After watching The Voice, I remain unconvinced that what I saw was anything new. It probably doesn’t help that we’ve also actually seen one of the contestants on another talent show before. For a show trying to distance itself from its better known predecessors, cherry-picking a familiar (and failed) contestant on your very first show isn’t the best move.
As someone who has grown accustomed to simply watching someone perform on TV and then determining whether I liked them or not, the rules of this show had me somewhat confused at first. By now we all know the ‘coaches'(don’t you dare call them judges) make their initial determination based upon the contestants voice only. Of course, this supposedly revolutionary format goes out the window the moment a coach hits their Red Button of Approval, because at that point, they spin around and see the performers. There were several times during this first show where I hoped one of the coaches would totally backtrack after seeing the contestant, but to their credit, the coaches did well to hide any disappointment they may have had once they performed a 180. That had to be the case when the judges laid eyes on Beverly McClellan, the pierced, bald, 41 year old female rocker that wrapped up the show.
Prior to that not-so-dramatic final performance, we spent the premiere episode getting the hang of these ‘blind’auditions that comprise the First Round, where the coaches listen to the performance before executing a spinaroonie in order to face the contestants as they each create their respective vocal teams. For me, the biggest disappointment came in those instances when more than one judge made the turn. None of the coaches’sales pitches to the contestants were very effective, although it was clear Maroon 5 front man, Adam Levine was trying hard to portray himself as the shark of the group. During this largely pristine premiere, Christina Aguilera’s commentary was like a giant zit on this show’s face. Did no one tell her that another, more prominent talent show already has the rights to ‘You made it your own’? Her antagonism toward Levine felt more forced than the hugs Carson Daly was dishing out to the contestants’families backstage. Cee Lo Green came across as genuine, if not insightful, and Blake Shelton made the predictable move of snagging the obvious country singer, while also making some lame attempts at humor.
The lack of drama during these supposedly contentious moments between the coaches made it appear as if the contestants likely had their minds made up as to which coach they wanted to join before they ever walked out on stage. So any drama the producers were hoping from this supposed bit of talent show uniqueness fell flat.
By the time the two hours went by, I had a decent grasp of what this show was going to be and the four coaches all conveniently had three singers in their stable to boot. However, with only minutes to go, Carson gave us a run-down of how the remainder of this show is going to work, and I was once again lost in the reality show woods. From Daly’s dizzying description, I’m pretty sure this is how it will play out:
– Once the coaches each have 8 singers, they begin to train them for the competition.
– From what I can tell, team members will then face off in a ring where they beat each other with weapons of their choice.
– After each respective coach raises the hand of the four survivors, the 16 total remaining contestants then enter the Final Round.
– The show then becomes an exact replica of American Idol, with the only difference being that it’s on NBC and Carson Daly’s head is slighter smaller than Ryan Seacrest’s.
So is The Voice anything new? I suppose for the 15 seconds of a First Round performance before a coach sees the contestant it is. After that, things get a lot more familiar. Except, of course, for when Beverly McClellan pile drives Xenia through the ring during the Second Round. I’m looking forward to that.