Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to Reality: The Voice

Last fall I wrote about how I was supremely bored with reality television and had stopped watching many of my favorites, including my beloved The Amazing Race. That may be changing, as I am absolutely giddy about The Voice. It remains to be seen whether this love will blossom or fizzle, but I’m eager to see what happens tonight.

The singing competition is an import from Holland and has a few innovative features. Instead of judges, there are four coaches: Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. In the first round, the coaches pick teams that will then compete in later rounds. The auditions in this phase are blind. The coaches, sitting on rotating chairs, hear the contestants perform and decide if they like them enough to press a button and turn around during the performance. If only one judge turns, the singer joins their team. If more than one judge turns, the singer gets to pick which coach they prefer to work with. If no one turns, the contestant does not move on.

Throughout the competition, the coaches will work with the singers to develop their talent, eventually sending only the best to compete against the other teams. In the (final) live performance phase, the television audience will vote to save one contestant on each team, leaving the coach to decide who they want to save and who will not move on. Finally, one contestant from each coach’s team will compete in the finale.

Really, they had me at blind auditions. I loved the concept from the first I heard of it. One of the biggest flaws in the judging of American Idol was both Simon’s and Paula’s tendency to be swayed by a contestant’s looks. I also love that the coaches can’t just give bland positive feedback; they have to actually commit to the singers. And, unlike American Idol, these contestants have actually been screened for talent, so there are no “bad” auditions.

What has been really interesting is watching the judges during the auditions and seeing the decision play across their face. Does this person really have a unique talent? Does it make sense for me to work with them? If I don’t turn, will I be sorry? If I do, will I be sorry?

And, of course, one gets to play along: What would make me turn? Why are they taking so long? Who is Blake Shelton and why have I never known about this man? Why is Christina Aguilera ending up with such a bad team? What the hell is Carson Daly doing on this show?

These and other questions may be answered tonight (Tuesday) at 9pm on NBC.

John Marcher, I hope you are watching this.


John Marcher said...

Hi Sylvie,

A friend recommended I check this out and I saw it last night. Your take on it is spot on- Christina's team is the weakest. I too, like the format but the show I saw last night really dragged at times and in some some ways it has this kind of "I'm not hot enough to make it on Idol, but I can make it here" vibe.

I do like the lack of age restrictions on the upper end and the diverse group of coaches, though Blake (I've never heard of him befor either)seems to be compiling an all-country team which I think I'll grow tired of.

Also, I have no idea who Carson Daly is or how he ended up hosting the show but, good lord, he's a terribly boring, banal host.

But yeah, I'm in- and so far I like Adam's team the best.

Sylvie said...

John (sorry for the initial misspelling, which is doubly sad when you know it's also my brother's name),

Carson Daly was on MTV (Total Request Live) forever and I sort of hoped he had gone away. Alas, it was not be. He's sort of innocuous here so I wonder what role he will play once the auditions are over.

For now I prefer Adam's team, but it will be interesting to see how everything rounds out tonight.

La Maratonista (AKA Jenni) said...

I have to say, I never really watched American Idol (at least not beyond watching performances on the Internet to keep up with office gossip) because I found it pretty boring and too much of a popularity contest. This, however, I really like! The judges actually know what they're talking about, and they've all got their own unique qualities that make them qualified to help bring that out in these singers. Can't wait to see what happens next!

And yes, Carson needs to go away. Blake Shelton and Adam Levine can stick around though. :)