Here we are, finally reaching the Live Show stage where the stakes are higher. Now that public gets to vote, hitting all the right keys comes second to whether a contestant’s delivery lives up to expectation, and projecting the greatest vocal comes second to whether one’s performance wows the viewers enough to spur them to actually send in votes. On a big(ger) stage, under gorgeous light works, twelve contenders perform live, and each team lost a member at the end of the day.
1) Team Sherina: Agseisa <Pupus – Dewa 19>
(Too many runs, too theatrical. To me she tried too hard to sound hoarse as if every (lady) rocker should. But it’s either you possess it or you don’t; it’s not something that can be faked or forced. I don’t feel the song. An okay song and delivery for the show’s opener.)
2) Team Glenn: Gilbert <Kala cinta menggoda – Chrisye>
(He has quite a distinct voice that was submerged at The Battle round. Here, singing solo, the character shines. He moved around a bit too much singing this uptempo song that his voice was shaky at times while his head voice was afloat between hit-and-miss. He tried to appear loose, but something’s tethering him back.)
3) Team Giring: Arden <Roxanne – The Police>
(The competition started here!! – snatching Randy Jackson’s catchphrase. Hehe. Giring took a risk choosing a song that might be unfamiliar to the audience’s ears although Arden totally nailed it. His husky voice is a keeper and he upped the game right there with the performance.)
4) Team Armand: Alf <Takkan pernah ada – Geisha>
(He took on one of Geisha’s hit songs whose chorus is embellished in high keys. It’s a relatively difficult song to be sung by a male, let alone since Momo’s voice is so distinct. The song’s arrangement stayed pretty much the same with minimal improvisation that was appreciated by the panel but sounded like a karaoke cover version to me.)
5) Team Glenn: Tiara <Tak ada logika – Agnes Monica>
(Great props to the arranger who did wonder to this rendition. I think it’s a great way to sing a popular song whose singer’s image and voice define it. Revamp it until it no longer sounds or feels like the original. It became Tiara’s song, started off with a toned down beat, switched into the original tunes in the middle, and into a couple other arrangements. Such mixing might be brilliant or befuddling – she even inserted a semi-rap lines! – but she successfully brought everyone to their feet. Well, at least she did the panel and me.)
6) Team Giring: Ayu Nanda <Mencintaimu – Krisdayanti>
(She didn’t give me chills this time though I could see she’s pouring her heart out. I think the song was bigger than her voice. She couldn’t lift the song to the poignant level she did Kapan lagi bilang I love you on previous round.)
7) Team Armand: Arro <Ada apa denganmu – Peterpan>
(Here comes the Indonesian Michael Bublé. And I LOVE Bublé. Arro’s deep voice is unlike Bublé’s, but he does feel like him. Again, I appreciate the brainy effort to turn this pop-rock smash-hit into a jazzy one, but it did sound Bublé-ish a bit too much. That isn’t necessarily bad, especially since Arro delivered it with such effortlessness – way to relaxed as noted by the coaches – but I hope he can find his own gear so he won’t forever be compared to Bublé.)
8) Team Sherina: Santi <If I were a boy – Beyoncé>
(The song arrangement, especially during the choruses, made it less balladry and ‘grand’. She struggled with the low keys on the verses and strained on the chorus’ high register. It didn’t culminate though it got tiring to hear. It might be too ambitious to belt a Beyoncé’s song without a ‘big’ powerful voice. Doesn’t mean that Santi doesn’t have it, but I think her voice better suits groovier songs.)
9) Team Sherina: Fredy <Summertime – George Gershwin>
(Now it’s Sherina turn to give her team member a song from a past era. An elaborate and difficult song indeed. Fredy sang it well but it might come across as old-fashioned and boring, this heavy, jazzy standard number.)
10) Team Armand: Dita <Kompor meleduk – Benyamin S>
(Again, I believe harmonica is her performances’ charm point although vocally she didn’t stand out. She went a bit overboard with her theatricality though it fitted the song perfectly. I agreed that she’s a great deliverer; I did wonder about my stove while watching her on stage.)
11) Team Glenn: Desy <Tak kuduga – Ruth Sahanaya>
(Her circus-conductor outrageous outfit aside, she delivered Tak kuduga well. She got the energy and attitude for this upbeat number.)
12) Team Giring: Billy <Beautiful – Cherrybelle>
(Who would’ve guessed or believed this touted soulful singer would take on a frivolous girlband’s song? Yes, it’s a catchy song with unexpectedly positive, uplifting lyrics, but it’s not something that’s been taken seriously. However, the fluff was curbed and although the melody was largely unchanged, Billy turned Beautiful into a meaningful track with depth.)
I won’t delve into vocals too much since everyone who makes it this far unquestionably has good voice and can sing. However, the challenge is beyond singing a song flawlessly yet karaoke-esque; can they up the game and bring the song into another level of spectacularity – feel it, mean it, own it. It’s like a difference between singer and one who’s able to sing. I’m no music pundit but even novices can tell if a performance was terrible, bad, fair, good, great, or outstanding. More or less.
This group arguably has better lineup than the next one, with top-batter contenders like Tiara, Agseisa, Dita, Billy – and almost everybody else, really – thus I bet this would be a tougher yet more exciting week to watch. Alas, only Arden and Tiara wowed me with their kicking performances; the last four’s were nifty, they missed a punch; the rest fell flat.
That being said, the result’s no longer solely hinged on quality alone. Whenever public opinion is involved, talent competition becomes popularity contest. The Voice Indonesia is no exception. Those with the highest number of votes are automatically safe, respective coaches would then determine the remaining two’s fate in the competition.
1) Team Armand: Alf, Arro, Dita
(I still think Alf was the weakest, but he was the first out to safety. This sent Armand into torn state – who to choose: the rookie jazzy boy who’s full of potential or the full-fledged bluesy woman who’s ready?)
2) Team Sherina: Agseisa, Fredy, Santi
(For me, Fredy’s performance was the most noteworthy, and the girls were on par. Agseisa was voted the first, so would the last man standing from Team Sherina make it to the next round? Sadly, the answer is no. He gave a memorable parting statement though: yes, it’s a competition, but they’re not competing against one another, but alongside one another.)
3) Team Giring: Arden, Ayu, Billy
(Two boys were neck and neck, yet the top spot was (again) snatched by the weaker performer of the team. Judging from the night’s performance alone, however, Arden deserved to go on.)
4) Team Glenn: Gilbert, Desy, Tiara
(The top batter was Tiara, hands down, who deservedly topped the team’s votes. I prefer Desy’s stage presence but like Gilbert’s tone better.)
*) Italic names proceeded to the next round.
The results were a bummer, not gonna lie. Public votes are always unpredictable, and I can see a clear pattern in the way the votes came in: well-known songs or familiar genre wins. That’s the only acceptable explanation as to why top vote-getters secured their places and the better voices were let go early. (Isn’t there something like a veto?). If this trend persists, riveting contestants will continue to tumble. Unless they – and their coaches – opt to go more contemporary on the following occasion.
Onto the Live Show itself… I actually like the setup. Diamond-shaped stage size is good – not too small or big, not too high or low – with interesting encasing audience seating arrangement that gives off a vibe that we’re here to watch a show, not merely performances. Aforementioned, the lighting plays are gorgeous, visuals are kinda cool, whereas camera work calls for improvement.
The first live show demands attention to the overall flow and technical aspects because insignificant as they may seem, the flubs are disturbing. Homework for the hosts is to prepare, prepare, and prepare, then to sync. I still don’t get the need for a co-host – Darius carries the show well solo – and ‘social-media room’ concept as both are underutilized. Main host made many tongue slips, like stumbled on the show’s title, mentioned the wrong coach’s names, and skipped Armand’s comment slot during Alf’s performance. Fortunately, both he and the panel played it cool and remained witty. Armand went on praising Alf when he’s supposed to comment on Tiara’s performance just because he missed the chance a few minutes earlier, and Darius intentionally meant to skip his slot for the second time just for fun. Or how they turned certain rage mimicry into a gag.
Editing is no exception. Clips weren’t timed and cut properly that some of them showed a split second of the next performer’s part. Since TVI’s reached the Live Show stage, the clips should be more of contestants’ back-stories. This is probably the first time many viewers tune in for the show and get to know the contestants. Thus, while snippets of previous performances are necessary, jamming session that’s sort of spoilery isn’t. I want to be surprised, and the rehearsal clip spilled the highlight. Keep such information for a later stage.
In total, Live Show week 1 lasted for 3.5 hours – 1.5 hours lengthier than preceding off-air episodes. The length of commercial breaks is reasonable, comments are short and concise, and the results are announced quickly. Well, this episode crammed in twelve performances and a result show so such duration is understandable though it can be compressed further still. Get the contestants to sing an abridged version for now, for example, and airtime may be cut by a quarter.
Aaand… recapping a full 3.5 hour performances is tiring and time-consuming. See how long this post is, and the amount of time it took me to put this up. Here I divide this tedious post into sections for those who prefer not to read certain parts. I doubt anyone’s reading every word I write here anyway. So I’ll probably not discuss performance by performance in the next commentary but dive straight into it and do an overall review instead. Sounds good, yes?
We’ll get another 12 contenders next Sunday and hopefully public does them more justice. For those who’re still disappointed to bid their favorites goodbye, Glenn’s wise statement can be a consolation: it’s the oeuvre after TVI that’s worth waiting for. What’s the point if they stop ‘existing’ and will only be remembered as Talent-show A/B/C contestant – or worse, Talent-show A/B/C winner?