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The Voice stinks up NBC

The Voice (US) poster

Written by : published Wednesday 27th April 2011

Please click here to watch The Voice online.


     NBC launched its answer to FOX's American Idol last night The Voice. The Voice is a singing competition where four "coaches" listen to singers with their backs turned, then chose who they would like on their team. If more than one coach chooses the singer, then the performer gets to pick which coach they would like to work with. The Voice's coaches are all professional musicians, and the freshman run's lineup consists of "F*** You"'s Cee Lo Green, pop princess Christina Aguilera, country crooner Blake Shelton, and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine. The show is hosted by late night talker Carson Daly.  Like Idol and many American competition shows, this series is adapted from a foreign television program.

     The Voice's format for this first round is to introduce a singer, giving viewers a back story, and then let them perform. This is a direct knockoff of American Idol, who does roughly the same thing. As such, the back story segment is stale and unoriginal, bogging down the pacing of the singing competition. While audiences do like to know a bit about the people they watch, showing these stories in the early episodes, before fans have chosen who to support, is unnecessary. The bits shown now will be forgotten as the season goes on. It would be smarter to save the looks at the singers' lives for later rounds. This is something Idol does not do, so it would further distinguish the two programs.

     Another element similar to Idol is how nice the coaches are to the contestants that they do not like. Simon Cowell alone is truthful and blunt, while other Idol judges are not. This is a serious weakness for Idol. Even though it has maintained ratings this year, that will not last. It is dreadfully boring to only hear sweet comments. If a coach does not like a singer, they should just say so. Further mistakes were made by showing coaches' tweets during last night's televised airing, certain ones of which gave encouragement for ousted singers. If not one of the four coaches chose the singer because of their voice. it is not likely the public will hear from them again, so don't lie and say so.

     The coaches themselves can see each other, both when backs are turned, and when some have spun around. As such, it is not really a blind judging, as it claims to be. All four coaches show that they are taking each others' opinions into account by pushing or not pushing their button while glancing at their peers. For this show to truly work, it would be better if the coaches were in isolation. Simple dividers between the chairs could easily be put up and lowered at will. It would not impede the show, but actually bolster its conceit.

     Finally, the home audience is cheated by seeing the singers as they perform. The entire point of The Voice is that the competitors are judged on singing ability alone. Yet, while the coaches cannot see what the contestants look like, the viewers can. To truly experience that voice-only aspect, cameras should stay on the coaches, at least until one coach turns around and sees the singer. Little effort would be needed for this small and very beneficial change.

     Without some tweaks, The Voice is as not worth watching as this season of American Idol. Should you decide to watch, tune in to NBC Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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