I can be persuaded to watch pretty much any reality competition show. Give me “real” people with some modicum of talent, competing for their 15 minutes and then slow fade into obscurity, a lucrative or crappy prize, and I’m hooked. Case in point: I watched every episode of the CW’s “Shedding for the Wedding” series this spring.
I have been a longtime fan of “American Idol”, although my viewership has waned in recent years (and the current season really isn’t helping). My issue with “American Idol” has long been that it is not just a singing competition, as it claims to be — it’s more of an entertainer competition, which is fine, but own up to it. Pia’s recent Idol elimination led to much theorizing online that Pia was voted off because she was beautiful and all the jealous women out there couldn’t deal with it, so refused to vote for her.
NBC’s “The Voice” purports to do away with the appearance bias — judging contestants solely on their voices — but I’m a bit doubtful.
The format of the show is as follows (edited, but via NBC’s website):
- The blind audition process sees the coaches judging the contestants sight unseen, based solely on vocal talent.
- If the coach wants said singer on his/her team, s/he pushes the button and then gets to see the contestant. If two coaches want the same singer, then the singer gets to choose.
- Coaches select contestants on their own team to battle each other each week, with both contestants singing the same song in front of an audience.
- The coach decides which singer advances in the competition.
It’s unclear whether there will be at-home audience participation/voting and how the final winner will be determined. The details on these teams are also a bit fuzzy – are the contestants competing just against the people on their team, or against everyone else as well? Are the coaches judging the other coaches’ singers? I imagine NBC is leaving a lot of these details out to entice viewers to tune in, so we’ll see if that pays off.
I find the whole shtick about judging contestants solely on their vocal talent is a little weak – the coaches are selecting their team members based on singing ability, but once the teams have been chosen, it appears to be business as usual – we’ll be able to see them, and they’ll sing in front of a studio audience. It will interesting to see how objective the judging truly is.
Since we don’t have much more information than that, let’s discuss the cast of characters NBC is dumping on us for the time being.
Carson Daly will serve as our esteemed host. I don’t know much about Carson, except that he used to host “TRL” on MTV. Is there really anything else to know about him? He had a late night TV show for awhile, right? I think he’s going to draw comparisons to Seacrest, but at least he’s pleasant to look at, so here’s hoping he doesn’t make me want to break my TV.
Cee Lo Green has been all up in your ears for the past year or so with his catchy ditty, “F*CK YOU”. Prior to that, you was invading your dance mix with his BFF Danger Mouse, as one part of Gnarls Barkley and “Crazy”. Other than that, I don’t know much about Cee Lo, except that he dresses up like a crazy bird and sings with the Queen of
Perfection Pretension, Gwyneth Paltrow. NBC has been teasing us repeatedly with the clip of the guy who takes on “F*CK YOU”, so let’s see if he delivers.
I’ve been a Christina Aguilera fan for a long, long time. This girl has some serious pipes, and is among the single-name divas (along with Mariah, Whitney, and Celine) often cited on that other singing show as someone you could never hope to measure up to. I wasn’t a huge fan of her last CD, and she clearly has some personal issues going on, but it remains to be seen exactly what kind of trainwreckery Xtina will bring to the table. If she’s going to unleash the crazy, I hope it’s Paula Abdul-worthy.
Adam Levine makes all the girls swoon as the front guy for Maroon 5. Adam’s primary talents are making white t-shirts look hot, staring smolderingly at the camera, and being pawed at by hot women. I’m curious to see what kind of coach he’ll be, as the resident “bad boy”? (Right? Is that his image?)
I can’t tell you much about Blake Shelton (I can’t tell you anything, really), the requisite country star, but the little I saw of him during the Academy of Country Music Awards (SHUT UP) was favorable. He should be able to provide a unique perspective given the increasing country-crossover artists, and I’m curious to see what kind of contestants he goes for.
“The Voice” premieres tonight, at 9/8C, on NBC.