NBC’s “The Voice” is a refreshing and welcomed addition to the current reality talent show competition generation. The show kicks off its maiden voyage with tonight’s season opener where four professional “coaches” of the show are faced with the challenge of stacking each of their team’s decks with 8 vocalists that will go head-to-head this season – ultimately fighting to be crowned The Voice.
The concept of the show is genius – take the smoke and mirrors, autotuners, lipstick, high heels, age limit, and dress sizes out of the equation and all you are left with is the voice. Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5), and Blake Shelton have the chance to experience the blind audition and fight for the talent they think would be a promising addition to their vocal team.
During the blind auditions, the decisions from the coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches hear the contestants perform, but they don’t get to see them – thanks to rotating chairs. If a coach is impressed by a contestant’s voice, he/she pushes a button to select the contestant. At this point, the coach’s chair will swivel to face the contestant selected. If more than one coach selects the talent, the power shifts to the contestant, who may choose which coach they want to work with throughout the competition. (read more on the official NBC about page)
In the first episode, Blake Shelton represents Nashville by already selecting 2 aspiring country acts – Patrick Thomas and ElenOwen. Contestant Jeff Jenkins sang his heart out with a country twang that caught the ear of all the coaches making the red chairs spin to begin the first 4-way battle of the show. Although this Texan sang the country hit “Bless The Broken Road” made famous by Rascal Flatts, he decided to go with Adam Levine. His choice prooves you never know what will happen on a show like this!
Partially through the first hour, a 24-year-old girl was passed over for her talent. When the red chairs spun around, Cee Lo nearly kicked himself for missing the chance to select her. He made a point to express that she was attractive and apparently wished he would have made a different choice. Maybe this is why we need shows like this. The Voice might reveal the danger in signing artists based on appearance alone and how well they can be marketed as opposed to their ability to sing.
Selecting contestants based on talent alone makes it not about the contest but about the dream as Cee Lo Green points out in the show opener. Every vocalist/performer wants to be validated. For the singers on stage to be fought over is very uplifting. It will be interesting to see where this show takes the viewer as the teams grow and enter the next phase of competition. Wonder if the Susan Boyle makeover will make it’s way into this shows equation for success?