Friday, May 6, 2011

Singing Blind

Because I seem to spend my days doing nothing but playing armchair quarterback for American Idol, I've had a couple people ask me about NBC's The Voice. Since it appears to be law that you cannot not watch this show (based on the intense marketing campaign that I swear seemed to include ads on my toilet paper in addition to every 20 seconds during NBC's other programming), I set the DVR to record it.

Outside of American Idol (and The Sing Off... and an embarrassing flirtation with American Juniors one summer), I've never really watched most of the other "talent-based" reality shows. I've never watched So You Think You Can Dance (that screamy woman they show on The Soup all the time freaks me out), was quickly bored by America's Got Talent (no, they really don't), and barely made it through an episode of Paula Abdul's Live to Dance. I tend to find a lot of those shows a little dull, to be honest. The format is always the same; you can always predict who will make it and who won't. It's actually more shocking that I am so devoted to American Idol considering how my attention is so frequently lost while watching other talent shows.

But I was too intrigued by the notion of The Voice to not at least give it a try. It probably helped that the celebrity judges including Christina Aguilara and Cee-Lo. I love them. Adam Levine is adorable. It surely surprises no one that I was completely unfamiliar with Blake Shelton prior to this, but he seemed appealing enough in the ads. Once the sneak preview aired before SNL a couple weeks ago that featured the celebrity judges performing "Crazy", I was pretty much in for at least a sampling.

I have to say I've enjoyed what I've seen so far. The blind aspect of the auditions is intriguing -- although no one that made it to the next level seems to be particularly trollish, just maybe lacking in some performance skills. I enjoyed the suspense of whether or not a judge would push a button to claim a singer. I liked the battling amongst the celebrities to get a certain performer on his/her team. Carson Daly seems likable enough backstage with the families. The question for me becomes how the show continues on now that the gimmick stage is over. From now on, it's not just going to be about the voices, right? As the performers go into a sort of musical boxing ring to battle to keep their spots on their teams, will judges have their backs to them still? After mentoring these people, won't the judges recognize the voices they're hearing? Won't personality start coming into play now that the judges know them?

Adding to my concerns is this article that details the very non-amateur pasts of a lot of the singers (including the presence of TWO American Juniors veterans...WEIRD!). Part of the joy of American Idol is the idea of these kids being plucked from obscurity to become superstars. American Idol is the place where paint salesmen can become recording artists. I worry that The Voice may just be the place to go when your contract with MCA expires.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sticking with the show if only to see how it all plays out...and because I think Adam Levine is cute. (And honestly, Blake Shelton is not completely unattractive either. But Carson Daly looks like the Crypt Keeper's little brother Chip. Just saying, Carson, that a burger might not be a bad idea once in a while.)

PS -- I have to say I'm thrilled to see Frenchie Davis as a contestant on this show, but I can't help but think the producers are setting her up for another epic fall in the ongoing tragedy that is Frenchie's life. The Greeks couldn't write stuff this potent, man!

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