Who’s got the best ‘Voice’?

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Sawyer Fredericks Wins ‘The Voice’ Season Eight.

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.

Nashville’s powerful soul singer Meghan Linsey — a strong competitor throughout the season — was voted runner-up, while local Michigan hero Joshua Davis and Louisiana high school sweetheart Koryn Hawthorne took third and fourth place, respectively. 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. The NBC hit announced the winner of season 8 on Tuesday, May 19 during a two-hour finale featuring performances from Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, John Fogerty, and this season’s top 20. 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.

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. Four finalists competed for a recording contract — Team Pharrell Williams’ 16-year-old Sawyer Fredericks and 17-year-old Koryn Hawthorne, Team Blake Shelton’s 28-year-old Meghan Linsey, and Team Adam Levine’s 37-year-old Joshua Davis. 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. 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.

Linsey and Davis both chose songs they penned themselves, while Fredericks’ idol Ray LaMontagne wrote his and Williams himself wrote Hawthornes’ tune. 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. 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. Both Fredericks’ and Linsey’s original songs reached the iTunes Top 10 shortly after their performances — earning them each a boost in voting — with Davis’ and Hawthorne’s originals hovering just outside the coveted spot.

Immediately after the live broadcast, the track shot to Number Two on the iTunes chart. “I really want to do a song with Ray, just because I really want to meet him,” Fredericks confided. 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. 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. Here’s a guy that possesses this ability to tap into something that we all know is bigger than all of us, and he’s humble, and he’s proud of being a farmhand, and he’s named all his animals, and he’s the one who won, and he even won a car! 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.”

The most interesting of these was Meghan Linsey’s match-up with Team Blake colleague, fellow Nashvillian and sister-from-another-mister, Sarah Potenza. The pair displayed considerable girl power as they traded verses on Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” And in a pop-up band news, the four Voice coaches picked up instruments and microphones for “The Thrill is Gone,” in a timely tribute to the late guitarist and bluesman, B.B. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. In Mexico, where one of the world’s most corrupt police forces only has credibility as a criminal syndicate, there have been armed groups of Policia Comunitaria and Autodefensas organized by local residents for self-defense from narcotraffickers, femicide and police. 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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