Network: NBC, airs Tuesday nights
Original Telecast: June 28, 2011

Now here’s what an AMERICAN IDOL finale should look like – four worthy performers battling it out for the crown. Four quality singers. Four singers who would all make kick-ass albums. And four coaches who currently have pop cultural relevance and are powerhouses in their own right.

Hail THE VOICE.

The show kicked off with the four Coaches Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton tackling another Queen song – “Under Pressure” and doing it justice. It was much better than their Queen butchering a couple of week’s back and it focused solely on the four coach’s voices harmonizing splendidly together.

Although there hasn’t been much to mention regarding Alison Haislip throughout the run of the show (she talks with the contestants backstage), she did make a HIGHLANDER reference at one point and she gets a few points in my book for that (and her first mention here in a VOICE review because of it).

Since this is about the contestants and not the guest performances (who were fine, but filler nonetheless), let’s get on with the critiques.

TEAM ADAM

JAVIER COLON
Original Song: “Stitch by Stich”
Damn, this is a great song. Not really too R&B, not too pop, but just the right blend to make Javier the crossover artist he deserves to be. This is a really powerful song and Colon sings it with passion and style. He made this his own and it’s something that hands down should (and will be) playing constantly on the radio.  THE VOICE comes up with an original song for a contestant that doesn’t sounds like crap (AMERICAN IDOL, are you listening?)
Grade: A-

JAVIER COLON and ADAM LEVINE duet
Song: “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson
Grade: At the beginning of the clip before he and Levine sang this Song, Colon says no one can do this song better than Michael Jackson. And after the song was butchered by Jacob Lusk on AMERICAN IDOL last season, I feared the worst again. It wasn’t. Both Levine and Colon sound nice together, but the song definitely favored Colon’s amazing pipes over Levine. It was still Michael Jackson-esque and I demand all reality shows to not allow another cover of this song in the future, but it was fine for what it was.
Grade: B-

TEAM CEE LO

VICCI MARTINEZ
Original Song: “Afraid to Sleep”
Clearly one of the frontrunners in this alongside Dia Frampton, Martinez is saddled with a complicated and challenging song that is well-written and finely produced, but forced Martinez to struggle at times to get fully behind it vocally. That said, she sang it with passion, but compared to both Javier and Dia, this song (which is what America is going to base their votes on), is just not as strong as it should be.
Grade: B

VICCI MARTINEZ and CEE LO GREEN duet
Song: “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benetar
Cee Lo is definitely a showman, and he put on a show with his duet with Martinez. They sing the hell out of this song making it an epic duet – a post-apocalyptic song and dance circa the 1980s. Martinez is much more on with her vocals here than on her original song. She definitely has that Benetar vibe, which makes this a great choice to showcase her incredible chops. I would say she also has a Bonnie Tyler (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”) vibe to her too. The key for her is finding the right songs for her incredible range and undeniable power. This show has given her the vehicle to show off who she is and what she can do, and hopefully moving forward (whether she wins or not) will allow her the success she so rightfully deserves.
Grade: A-

TEAM CHRISTINA

BEVERLY McCLELLEN
Song: “Love Sick”
What is wonderful about THE VOICE is it gives a performer like McClellen a chance to rise to the top and get massive exposure where she would be ineligible by age if she went on IDOL. I’ve always liked McClellen’s voice and personality, but “Love Sick” was not a homerun song. It’s a solid rock song, and McClellen sings it well, but I wasn’t feeling it. The track starts off great, but the chorus sounds like warmed-over 1980s hard rock.  This is the Finals and every song, every performance and every choice counts. Here, the performance far outshined the song. Sad, because I was really rooting for McClellen to hit it out of the park.
Grade: B-

BEVERLY McCLELLEN and CHRISTINA AGUILERA duet
Song: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
Only Aguilera would have the hubris to duet with Beverly on a song she made famous. At least it was a new arrangement – stripped down and done acoustically – and reworked to complement McClellen’s unique vocal range. Plus, the harmony vocals between the two are completely sublime. While I doubted this choice at first, it was a nice mix and match of the two, hubris be damned.
Grade: A-

TEAM BLAKE

DIA FRAMPTON
Original Song: “Inventing Shadows”
Okay, so I have my favorite in the competition and for weeks it’s been Dia and she once again didn’t disappoint. With her original song, she comes out fighting with with something that feels totally like her, but totally contemporary. She’s such an original performer and the emotion and lyrics are so perfect, this may have just won her the competition. I think what continues to make her such an outstanding performer is her unique phrasing and the way she wraps her emotive voice around every line of the song. Points for going back to the piano after doing her rock song duet with Blake earlier in the show with her guitar. Damn, I love this girl.
Grade: A

DIA FRAMPTON and BLAKE SHELTON duet
Song: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty
It’s rare to hear someone singing a cover on a Tom Petty song on a reality competition, which makes this fresh rendition of his classic song so good. From the harmonies to the respectful arrangement, Dia and Blake nail it. Both dressed in black suits, it showed off a very playful side to Dia that we haven’t seen before. If THE VOICE has given new voices a chance to shine, this show has introduced country singer Blake Shelton to mainstream America for the first time and it’s doing wonders for him. We get to see him as a fully rounded artist who handles country with passion but can shine in other genres too. He’s also gained millions of new fans in the process (myself included).
Grade: A-

Who will win? If I was betting, it would be Dia, but with four contestants it could be anyone’s game. The big question is, whose songs would I download and out of all eight performances, I would download both of Dia’s. So there you go – my totally biased opinion.

UPDATE: Who won THE VOICE? Was it Dia or Javier – CLICK HERE to find out

Click on the photos below to see a gallery of “The Finales – Results Show”

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

Click on Link: AX’s THE VOICE Season 1 Picks the Final Four

Click on Link: AX’s THE VOICE Season 1 review of  SEMI-FINALS

Click on Link: AX’s THE VOICE Season 1 review of  LIVE SHOW, QUARTER-FINALS 2

Click on Link: AX’s THE VOICE Season 1 review of  LIVE SHOW, QUARTER-FINALS 1

Click on Link: AX’s THE VOICE Season 1 review of BATTLES, PART 4

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The show kicked off with the four Coaches Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton tackling another Queen song – “Under Pressure” and doing it justice. It was much better than their Queen butchering a couple of week’s back and it focuses solely on the four coach’s voices harmonizing splendidly together.

Although there hasn’t been much to mention regarding Allison Hayslip throughout the run of the show (she talks with the contestants backstage), she did make a HIGHLANDER reference at one point and she gets a few points in my book for that (and her first mention here in a VOICE review because of it).

Since this is about the contestants and not the guest performances to round out the hour, let’s get on with the critiques.

TEAM ADAM

JAVIER COLON
Original Song: “Stitch by Stich”
Damn, this is a great song. Not really too R&B, not too pop, but just the right blend to make Javier the crossover artist he deserves to be. This is a really powerful song and Colon sings it with passion and style. He made this his own and it’s something that hands down should (and will be) playing constantly on the radio. Once again, THE VOICE comes up with an original song for a contestant that doesn’t sounds like crap (AMERICAN IDOL, are you listening?)
Grade: A-

JAVIER COLON and ADAM LEVINE duet
Song: “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson
Grade: At the beginning of the clip showing them choosing this song, Javier says no one can do this song better than Michael Jackson and the song was butchered by Jacob Lusk on AMERICAN IDOL last season, so another song I was fearful would be a complete bust. It wasn’t. Both Levine and Colon sounded nice together, but the song definitely favored Colon’s amazing pipes over Levine. It was still Michael Jackson-esque and I demand all reality shows to not allow another cover of this song in the future, but it was fine for what it was.
Grade: B-

TEAM CEE LO

VICCI MARTINEZ
Original Song: “Afraid to Sleep”
Clearly one of the frontrunners in this alongside Dia, Martinez is saddled with a complicated and challenging song that is well-written and finely produced, but forced Martinez to struggle at times to get fully behind it vocally. That said, she sang it with passion, but compared to both Javier and …, the song (which is what America is going to base their votes on), is just not as strong as the others.
Grade: B

VICCI MARTINEZ and CEE LO GREEN duet
Song: “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benetar
Cee Lo is definitely a showman, and he put on a show with his duet with Martinez. They sing the hell out of this song making it an epic duet – a post-apocalyptic song and dance circa the 1980s. Martinez is much more on with her vocals here than on her original. She definitely has that Benetar vibe, which made this a great choice to showcase her incredible chops. I would say she also has a Bonnie Tyler (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”) vibe to her too. The key for her is finding the right songs for her incredible range and undeniable power. This has given her the vehicle to show off who she is and what she can do, and hopefully moving forward (whether she wins or not) will allow her the success she so rightfully deserves.
Grade: A-

TEAM CHRISTINA

BEVERLY McCLELLEN
Song: “Love Sick”
What is wonderful about THE VOICE is it gives a performer like McClellen a chance to rise to the top and get massive exposure where she would be ineligible by age if she went on IDOL. I’ve always liked McClellen’s voice and personality, but “Love Sick” was not a homerun song. It’s a solid rock song, and McClellen sings the hell out of it. It starts off great, but the chorus sounds like warmed-over 1980s hard rock. Nothing wrong with it, but this is the Finals and every song, every performance and every choice counts. Here, the performance far outshined the song.
Grade: B-

BEVERLY McCLELLEN and CHRISTINA AGUILERA duet
Song: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
Only Aguilera would have the hubris to duet with Beverly on a song she made famous. At least it was a new arrangement – stripped down and done acoustically – and reworked to complement McClellen’s unique vocal range. Plus, the harmony vocals between the two are completely sublime. While I doubted this choice at first, it was a nice mix and match of the two, hubris be damned.
Grade: A-

 

TEAM BLAKE

DIA FRAMPTON
Original Song: “Inventing Shadows”
Okay, so I have my favorite in the competition and for weeks it’s been Dia and this week she didn’t disappoint. With her original song, she comes out fighting with an original song that feels totally like her. She’s such an original performer and the emotion and lyrics are so perfect, this may have just won her the completion. I think what continues to make her such an interesting performer is her unique phrasing and the way she wraps her emotive voice around every line of the song. Points for going back to the piano after doing her rock song with the guitar with Blake. Damn I love this girl.
Grade: A

DIA FRAMPTON and BLAKE SHELTON duet
Song: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty
It’s rare to hear someone singing a cover on a Tom Petty song on a reality competition, which makes this fresh rendition of his classic song so good. From the harmonies to the respectful arrangement, Dia and Blake hit it out of the park. Both are dressed in black suits and it shows a very playful side to Dia that we haven’t seen before. If THE VOICE has given new voices a chance to shine, this show has introduced country singer Blake Shelton to mainstream America for the first time and it’s doing wonders for him. We get to see him as a fully rounded artist who handles country with passion but can shine in other genres too. He’s also gained millions of new fans in the process (myself included).
Grade: A-

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