Last week, the third installment of The Voice’s battle rounds took place. Out of the five battles, Sera Hill and Lindsey Pavao from Team Christina, Kim Yarbrough from Team Adam, Charlotte Sometimes and Juliet Simms from Team Blake, and Jamar Rogers from Team Cee Lo emerged victorious and advanced to the live show.
The winning singers recently took part in a conference call with various press outlets to discuss what they learned from their advisors during their battle round, advice for artists that are unsure about moving forward in their career, and if they thought the song selections assigned to them during their battle round gave them an advantage over their competitor.
Does competing against other talented singers in this competition make you nervous, or does the competition aspect enhance your performance?
Juliet Simms: I would say that everybody in this competition is so unique and so different, and it’s kind of like you have to just stick to who you are as an artist and as an individual. And just hold onto that to not make you nervous, and just stay true to who you are. Because everybody is so talented and it’s easy to get nervous and it’s easy to be like, “Well, that person is better than me, because they can do this.” But as long as you remain who you are and stay true to who you are, I think that makes it a little bit easier not to get nervous.
Charlotte, there’s probably several front runners in this group, yourself included. Do you guys have any semblance of that? Do you have sort of any idea of who’s up, who’s down, or how sort of isolated are you guys from the outside media right now?
Charlotte Sometimes: I mean, I think we’re all pretty isolated. We were just talking about this before. We try not to lean on the negative comments or those comments. So it’s more to see, at least for me, you know, who is the front runner. Music and voices are so subjective, as well as personality. So I think ultimately, I have no idea what’s going to happen.
I was wondering if you guys could talk a little about what your guest advisors taught you that you’ll take with you.
Sera Hill: I definitely took from Jewel that when you sing and you’re performing, you definitely have to remember the emotion. And it’s not about who can power sing and out sing. It’s just about the emotion and being authentic. And Jewel definitely told me to remember that.
Kim Yarbrough: Robin Thicke, who I really admire and I am a fan, said to me, “You know, you have to get into the brokenness of the lyrics of the song.” And for the first time, that sent me on a path to discovering how that song related to me. And in the end I realized, oh my God, this song is about me [and] what I’ve lived in my life.
And I think that just made it that much more poignant for me. So that was a perfect comment coming from Robin. And I think it helped me a great deal.
Charlotte Sometimes: I’m such a big fan of Kelly Clarkson. I think she’s so awesome. She really just taught me like, when we had our moment together when it wasn’t shown on TV, but we had this moment where we [were] both crying and talking about just other people’s opinions about us. And our bodies. I was anorexic all growing up and when my first record came out everyone was kind of like trashing me and calling me fat and all these things.
And it was really tough on me, and she just kind of really made me feel comfortable in my skin. And just gave me confidence and just made me feel like it was okay to be myself and that was good enough. And I’m just so thankful that I got to have that conversation with her.
Lindsey Pavao: What Lionel Richie kind of taught me is that, well, I’m either like really straight-faced and quiet or I’m probably crying. Those are my two phases. And so when I got on stage, I was a pretty underwhelming performer. So I think with Lionel Richie and Christina, it was about finding some sort of medium.
For me, I think it was about learning how to emote and express to people and connect with them and make them feel something.
Juliet Simms: Ne-Yo basically just told me – he said that getting to know me in the short time he got to, he saw that I put out who I am and I laid all my cards down on the table. Pretty much right when you meet me or when you talk to me or whenever I’m on stage, he saw that I draw from my emotions when I sing.
He taught me a good lesson in holding back, holding it all back and not giving everything away all at the beginning. Because then it doesn’t leave anything for people to, you know, look forward to. He really taught me about leaving something for people to learn about you or look forward to. That’s what he pretty much told me. He also called me a unicorn, so I learned in a session that I’m a mystical creature. That was pretty interesting.
Jamar Rogers: Meeting Ne-Yo, you know, he’s one of the most prolific songwriters of my generation. And to have him say that I could possibly be unstoppable, there’s just no greater accolade [than] that.
He told me to just make sure I guide and will emotions in a positive way and not be so technical, because I do have a tendency to think about every note and dissect it. And last night, it wasn’t technically – I could have done better. What I’m trying to say is that I got the emotion across and that to me is the most important part. So I really appreciate Ne-Yo for even taking the time to deal with us minions.
What advice do you have for other people who are struggling with either giving up or they’re facing their own adversities or even opposition from family and friends who try to discourage that? What advice can they take home from you?
Jamar Rogers: All right, I just want to say that you never know. You just never know what’s right around the corner. And I just don’t believe in the word can’t. I’ve been told no so many times. I’ve met with labels, I’ve had the door slammed in my face so many times. And I just remember going into The Voice just kind of saying, you know, I’m just going to do this. If this isn’t it, then screw it. I should really do something practical.
And for me, I’m just so happy I didn’t quit. I’m not trying to be a saint when I say my goal, my number one priority is not to win this show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very competitive and I would love to win. But I’ve already won, because I’ve gotten to tell people my heart. And I’ve changed what my goal is. It’s not just to make the name of Jamar Rogers great, who gives a flip about Jamar Rogers.
There are so many people that are hurting out there, whether it’s the economy or just bad relationships, eating disorders. There are people that have real life issues out there that [go] beyond Keeping up with the Kardashians.
You know, there are people that really need someone to really identify with and if I get to be that guy for people, then oh my God, I’ve won. I just want to let people know, do not give up. You never know when your moment’s going to happen. You never know when your time’s going to come and if you give up, you might miss out on the best opportunity of your life.
Kim Yarbrough: I believe it was Patti LaBelle’s father that told her, “Patti, if you sing long enough and loud enough, somebody is going to pay attention.” For those people in the industry that want to make it big, that want to fulfill their dreams, I believe they’re two types of entertainers in this business. There’s the type that need to do it and there are the types that like to do it. I think all of us are the types that need to do it.
It’s in our blood, we wake up thinking about it, we go to sleep thinking about it, and if that’s the case, you just got to keep going, because there’s something in you every day driving you to get up and do it.
But I think for those two groups you have to decide which type of performer you are. Do you need to do it? If you do, don’t believe the hype and keep going. If you can take it or leave it and you’re going to be happy no matter what; go do something else.
Jamar, after your battle performance Adam basically flagellated himself for not having responded o you during the blind audition round. How did it feel to have this praise coming now? Was it too little too late or was it affirming?
Jamar Rogers: It’s never too little too late. Let me just say that. It’s never too little too late to get some affirmation. You know, I’m so appreciative of him saying that. And I remember standing up there and just saying to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe this is happening right now.”
But you have to understand when I went home after the blind audition; I got the coach I wanted. I didn’t go home and cry, “Oh, why didn’t I get four chairs?” No. If I had gotten all four chairs, I would still be with the coach that I’m with today.
I felt like it was a very good hearty pat on the back, but I made an allegiance to Team Red Zone. I told Cee Lo that if he would keep me that I would take him all the way.
Some of the viewers felt that maybe the pairings may have been one-sided in the battle round, in particular with the song selection. How do you feel about that? Do you guys think that you were given an advantage by the show?
Charlotte Sometimes: I think that there isn’t an unfair advantage. I mean, at the end of the day, this is a competition and like, we all love each other, but we all want to win. And there really isn’t such a thing as an underdog. We’re both given the same opportunities. We both are given moments to shine. And it’s just kind of like sometimes somebody has a better day than somebody else.
Kim Yarbrough: I don’t envy the coaches during this part of the show from choosing and agonizing who they want to put together on their teams to having to choose between one or the other in the battle round and keep one and send one home.
I just believe it’s hard all the way around, all the way down the line for the coaches. And you know, at the end of the day, I think it’s who brings it.
Lindsey, I wanted to congratulate you for selling the most on iTunes this year on The Voice? Are you thinking about your shows already for the live show?
Lindsey Pavao: Yes, I already have a couple of songs. And after watching the battles, I’m just motivated to sing much better, but I’m not going to change what I do.
I think I’ve kind of decided how I want to go into this competition and I want to keep working with the songs and trying not to change them, but make them honest to myself. So that’s what I’m going to go with. And thank you. I think that the iTunes thing is awesome.
Kim, have you thought all along that your age has worked in your favor, performance-wise, or are you a little nervous competing with people that are a little younger?
Kim Yarbrough: No, I don’t get nervous about that, because I don’t feel 50. I don’t think I look 50. I don’t think it matters.
It’s not something I think about when I go out on stage. “Oh my God, I’m 50,” I just don’t think that. What I’m thinking about when I go out on stage is how can I best serve this song? How can I tap into the audience’s souls? How can I tap into their minds with this song?
And when the song selection was made, I was very happy about it, because it was a song I was very familiar with. It’s not something I had sung before, but I’d heard it on the radio a million times. And I thought, “Great, this is something that I’m familiar with.” So I did have to learn the song, but I was glad he chose that. And I love R&B so much. It was just the perfect choice.
Jamar, at the end of your performance with Jamie, there was such an outpouring of emotion. Can you tell me a little bit about how you guys felt, about your friendship, and where all that emotion was coming from?
Jamar Rogers: The win was just super bittersweet. Like, in fact, I believe I started crying on stage, which I do not advocate, which I would have never planned that in a million years. I started crying on stage, and what they actually edited out was about 15 more minutes of me crying backstage.
It was just so many emotions all at once. One, I was really proud of Jamie. You don’t understand. Jamie has an incredible story a lot of people don’t know about. I mean, I’ll let him touch on that, but he has a great story himself.
And this was the first time he had sang, you know, he had been away from home, and the first time he had sung on such a big stage. I was overcome with pride for him. I felt like a proud dad. So, I was crying because of that.
I was crying because Cee Lo said the most amazing words to me. You know, when you’re listening to someone, you’re buying their albums, you’re cyberstalking them on YouTube and stuff, you never think in a million years that they will actually be the ones that affirm you.
He didn’t just affirm my artistry; he affirmed my character. So that’s another reason I started crying. And then, you know, I’ve made so many bad decisions and there have been so many bad outcomes from those decisions that I actually made one good decision. And I was actually able to just enjoy the consequence of a good decision. It was too much.
I didn’t go into it thinking it was going to be uber-emotional. It just kind of happened that way. I love Jamie Lono. I will support everything he does. He is all right in my book. I just want to say that.
The battles continue on The Voice next Monday, March 26 at 8 p.m. on NBC.