During the rise and glory of American Idol, many fans and critics assumed that the American reality television singing competition, the Voice, would be yet another rip-off of its predecessors. However with its solo and duet contest, aspiring singers, heartwarming stories, and celebrity-induced judges, it is no wonder why America has fallen head over heals as America’s favorite show.
Broadcast on NBC, the concept of the series, like all musical talent competitions, is simple. It is meant to discover and find the new singing talent sensation that is to take America by storm. The musical competitors are popularized and voted by television viewers by telephone, Internet, or SMS text and the winner of the competition is to receive $100,000 US dollars and a recording deal with Universal Music Group.
While other competitions share the similar aspects of the Voice, the show begins with an unusual take by first judging the sound and talent of each competitors. Four judges are asked to first listen the competitor with their backs facing the crowd. If the sound and voice matches the interest and style of the artist, they are to push a button that turns their chairs to enjoy the rest of the performance. This take critiquing talent than looks has made viewers appreciate the vocal skills of the performer than the makeup and biases of what we perceive as a modern-day singer. To enhance the process, competitors are given the chance to choose from a variety of coaching panels that consist of musically successful artist in various fields ranging from country to hip-hop with selections such as Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Shakira, Usher, Pharrell Williams, and Gwen Stefani. In addition to individual coaching, these coaches provide small cameos from friends and international musical sensations like Taylor Swift to help cultivate the craft of these aspiring singers. These singers then go head-to-head with various musical competitions either duets or solos to win over both the crowd and their musical mentors.
Because of its judging distinctiveness and unique cover renditions, millions and millions of viewers have taken notice in making the Voice America’s favorite reality television musical compeitition show. For the first season, the Voice gained a vast amount of popularity reaching 11.78 million viewers. By season six, the Voice increased its viewership with 15.74 million viewers with catty back and forth comments from the judges and spectacular performances. While reaching season nine with 12.37 million viewers, the show itself is still continuously growing and evolving much like the music industry while still giving praises to the old classics.
So why does America love this show? What makes the Voice stand out over American Idol or America’s Got Talent?
To put it simply, it is NOT those reality shows. While quirky with its moments of the Adam and Blake banter and the Carson Daly, the Voice differentiates itself by finding true talent. As stated before, from the beginning of the season to the end, the competition judges simply by the talent and skill of the vocalist. They listen and embrace the cleverness that an artist takes on a song and judge how they are able to utilize their strengths and weaknesses for each performance. While the performance and overall stage presence plays a role in the long run, the talent is simply everything. The judges and the audience understand that low level auditions and untalented singers will not be chosen. However it is that idea that sets the Voice from the likes of American Idol or other shows. Going beyond that scope, the show encourage rather than dampens the dream of performer to continue trying and to practice and come back again. This sense of redemption is something that is unheard of and unseen from those other shows that leverage criticism and disapproval for higher ratings.
Now beyond the audience and performances, the sole definers and success triumphs greatly from the coaching and talents of the judges. These judges have not only succeeded in their fields, but are continuously looking to improve the music industry to this day. When they hear a performance, the judges are not swayed by by the beauty, image, or age of the person. Rather they are uplifted by the simple sound of the voice and the audience’s reactions.
While season nine is still continuing, I cannot wait to see, hear, and listen the next great thing that is to come from the Voice.