This week, Clash of the Cover Bands pays tribute to Show Stoppers. Two acts will go head to head with the victor winning $10,000 and a chance to appear on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
tWitch hosts the series. Adam Lambert, Ester Dean and Meghan Trainor sit on the judges panel.
This week’s theme is “Showstoppers” as in artists who only go by ONE NAME. For Meghan, a “show stopping” performance is one that gives her chills all over her body. She adds “It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to become a performer.”
The show stopper round features tributes to two divas: Cher and Tina Turner.
All the way from Sweden…it’s Cher
The first performer, Annika Weaver is Swedish and pays tribute to Cher. At 16 she fell in love with “her artist.” At 22 she took off for Hollywood. She couldn’t make money from music. Eventually she got married. When her son turned 13, she entered the tribute business. She’s only performed as Cher ONCE.
The makeup and costuming is pretty good. She doesn’t sound like her much. And the Swedish accent keeps creeping in!. But she’s got the late 90’s “Turn Back Time” look down pat. Too bad it’s such a boring performance. Meghan thinks Annika looks “amazing” an that she embodied Cher vocally. But perhaps she could use help on her “presence.” She has no charisma. Not sure a coach can help with that.
Adam mentioned singing in front of Cher (When he sang “Believe” at the Kennedy Center Honors). Adam compliments her comfort on stage, but mentions that the “gays are really specific” when it comes to Cher impersonators. He thinks she needs to learn a few more trademark “Cher-isms.” So the panel is pairing her with the movement expert. “Just to give you that extra dose of stage presence,” he says.
Amazon worker by day, Tina Turner on the weekends
Next, it’s Lori Mitchell Gay who covers Tina Turner every weekend. In contrast to Annika, Lori has been impersonating Tina for over 20 years. And she started the act on a whim. Somebody asked her if she could do it, and she took it as a challenge. Right now, she’s a “warehouse worker packing packages.” Probably Amazon. Also, she has two daughters.
She doesn’t look as much like Tina as Annika resembles Cher. And she doesn’t sound like Tina either. But she’s got the stage movements down pretty pat as she sings Tina’s “The Best.” Although, she’s got a bit of a “drunk sailor” thing going on up there.
Meghan calls her perfect, saying she “left everything up on the stage.” Adam compliments Lori for studying Tina and getting all her mannerisms and stage movements. “Tina doesn’t think about anything, she just does it,” Adam says. Ester declares herself a Tina fan, so she has some pointers. She wants to send Lori to the vocal expert to help her bring some grit to her singing performance.
Cher and Tina meet the Experts
Annika meets with movement expert, choreographer Ray Leeper, who has actually worked with Cher. Lori works with vocal expert Kuk Herrel. She explained that she lost her voice trying to sound raspy like Tina. Kuk helps her add grit to her voice with a slight alteration. He also feels she needs work on her enunciation.
Ray puts Annika through the paces teaching her “Cher-isms.” He makes her do the movements over and over again, until she shows conviction. Her confidence is a problem. She needs some swagger. A short session with Ray will probably not be enough.
Cher and Tina Battle in front of the judges
Round three features the tributes battling in front of the judges, trading off snippets of their artist’s biggest hits.
Cher sings “I Found Someone,” followed by Tina singing “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” Next, Cher performs “Strong Enough,” followed by “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina. Next, Cher sings “Believe” and then Tina performs “River Deep, Mountain High.”
Meghan gushes over the improvements the tributes made with help from the experts. Lori’s vocal performance improved, but Annika still seemed stilted, like she’s thinking OK HERE’S WHERE I THROW IN THE ROCK HANDS.
Adam notes that he’s a fan of both Cher and Tina. He loves Lori’s “fire” and appreciates the work she has put into studying Tina. Adam calls Annika “gorgeous” and “stunning.” He says, “I saw those extra little moves…I’m picky about my Cher! GAY! That’s how we get our gay card!”
The Judges’ Decision
“You are never too old to do what you love, to inspire,” says Adam before the judges choose Lori Mitchell Gay as Tina Turner as the winner of the round.
Of course. Lori has been performing her Tina tribute for 20 years. Annika for like…a week? A gulf separated the two singers in terms of stage presence and confidence. The casting folks couldn’t find an experienced Cher impersonator? Or maybe they felt the newbie angle was charming. In any case, Annika got crushed.
Next week: Country dudes aka Tim McGraw vs Keith Urban.
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