Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Voice...not!

Media Moment: The Voice
Queen-related: Judges perform Queen medley

I keep seeing promos for The Voice, the American Idol knock-off with four celebrity judges of their own. Christina Aguilera brings the highest profile to the panel of judges and some would argue she also brings the most singing credibility. I’ve never actually watched an episode of The Voice since I’m not a huge Christina fan -- although I think she’s a much better vocalist than her one-time nemesis, Britney -- and I had no idea who the other three judges were.

However, I ended up recording the first of the live performances the other night because someone on QMS mentioned that Queen songs were going to be featured. I didn’t know whether this meant it would be a Queen-themed night (ala American Idol with Brian and Roger) or if the Queen content would be limited to a song or two only.

With no mention of Queen at all, Daly merely starts the show as usual and the familiar piano sequence of Bohemian Rhapsody (or the “mama?” section, as Animal would say) starts up. Judge and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine gives his best Freddie rendition but fell short in his attempt, in my opinion. Before the operatic section begins, the music changes over to stomp-stomp-clap and Cee Lo Green from Gnarls Barkley fame belts out the first few lyrics to WWRY. What struck me as an unfortunate distraction to the performance was that he sang the line “gonna be a big man someday” and there he is  . . . a big man. 

Just before the guitar solo, Adam Levine joins Cee Lo on-stage but now has a Red Special strapped around his neck. He does his best on the crunchy guitar solo and by using a copy of Brian’s guitar, he probably got as close to the original tone of the solo as possible.

Interestingly, I didn’t find any reference to Queen or Brian being an influence on Levine’s career, so who recommended Queen as a theme for this episode? Why did Levine have a Red Special at all? I scoped out a variety of images of him in concert and he seems to go through a bunch of guitars (mainly Gibsons), so maybe his Brian May copy is his own but only brings it out for special occasions.

After the WWRY guitar solo, the piano kicks in again and WATC starts with Christina Aguilera emerging from the shadows. I gotta say, though, that with her vocal strength, I expected something more from her on this song. Actually, she should have been the one to sing BoRhap instead of Levine but I guess they wanted the three-song medley to end on a strong note (pardon the pun).

Speaking of comparisons to American Idol, the producers of The Voice brought in Carson Daly for hosting duties, but I never got the impression he was as comfortable or smooth in front of the camera as Ryan Seacrest is. As a matter of fact, I found Daly’s delivery a bit stilted and awkward. Seacrest, on the other hand, strikes me as more polished when addressing the camera, the crowd, and the performers. Overall, I don’t think The Voice will be dethroning Idol anytime soon.

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