The Voice: Jumping on the Bandwagon

Look, you guys! A musical talent show that’s actually about finding musical talent! I finally checked out The Voice last night to see what all the hubbub's about, and judge Adam Levine summed up my initial feelings best when he said, “I was confused and a little bit scared.” Sure, he was talking about a contestant, but I understood where he was coming from on the broader scale. The four judges for The Voice: Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton have certain expectations when a contestant takes the stage for one of the blind auditions. They scan the audience’s response and they listen to whether or not the potential superstar behind their nifty swivel chairs is wearing sneakers or heels (and based on their apparent assumption that heels equals female, I desperately want them to get a faceful of man one of these days).

I have certain expectations when it comes to anything based on anything that Simon Cowell had a hand in creating, even if the relationship is largely tangential. American Idol begat The X-Factor begat The Voice. American Idol has been a joke for the past few seasons and, well, The X-Factor has always been a joke, so it’s only natural that The Voice is utterly terrible. It’s like reverse evolution, right? Devolution!

Except, apparently, we’ve ended up missing a link somewhere.

I kept waiting for Christina Aguilera to substitute sloppy sobbing for constructive criticism or Adam Levine to throw Cee Lo Green’s (adorably fluffy!) kitty across the stage or for one of the contestants to have a toddler-esque meltdown on stage that would end up being either hilarious (like X-Factor’s Astro) or awwwwwkward (a la X-Factor’s Drew). I was not expecting to watch a talent show with actual talent being judged by enormously talented artists, all well respected by their genres and the music industry as a whole, judges who give a rejected contestant actual feedback, free of a patented and Twitter-friendly Simon Cowell zinger or some vague non-answer like, “I just wasn’t feeling it.” I had a professor in a beginning photography class who loved to dish out harsh grades and justify them with, “oh kids, art is subjective.”

Art is subjective, but instruction is not. Singers who are rejected from The Voice are sent on their way with good-hearted, constructive, helpful feedback that will provide them with a steady foundation to continue their musical careers. No one who attends a blind audition for The Voice is bad. In fact, quite a few of the rejected performers are quite good... they just aren’t phenomenal.

My only real concern is the running time for each episode. I understand that the blind auditions are special and that once we enter Battle Royale mode, each episode will crunch back down to a mere sixty minutes, but in the meantime, two hours of straight-up auditions is a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take endless auditions in an audition episode over the glorified infomercials that pass for entertainment on those other two Star Search surrogates, but it’s just... I think I was drooling a little bit at the end there, and not because I’m jealous of Adam Levine’s sweet ink.



Phenomenal Factors:

– Oh hey, Carson Daly! Between Carson, Christina, and Adam, it’s like The Voice is channeling my inner late-'90s middle-schooler. I feel simultaneously like a kid again and like a decrepit crone.

– “I love Cee Lo’s cat” appears on three different occasions in my notes on this episode. So, uh... I love Cee Lo’s cat.

– The lack of over-the-top sob stories is refreshing. It keeps the focus on the music. That’s not to say that there aren’t any sob stories: Erin Willett’s father is dying of pancreatic cancer and James Massone is trying to rise above a violent past. But at no point was I under the impression that these contestants were picked for their dramatic backstories, or their ability to burst into tears on cue, or their potential clashability with other stars. I feel like I’m watching something for adults. You know, cool adults.


Have you guys been watching The Voice? How do you think it compares to The X Factor and American Idol?

Comments (19)
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Feb 15, 2012
i actually hate this season, reason being i think christina made the auditions very competetive and uncomfortable. She is stealing singers who she doesnt belong with simply cause she is trying to steal blake (dia) and adam (javier) strategy from last season. Even the judges seem very uncomfortable. And you have the picture of the 23 yr old guy. Adam actually said he might of pushed his button at the end but didn't cause he just didnt want to deal with it. And he keeps saying he doesnt like it when the judges try to push singers on each other when they dont turn their button. AND the voices this season suck compared to last season. The only one this season that made me go WOW cause of their VOICE not their interpretation of a song but their VOICE was the girl i think erin was her name with her dad with cancer. She was the only one with a great voice.



But overall i think christina's vanity is what pisses me off the most. you can see her watching other coaches who turned around trying to see if they are good looking based on the judges reactions. i cant stand that. She just ruined the comradare of the judges of last season. I hate her sense of humor and shes ugly.
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Feb 15, 2012
i meant Adam said he didnt want to deal with the fighting and the insults from judges like christina and i dont blame him. She is very negative every time she campaigns. and just the fact she keeps calling adam a seller when thats exactly what she is doing the whole time frustrates me.
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Feb 15, 2012
I like the Voice better than Idol and X-factor. The Judges are nice, and always give constructive criticism, and they refer to the contestants as artists, and not as having the "x-factor" or the "it" factor, 'cause lets face it, that doesn't really exist (and as you pointed out, is a matter of opinion).



But mostly I just like seeing Carson Daly jump up and down with the family when a chair turns around, instead of just standing there watching. So adorable!
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Feb 15, 2012
American Idol is by far the Best, The Voice and X-Factor simply blow
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Feb 15, 2012
I caught the show last week by accident, it seemed fine enough, but I am bored easily by singing auditions in general, long before Idol hit the scene even. Lots of people can sing very well, but watching some people listening to other people sing is excruciatingly dull for even 1 song. There's no story, no drama, no underlying theme, no anything. At least The Voice is trying to be honest about that, but the entertainment value for a show like this is always going to be with the vapid, nasty, thoughtlessness that one finds on... well, on Fox.
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Feb 15, 2012
This show is so much better than Idol. I feel like the coaches truly care about helping the artists and you can tell they're having fun out there. Idol relies too much on overly dramatic sob stories and forced drama (falling off stages and Contagion: American Idol) which becomes extremely off putting.
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Feb 15, 2012
when i first saw cee-lo's cat i lol'ed, after about 3 minutes i was gushing over how cute it was(it was soooo cuuute you guuuys...)
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Feb 15, 2012
I have loved the Voice since day one! Knowing it's the voice, not the look that counts is so refreshing! I love seeing the coaches(not judges!) faces when they turn their chairs. These superstars are personally investing in the artists on their team. If the Voice had come first, Idol would never had stood a chance.
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Feb 15, 2012
I watch this mainly to see the interacting between Blake and Adam. They entertain me more than the singers do. I laugh out loud a lot at their banter and the zingers they throw over to Christina. Most of the perfomances don't do a lot for me but like last year I am sure I will root for people that Adam and Blake select. For some reason they seem to pick ones that after time grow on my while the other two don't.
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Feb 15, 2012
Cee Lo Should be the next Bond villain.
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Feb 15, 2012
They could call him Tiny Hands. Seriously. Have you seen his hands? It is like that BK commercial!
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Feb 15, 2012
Yea it kind of weirds me out. His arms in general are tiny. In relation to his body coupled with his fashion sense, it makes him kind of look like a cartoon character. In fact if I was him I would make a cartoon out of myself.
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Feb 15, 2012
That is because it is really weird. When he does anything with his hands, I think he is part midget.
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Feb 15, 2012
: shoots self :

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Feb 15, 2012
The Voice is awesomely bad. It's entertaining and yet you almost end up ashamed of yourself for indulging in another one of those musical talent tv shows. The bantering between the judges is amusing and entertaining because it's so real. You don't get the sense that they're reading cue cards or deliberately trying to have funny zingers, they're just a batch of artist who have become so friendly that they chill in their little chairs like their at home sitting on the couch and trash talk each other like normal people do. The blind auditions are awesome because no preconcieved thoughts until after the chair turns around and the audition is mostly over. Almost every singer shown is mediocre, good, or great so none of that silly stuff where they exploit the delusional and crappy singers for ratings. It's just fun. And yes..they actually walk away with feedback and constructive criticism. Plus...Adam Levine is fun to stare at and Cee-Lo is so unbelievably funny and has a cat that makes me laugh everytime I see him petting it.
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Feb 15, 2012
So why is it bad then? Just because of the genre?
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Feb 15, 2012
Maybe I am reading it wrong, but Simon Cowell has nothing to do with "The Voice". It's created by Endemol (The original is called "The Voice of Holland".
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Feb 15, 2012
I watched this one last season, and am hooked again. I really enjoy The Voice. I am not watching Idol at all. I love the way The Voice handles everything, in that, votes are limited to a few per household, so screaming pre-teens (tweens - whatever) can't vote for the contestant they think is the dreamiest, but they vote purely for the more talented artist. As well as the judges having a large portion of control on that. It is a show where the people that win have talent, and the ability to actually make it out there. I admit, in the past I was quite skeptical of the judges, but more and more every day they show that they really know how to make it, and how to teach people to harness and use their talent.
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Feb 15, 2012
exactly what tv needs another singing competition... greattttttttt. spare me!
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