During last night's Tony Awards, a friend mutter-tweeted about the genre of movies-turned-into-musicals, where some results are brilliant and others "rely on spectacle & giant showy numbers & maybe nostalgia
." It came to mind as I was mulling over a comment someone had made about the Mika-Whitney duet I linked to in my previous entry -- that of the coach-finalist duets Mika had participated in over the years, this was the one with which he seemed most engaged.
It certainly is the finest acting-storytelling I recall seeing him do. It helps that the song works really well as a duet -- and that it hasn't been done to death on the show. I am as guilty of loving the familiar as much as most fans, and there was an article making the rounds after the Voice US finals that suggested (IIRC) that Voice judges and fans respond more instinctively to good covers than good originals since the show is largely cover-based. The French edition doesn't incorporate originals at all, other than riffs the contestants might work in during their blind auditions -- Drea Drury's Spanish rap in the middle of "Rude Boy" was a standout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rhw9OSYZUQ
Here's the thing: there are thousands
of good songs in French and English. The BYM and I have discussed before how, with covers, he wants them to be different enough from the original to be worth the listener's while, as opposed to making the listener simply wish they were listening to the original instead.
The Voice France cover of "L'Aigle Noir" has felt most right to me is Frederic Longbois's take in Season 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPQa88KK140
The song is a bit like "Send in the Clowns" -- the singer needs to be old enough for the yearning of the words
to make sense. In Frédéric's case it was also an inspired choice because it fit his voice well, Mika coached some pacing and restraint
into the delivery, and it provided an excellent contrast to the screwball presentation of "Bécassine": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ikkqhOLwA
In comparison, Mika and Kendji's duet
fails to move me (even though Kendji too went on to win the whole thing) -- their voices and faces don't convince me that they inhabit the world of regret that Barbara and Frédéric are familiar with. And this season, when Théophile Renier attempted it, I ended up recoiling from his smile. Dude, it's so not a happy song.
(Being a performer myself, I do get that some smiling happens involuntarily -- nervousness, ingrained habits of trying to connect with the audience, etc. [I have not managed to forget one scene from Madame Bovary
that I not once managed to get through without giggling, even though its over-the-top desperate declaration of love pulled at the same heartstrings that vibrate today in reaction to the Mika-Whitney duet] -- and sometimes it can't be helped, because of diction or other technical demands. That said, I was totally in agreement with Théophile getting axed that round.)
I was on edge when I read that Leona Winter was going to cover "Kid" during the KO round, because Yoann Casanova's take (with young Leo) last year knocked off my socks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2opBne9hCGA
But, because Leona is a drag queen, she and the scene designer were able to tell a different story than either Eddy or Casanova: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTnZ3jrgWoY
It's a hell of a song
. Voice France is my gateway to many songs in both English and French [I tend to become acquainted very late to most Top 40 tunes, with dancercise classes (Pound, Zumba, Dance Blast, Balletone, and the like) being my other main channel], and part of the fun is checking out the originals. In part because, good as the contestants are, it is at times very audibly clear how the coaches have more stage presence/awareness and more experience with interpretation. Sometimes the new voices/arrangements are more pleasing than the source (I can't say that I care for either Bon Iver or Birdy's versions), and sometimes they send me screaming back to the start. (Mano's audition with "Enter Sandman" was hilarious. His follow-up with "Beds Are Burning" was one of the worst second-round clips I've tried to listen to. It doesn't help, of course, that it was the favorite song of a college classmate and thus embedded deep enough in my emotional history that probably even a better singer would have little chance with me.)
All that said, the music that made me happiest yesterday afternoon? The tracks being played at Charming Charlie's at the mall, including Dagny's "Backbeat." (Praise the Lord for Shazam.)This entry was originally posted at https://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/153897.html.