were down to the final four, we were treated to duets by each coach and his or her one remaining singer.

Dia Frampton and Blake Shelton delivered a charming but mostly forgettable rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down.’ Adam Levine and Javier Colon traded falsettos while singing Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror,’ a song they both love but I hate. And Christina Aguilera and Beverly McLellan performed a lovely acoustic version of Aguilera’s moving ‘Beautiful’ with Linda Perry, the song’s writer, accompanying on guitar.

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Song of the Day #1,117: ‘Heartless’ – Dia Frampton

Dia Frampton, the wispy-voiced Winnie Cooper lookalike on Team Blake, was my pick to with The Voice. She wound up coming in second to Javier Colon, who without question has a much better voice than she does. But there’s something about Frampton that drew me in each and every week.

Part of it is that she performed the kind of music I like to listen to, covering artists such as R.E.M. and Tom Petty. Much of it has to do with her coach — it was touching to watch Blake Shelton take Dia and fellow contestant Xenia under his wing like a protective older brother.

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