May 15, 2012

Queen of the Voice

Paul Krugman in the NYT warns us of Eurodämmerung within months, but like the girl in Don't Drea

W H Chong — Culture Mulcher

W H Chong

Culture Mulcher

Paul Krugman in the NYT warns us of Eurodämmerung within months, but like the girl in Don’t Dream It’s Over, we turn past to the TV page. To the balm and cocoon of song, of a life’s drama passing by, Live!, in 2.5 minutes of limelight.

‘You owned it! You were hungry! Well done, well done! Awesome!’ (How many delightful cliches you fit into a compliment?)

The grouse thing about The Voice, about singing contests, is direct transmission. Unlike cooking competitions, the proof is evident in the audio pudding; and in an age of televisual reality — when few of us are ever at the actual event — what we see and hear is really what we get.

Secondarily grouse is how much goodwill is on show.

Thirdly, because of the producers’ budget and ambition, is how many remarkable singers it has uncovered, and how surprisingly unalike they are. For instance, there is that very cool cat Michael Duchesne who seems to have sauntered out from the sunny side of jazz; on the other hand is the teen bip bop of Ben Bennett, peach dimpled and coyly packaged head to toe in pink. Pour on the cream and the girls are lapping him up.

It’s supposed to be The Voice, but Seal, putting on his tone of Authoritah, keeps saying it’s about star quality. The one voice that seems quite undeniable belongs to Karise Eden, who, as a perceptive reader pointed out, is “so different”: ‘I love different voices because we have had years of all the bimbette girls sounding the same.’ Judge Joel put it nicely, she has a voice from outer space.

Of Karise, Joel also had this line he prepared earlier: ‘You got more soul than a sneaker shop.’

(I see now that she reminds me of Amy Winehouse, that cutting, ragged projection, the insecurities.)

We’ve got to that stage of the show which has regrettably left behind the fragile innocence of the blind auditions, and into popular acclaim via text voting. Most of them seemed so dewy young. Alas, now comes the spit, and the polish. Now we are to be swayed by costume and sex appeal and stagecraft and whatever that shiny star effect is.

The vote winner will be The Star. But there is a different The Voice for every pair of ears out there — as Grace Jones pointedly promised, ‘I’m not perfect, but I’m perfect for you.’

+ + +

Bits and bobs and Delta

The famously ‘legally blind’ Rachael Leahcar — distractingly looking up, around and away. Knowing she is blind makes it sort of hard to look at her simply. Delta, always good for mangling sense, managed this gem, as she reassured Leahcar, reminding her of the judges’ initial reaction: ‘Nobody turned around because of your sight.’ Later, Delta leans back, and looking wisely at the camera: ‘I feel it would be inhuman not to feel the pressure, but pressure makes diamonds.’ Proving her just as original and smart as Gen. George Patton, who said it around WWII, or maybe country crooner Don Williams who made it into a song.

She is a sparkling stream-of-consciousness, Delta: ‘I’m speechless. That was so mesmerising. I wanted to hear the whole story, I was just listening and you know I love that song, and I loved that moment. Truly, just, just so proud now, I have goosebumps head to toe.’

Keith singing along to every song, crouched in his chair.

Seal doing a shuteye silent scream at the end of protege Emma Louise Birdsall’s song.

Joel: ‘Dammit, Australia, with your women … it felt like she was singing to me, it was like sensory overload.’ Joel with his shapely face and mascaraed eyes and orangerose lips would look very good in drag. He seems to have a sweet nature, Man.

It’s a covers show, so we can be assured of song quality.

The boys, especially, need a bigger repertoire of arm actions — all that looking into camera and pointing, flinging out the arm, waving them dementedly, patting the heart.

I downloaded (that’s a vote, apparently) Fatai V’s Empire State of Mind. It is bloody good, nevermind that she’s only like 16.

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12 thoughts on “Queen of the Voice

  1. [email protected]

    Agree there have been some great voices. However, we did a litle test: which of these 2 performers is more conventionally appealing, (slimmer, sexier, more mainstream, etc). Then after the judges went through the pantomine, (always a dissenting voice, you will note, to provide cover) the contortions used by the Judge to justify a decision made on that basis, rather than the best voice. The star quality, as you said.
    Worked every time, so I gave up watching.

  2. shepherdmarilyn

    And don’t ever say that Renee sang pop, shows your ignorance.

  3. Jane Doe

    Agree that Karise has the best voice. I am afraid of the volume of votes that will come from teenage girls who are smitten with either Ben or Lakyn. And I was sad to see Carmen booted out, she really had presence.

  4. shepherdmarilyn

    Go and listen to Renee, she was a superstar blues mistress.

  5. W H Chong

    Wow! Call! That’s above my pop mastermind level… Anyone?
    She’s certainly got the most *distinctive* voice.

  6. shepherdmarilyn

    You gotta admit she is the best voice this country has heard since Renee Geyer.

  7. W H Chong

    You were right from the start line. Onya.

  8. shepherdmarilyn

    Karise will win.

  9. W H Chong

    It is interesting to see how they falter a bit when they finish singing; in Seal’s phrase, a red-light performer. When the curtain falls, they fade a bit, like MJ. Some of those voices are remarkably pure — if I shut *my* eyes and listen to Rachael Leahcar it’s fab, if just a tiny wee bit treacly.

  10. Amber Jamieson

    I am now re-listening to Fatai and god she was good. Also one of my all-time favourite songs. She managed to combine both Alicia Keys and Jay Z in her attitude!

  11. W H Chong

    I believe you can see the performances on The Voice website, under ‘Performances’ …! There were many jewels for all tastes.

  12. Amber Jamieson

    Actually I think a download counts for TWO votes! Are the live show videos not appearing on Youtube because of the itunes downloads? I can find it only on Ninemsn. I thought Emma’s Never Loved A Man was bloody spot on. It’s also one of my favourite songs and she killed it (and nailed the outfit too).

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