Here we go again.
This past fall, as many of my diehard fans already know, I wrote a scathing review of NBC’s The Sing Off, an a capella spin-off of the classic reality singing competition. While I admit that I gradually came to appreciate the vocal intricacies and creativity of a capella, The Sing Off as a whole was subpar.
However, with another new year comes newfound opportunities; therefore, I decided to give the network one last chance. Instead of sticking with a more conventional singing show, NBC opted for a second season of last year’s spring lineup, The Voice.
The Voice differs from any other television singing contest in the fact that contestants are, at least early on, based solely on the quality of their voices. The four judges– Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Christina Aguilera– sit with their backs turned to the contestants for their “blind” auditions so as to remain unbiased to their physical appearances. During the performance, if the judge wants to coach that singer and add them to their “team”, then they turn around to see what the singer looks like.
The best part about this new method is it eliminates any unfair physical biases. Where on other singing shows, beautiful women and hunky heartthrobs tend to go farther than their voices would otherwise warrant, The Voice stays true to its title; as a singing contest, they search for the best singers, regardless of how they appear.
To add to that, The Voice doesn’t discriminate against certain types of artists either. For example, over the course of the season, the show has featured aspiring Indy-alternative artist Lindsey Pavao, opera stud Chris Mann, emcee Moses Stone, former Mickey Mouse Club member Tony Lucca and many others. The drastically different styles make judging a challenge, but it makes the show original and sets it apart from other singing competitions.
My only complaint: audience voting. The goal of The Voice is to find America’s next vocal sensation– how can that happen if America never gets to vote? Granted, as semi-finalists and finalists emerge, voters have more influence, but until that point, the decisions are almost entirely in the hands of the judges.
Aside from the voting dilemma, The Voice has proven its worth as the superior television singing competition not only for its high level of talent, but maybe more so for its dedication to finding a true vocal star.