And The Voice Season 8 Winner Is…

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Voice’ Finale, Night One: Final Four Make It Personal.

The 15-year-old from Fultonville, NY, was not only the youngest contestant on the show this season, but he also brought in the first win for his coach Pharrell Williams.The 16-year-old folk-soul singer from rural upstate New York might be seen as an alternative choice for a TV talent show but impressed the judges from the start with his talent and humble attitude. It wasn’t until the confetti began falling that Fredericks cracked a youthful smile as the shock of what he’d just accomplished appeared to set in.

Christina Aguilera killed it with her throaty vocals – leaving Adam Levine to take the high notes with Pharrell and Blake Shelton adding some groove. He gets $100,000 and a record deal and it’s all very exciting for him — let’s hope he bucks the trend of the show’s winners (with a couple exceptions) essentially dropping off the face of the earth. Nashville soul singer Meghan Linsey and Michigan folk rocker Joshua Davis each premiered self-penned numbers, while the two teenage contestants showcased tunes by a pair of well-known Grammy winners: Ray LaMontagne and Voice coach Pharrell Williams.

Joshua played guitar for the Black Crowes song She Talks To Angels with Brian Johnson, Corey Kent White, Kimberly Nichole and Deanna Johnson hand-picked to join him. But the far more interesting story this season has been anger surrounding Meghan Linsey, the 29-year-old country-turned-soul singer who came in second place. Last week, 16-year-old Sawyer Fredericks was declared the competition’s frontrunner by Blake Shelton — a surprising statement, since he’s Linsey’s coach.

John Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, did a medley of hits “Born on the Bayou,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” with Sawyer, but it almost sounded like Sawyer’s mike was turned down lower than the 70-year-old’s, who was clearly the designated star. An ongoing issue among “Voice” fans: Some don’t believe that Linsey has any right to be in the competition because of previous success in the music industry. At a press conference following the announcement, Fredericks revealed his immediate plans. “I kind of want to get back to the farm, just to get a little break from all this,” he told Rolling Stone Country, “so I’m excited to get back home.” What we do know is that Williams will be working with Fredericks on his first post-Voice LP in some capacity. “He’s going to be recording music, for sure. Kelly Clarkson did double duty, first letting Koryn shine on “I’d Rather Go Blind” and then Meghan on “Invincible,” although it’s pretty difficult to outshine Kelly. Immediately following the NBC broadcast, his original song, “Please,” shot to Number Two on iTunes, just below Taylor Swift’s new Kendrick Lamar collaboration, “Bad Blood.” “Please” was written by Fredericks’ musical hero, Ray LaMontagne, a singer-songwriter and kindred spirit who also hails from a rural part of the Northeast.

It’s a solid Americana love song that could possibly give The Voice its first radio hit after eight seasons — if program directors can look past its singing competition origins and give it a shot on adult alternative or college stations, where LaMontagne is a staple. “I remember hearing the music when my dad was working on the house, and I just fell in love with his voice, and the way he plays guitar, and I picked up a lot of that kind of style that he does,” Fredericks explained leading into his performance. Next, Meghan Trainor, who was Blake Shelton’s Battle advisor this season, sang her new single “Dear Future Husband,” accompanying herself on the ukulele. Rival coach Adam Levine said he could understand the euphoria of singing a track hand-picked by an idol. “If I was 16 and Eddie Vedder was like, ‘Hey Adam, dude-that-loves-me-and-worships-me, here’s a song I wrote and you can sing it,’ that would blow my flippin’ brains out. . . Small in stature but poised beyond his years, he carved out an identity as a guitar-strumming crooner who could effortlessly strip a song down to its barest essence.

Mia also made an appearance on Sawyer’s bring-back song, Jonny Lang’s “Lie to Me,” along with Brooke Adee and Lowell Oakley, and stole the performance. Ray LaMontagne was his hero, and it appears the singer-songwriter is now a Fredericks fan, even gifting him with an original tune called “Please” for Monday’s finale. And speaking of stealing, that’s what Christina Aguilera did to her fellow coaches when she, Blake, Adam and Pharrell performed “The Thrill is Gone” as a tribute to B.B.

They landed two consecutive Country Music Association Award nominations for Vocal Duo of the Year, and similar accolades from other mainstream award shows. Christina also proved an adept mimic and comedian when she lampooned Miley Cyrus, Sia, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Shakira and Cher in a bit about unseen “audition tapes” from wannabe Voice coaches.

The finalists and their coaches stepped into the confessional for one last time to speak about their journey. “Ultimately, my goal was really just to have a second chance,” Linsey said. “I just wanted to sing,” Hawthorne said through tears. For Davis, winning The Voice would be all about being able to provide for his family and support them through his music. “To have America just embrace my music and embrace me the way they have has been amazing,” Fredericks said. “To say thank you is not enough.” Fredericks then took the stage to sing with John Fogerty, followed by Davis performing with Sheryl Crow. It’s all over now until Season 9 in the fall, although things are just ramping up for winner Sawyer, who closed the show with his new Ray LaMontagne-penned single, “Please.” With her career in a freefall, she turned to “The Voice.” “It’s kind of like going back to Square One,” she said in her first audition. “It’s humbling.

Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Team Adam’s Joshua Davis says his heartland anthem, “The Workingman’s Hymn,” is indicative of his point-of-view as a singer-songwriter. “It’s not a love song, it’s not a song about drinking beer in red solo cups. After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands.

The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with “We all know we need police, but…” It’s a familiar refrain to those of us who’ve spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, “But who’ll help you if you get robbed?” We can put a man on the moon, but we’re still lacking creativity down here on Earth. Incidentally, he was the only one not to spin his chair around when she first auditioned — she wound up on Team Pharrell, but Shelton stole her in a later round for his team. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the “disorderly conduct” of the urban poor. Like every structure we’ve known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario.

I’m really on the other side of that stuff that I felt was holding me back.” “She deserves to win because she fought back, and man, that’s impossible to do. Rather than be scared of our impending Road Warrior future, check out just a few of the practicable, real-world alternatives to the modern system known as policing: Unarmed but trained people, often formerly violent offenders themselves, patrolling their neighborhoods to curb violence right where it starts. Stop believing that police are heroes because they are the only ones willing to get in the way of knives or guns – so are the members of groups like Cure Violence, who were the subject of the 2012 documentary The Interrupters.

There are also feminist models that specifically organize patrols of local women, who reduce everything from cat-calling and partner violence to gang murders in places like Brooklyn. In other words, if people are upset that Linsey took up someone else’s deserving spot because she had connections — well, as any of the above winners can tell her, that generally not translate into success on its own. She’s very expensive.” But regardless of whether she takes the crown tonight, her stock has definitely risen — along with her self-worth. “Auditioning for the show is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. While police forces have benefited from military-grade weapons and equipment, some of the most violent neighborhoods have found success through peace rather than war. And for me, there was just never an option to go home.” The Season Eight winner of The Voice will be revealed tonight on NBC, with a recap show at 8:00 p.m.

Violent offenses count for a fraction of the 11 to 14 million arrests every year, and yet there is no real conversation about what constitutes a crime and what permits society to put a person in chains and a cage. Decriminalization doesn’t work on its own: The cannabis trade that used to employ poor Blacks, Latinos, indigenous and poor whites in its distribution is now starting to be monopolized by already-rich landowners.

It’s not just “The Voice.” Nashville artist Sarah Darling, also a country singer with a label and many connections, got similar criticism when she auditioned for “Rising Star” on ABC last summer. To quote investigative journalist Christian Parenti’s remarks on criminal justice reform in his book Lockdown America, what we really need most of all is “less.” Also known as reparative or transformative justice, these models represent an alternative to courts and jails. From hippie communes to the IRA and anti-Apartheid South African guerrillas to even some U.S. cities like Philadelphia’s experiment with community courts, spaces are created where accountability is understood as a community issue and the entire community, along with the so-called perpetrator and the victim of a given offense, try to restore and even transform everyone in the process.

Obviously these could become police themselves and then be subject to the same abuses, but as a temporary solution they have been making a real impact. In New York, Rikers Island jails as many people with mental illnesses “as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York State combined,” which is reportedly 40% of the people jailed at Rikers. We have created a tremendous amount of mental illness, and in the real debt and austerity dystopia we’re living in, we have refused to treat each other for our physical and mental wounds. Mental health has often been a trapdoor for other forms of institutionalized social control as bad as any prison, but shifting toward preventative, supportive and independent living care can help keep those most impacted from ending up in handcuffs or dead on the street.

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