Latest season of “The Voice” nears its end with numerous performances

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In mere hours from now, the latest season of “The Voice” will have declared a winner. The show whittled a pool of contestants down from a sea of hopefuls, to current top four singers. Tonight, the contestants’ hard work and viewers’ subsequent voting will yield a new winner.

Hometown tie-in and nearing the end of “The Voice”

Last night, Fort Wayne, Indiana residents gathered in homes and several designated “listening” stations around the city to watch “The Voice.” Local favorite, Addison Agen has made it to the top four, and her performance has caused more residents to care about the outcome of the show.

The season finale last night was a two-hour show. Because there are only four contestants, there was time for each to perform twice. In addition, there were additional segments of singers interacting with coaches. They discussed their bonds, inspiration, and other elements related to their reasons for performing on “The Voice” and choosing their coaches, or their singers, depending.

The show began with a performance by Chloe Kohanski. She performed an original song, “Wish I Didn’t Love You.” The track is characterized by a haunting melody. The stage set helped create the moody atmosphere. Low light, fog, and Kohanski’s lacy black dress gave the performance a gothic feel. Kohanski was accompanied only by a single piano player. The song’s mid-point is shaken up by a key change and suddenly hard-edged vocals. It was easy to see Kohanski’s potential post-“The Voice” career taking shape.

Following Kohanski was a duet of sorts by Red Marlow and Blake Shelton. They performed Brad Paisley’s I”m Gonna Miss Her.” The song is a funny, mid-tempo track about a man who chooses fishing over his significant other. The loss is mitigated by a potential catch. Marlow performed the song genially, never letting on too much where the funny parts were. His country voice that often straddles the line between tenor and baritone was smooth throughout. For his part, Shelton played additional guitar.

From country relationship humor to big pop anthems, “The Voice” sounded more diverse than it has in a while. North Carolina-native Brooke Simpson sang a song written in part by her coach, Miley Cyrus. Cyrus revealed that she worked with two other writers to create the perfect song for Simpson. The song’s title asks the important question, “What Is Beautiful?” It explores what women are told to look like to be labeled “beautiful.”  Simpson performed in a Stonehenge of mirrors and used her flailing arm and soaring vocals to underscore the oppression. From this early performance, “What Is Beautiful?” began to distinguish itself as an important pop anthem.

Marlow wasn’t the only contestant to perform a duet with his or her coach. Addison Agen performed with Adam Levine. The pair sang an original duet called “Falling Slowly.” The song captured the best of both voices. Agen’s voice was emotive, but not so husky as to cloud her delivery. The pair was accompanied by orchestral strings, piano, and guitars. For most of the song, Levine’s voice was in a lower range than his usual stratospheric tenor. The audience went wild with applause.

Simpson and Cyrus also did a duet of Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” The arrange encouraged viewers who made had not paid a great deal of attention to the song, to focus on its lyrics. The strong voices never overwhelmed each other because of the variance in vocal qualities. The two singers managed to harmonize even during instrumental swells.

The night was full of performances. The contestants were trying to show what they’re made of, vocally. Marlow raised the bar in terms of lyrical content and delivery. He performed an original song called “I Pray” that he co-wrote with a friend on the occasion of the death of the friend’s father. The narrative qualities of the song pulled audiences in. The guitar and violin-rich soundscape provided the perfect backdrop to showcase Marlow’s traditional country voice. Later, Marlow also performed Garth Brooks’ version of “Make You Feel My Love.” According to his coach, Marlow’s performance had what it takes to pull him out of the bottom three. Time will tell if voters agree.

Duets made a return as Shelton and Kohanski performed a duet of Roy Orbison’s “You Got It.” The song was country, pop, and rock all at once, which was good if listeners appreciated such a mixture. The performance included one flaw by Kohanski. She came in too early, and the mistake showed on her face.

Simpson returned with a rendition of “O Holy Night.” The nearly a capella version drew excited cheers from the crowd. She was literally surrounded by a chours of black-clad women. The song was lush and sparse at once.

Agen then performed an original song called, “Tennessee Rain.” The song’s soundscape is dominated by Agen’s voice. Levine compared her accurately, to Bonnie Riatt. Agen performed with a guitar player. Her set was minimalist. The only design was the lighted outline of a house. There was a lamp in one corner and a guitar player in the other. Agen’s voice was soft at times, vulnerable. Her expression bore out the heart-wrenching lyrical content.

Kohanski closed out the night with a version of Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes.” The set was a replica of a 1980s video. Kohanksi paid homage to the original with hand motions, handclaps. She sang into a vanity mirror before singing to the audience.

Tonight’s show is supposed to be full of performances by popular artists.  In addition, highlights from last night’ s show will be shown. Then, finally, three hours later, a winner will be revealed.

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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