Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review: NBC's TheVoice

I’ll admit it. I gave in to the soul crushing promotion and watched The Voice on NBC last night. My brain was so convoluted with the constant promos and advertisements as soon as 9pm came about last night, I proclaimed “The Voice is on!” Which is exactly what NBC wanted me to do.

Did I expect anything earth shattering? Hardly. Did I kinda expect a bitchy Christina Aguilera and a stiff Carson Daly? Absolutely. Was I wrong? I’d say it was a toss up.
I don’t want to completely re-hash how the show works since they did that last night about fifty times. But if you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, here is a quick recap. The Voice’s prides itself on working with up and coming singers based completely on how they sing and not their stage performance or their looks. Four judges (Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, and Blake Shelton) have their backs turned to the stage. While each performer sings, the judges have the opportunity to press their button and turn their chair around. If they do this, that means they want the singer on their “team.” Each judge is allowed 8 people to join their “team” and those 8 people will be mentored  and groomed by said judge. If more than one judge wants a specific singer, it is up to the singer to decide who they want to work with. If nobody turns their chair around, the singer is dismissed.

All the singers were pre-selected to perform and are all semi to really talented. This is no American Idol auditions. Since the judges have their backs turned to the singers, sometimes it is a surprise to see where the awesome voice comes from. Case & Point:  the 42-year-old bull dyke with a shaved head who sang Janis Joplin. She had a good voice but I really doubt she will ever be marketable to the public. Middle aged bull dykes with neck tattoos don’t have the biggest audience.

I disgress. The show wasn’t horrible. I liked how they couldn’t see the contestants. Most of them however were fairly decent to beautiful 20-30 year olds. The ones that weren’t stereotypically beautiful just need a good stylist and perhaps a good workout and I’m sure they would be pop material. I was surprised at some of the more unique sounding voices. It seemed to me Cee Lo Green wanted to mentor every person who performed. Adam Levin’s enthusiasm for the singers he chose was cute in a weird, competitive way. Christina Aguilera was unexpectedly sweeter than I would have thought. She’s definitely the best vocalist in terms of the judges. But many of the performers chose to work with Cee Lo or Blake because they didn’t want to go the pop star route. I can’t say I blame them.

In the beginning I thought it would be a given that the country acts would want to work with Blake, the girls with Xtina, the true “artists” with Cee Lo, and the rockers with Adam. However, I was thrown for a loop when Blake didn’t automatically choose every person that performed a country song. It seemed he was a lot more specific in what he wanted in his team than the rest of the judges. Cee Lo would take anyone, Xtina held out for the people who hit all those hard to reach notes and Adam wanted the unique voices to put together “the winning team.”

They only completely dismissed two or three people. And those people probably would have made it to the finals in American Idol. There were one or two ladies whom I didn’t really think had that great of a voice but got through any way.

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