What Makes the Voice Better than American Idol?

NBC's "The Voice" Press Junket

When The Voice first premiered in April 2011, many people’s first reaction must have been “Oh God. Another singing show?” However, over the past three years, The Voice has turned into a cultural phenomenon, a reality competition that any fan, one who loves singing shows and even one who might not, can enjoy, and that’s because The Voice offers its audience so much more than the typical competition series. It has essentially become the new American Idol, the type of reality show that people constantly talk, text, and post on the internet about. The Voice took everything that Idol did in its early stages, copied it, and then improved upon it and is now, unarguably, the better of the two shows.  Here are five things that make The Voice better than American  Idol.

The judges.

The judges used to be one of the best parts about American Idol. You had Randy Jackson, who was the most level-headed and relaxed. Then there was Paula Abdul, who was always a little bit loopy and wacky. And then you had Simon Cowell, the nasty, hard-to-please British judge, who made even compliments sound somewhat mean. Over the years, the judges on Idol changed and really worsened, especially when they were signing up people like Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Ellen. Now, even with the new team of Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban, Idol still fails compared to the chemistry between the judges on The Voice. Christian Aguilera, Cee Lo Green (although he just recently left the show), Shakira, Usher, and the always consistent duo of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton ensure that the show is never boring, even when the contestants themselves might be.

The teams.

While American Idol is all about the individual star, The Voice is more about teamwork, at least in the initial rounds of the competition. Each judge on The Voice is a coach that can select members for his or her team. The members on these teams perform together (typically in duos) in “battle rounds” before members are eliminated, due to having the lowest number of votes. In addition to making contestants work together, having teams also allows the performers to get closer and form tighter bonds with their coaches, the judges, who, in a lot of cases, become pretty big mentors to these up-and-coming artists.

Song selection.

Unfortunately for American Idol, due to song rights issues, their contestants have a limited selection of songs to choose from, and many of them are outdated and some are quite obscure. Plus, a majority of them are songs that other contestants have performed in previous seasons. The Voice, on the other hand, has a much wider selection of songs (which also costs more money) that features fresh new hits from today’s artists and old-school classics that you would never have expected to hear. It’s a good mix that allows for viewers to enjoy what they are truly watching both of these shows for: the music.


American Idol auditions used to be a form of sick humor for people, a cruel joke that millions of Americans would watch together and then keep laughing about the next day at work. However, over the years, as the Idol auditions just got meaner and meaner and more over-the-top, they became the least interesting and least enjoyable part of the show. It seemed like the judges would always pick on individuals’ appearances and come up with judgments about them before they even sang. The Voice, on the other hand, has thrilling auditions, because, as the title of the show would suggest, it’s all about the contestant’s voice. The auditions are “blind auditions,” and the judge’s only hear the person sing and then decide if they want the contestant to be on their team or not. Six seasons into The Voice, and these types of auditions are still refreshing to see.

Their hosts.

This is the least important of all five reasons on this list, and I may feel this way because I’m nostalgic for the old days of TRL or because I have seen way too many episodes of The Soup, but I enjoy Carson Daly as a host on The Voice more than Ryan Seacrest on Idol. Daly is a little bland and pretty dorky, but he never makes the show about himself. Seacrest, on the other hand, always seem like he needs to be the center of attention somehow. It just rubs me the wrong way. Or who knows? Maybe I’m still just jealous that he got to date Julianne Hough.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Chris is the Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A graduate of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where he majored in English and Film, he has been writing for TVOvermind for over two years and has written about several different television shows, such as New Girl, Breaking Bad, Glee, and Homeland. Contact him through Twitter (@ckinger13) or email (chris@tvovermind.com).
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