Monday, May 16, 2011

The Voice: I Don't Love This Cheesy Show

Welcome to The Voice, the latest (yep, arriving to this trend pretty late) and greatest (eh, not so much) talent show brought to you by NBC. The show features country singer Blake Shelton, big-belter diva Christina Aguilera, "Fuck You"-singing phenomenon Cee-Lo Green and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as "coaches," the friendly alternative to judges, trying to find . In this aspect, it's ripping off The X Factor before it even reaches U.S. shores as well as ripping off American Idol. The Voice was obviously meant to take down the original at its weakest point. (Of course, that didn't work out as expected.)

In all, the show is kind of a big ball of cheese that is saved by the great judges coaches and how much chemistry the panel shares. But is a show that's all about the ju coaches going to work in the long run?

Let's start with the positive: this is a really great panel. Easily the best among the reality judge panels today aside from Top Chef's and Project Runway's. What's even better is the panel is balanced, with all four bringing major musical chops and judging coaching pedigrees. This separates it from panels dominated by one major personality (America's Next Top Model by Andre Leon Talley; surely The X Factor by Simon Cowell) or panels that are incompetent as judges across the board (America's Got Talent; American Idol).

The show also boasts a great amount of fun. The blind auditions led to some friendly competition between the coaches (hey, I didn't say judge--aw, crap), but the gimmick soon gives way to what are described as "Battle Rounds". We're currently in the middle of these rounds, which can be fun, but they also point out the central flaw of the show: it doesn't quite know how to find talent.

As a reality show, The Voice is a little too fond of the corniness and not enough on making it a real production but it works well enough. As a talent search, however, it fails miserably. Hell, they ran out of potential auditioners so quickly they had to cycle back through the rejects just to fill each coach's team! Not only that, but you've seen a lot of these folks before. Remember that Idol came under incredible scrutiny for allowing those with major record deals before to compete in its seventh season. The main complaint was that this allowed for a massive advantage. That's not so much of a worry here, as almost everyone has this advantage! It does, however, make for a really stupid talent search--they know these contestants are talented! We know they are too! We've seen it all before!

I'm afraid that The Voice is going to run out of chemistry between the coaches and the whole thing is going to look like a tired retread very quickly. Because as Idol is showing us right now, you need great contestants to make a show like this worth watching. And right now the contestants on The Voice are boring me to tears.

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