The Voice Seemed Fair at First

After too many seasons of American Idol – and I do mean too many, that show should be put to rest – The Voice seemed like a refreshing alternative. But once the vote goes to a voting America, it’s the same old thing.

I don’t watch much reality television. I watch TV to escape reality, not get steeped in other people’s problems. I will watch one or two episodes of one of the Real Housewives shows if I am folding laundry, and admittedly am entranced when Tabitha Takes Over, but after watching a season or two of American Idol, my kids and I gave it up. It just didn’t pull us in. We kept getting up in the middle and wandering off. The talented were talented and the untalented were televised for the humiliation factor. Then along came The Voice.

If you haven’t seen it, The Voice is a show where contestants are in a singing competition. The twist is that there are four coaches and they choose their “teams” by listening, and not seeing, the contestants. They are chosen for vocal talent alone. That’s what makes things interesting. The coaches stick true to their teams and help them make the most of their voices. There are minor tweaks in appearances, but all remain true to who they are.

We watched The Voice sporadically until last season, and then my son and I started rooting for two different artists. That tied us in. I was completely ready for Nicholas to win. Yes, he was unconventional looking, but that wasn’t supposed to matter on The Voice. He had long stringy hair and nerdy clothes, but his voice was R&B that could make you cry. I was sure he would win. And the judges know talent. He stuck around and stuck around and even made it through to the finals with America voting. But when it came right down to it, they voted a traditional, beautiful woman, Cassadee. I can’t speak to the first two seasons, but I saw the winners and they were very handsome.

This year, an alternative singer, Michelle, should have won. She was adorable. Skinny, big glasses, tight jeans, and pretty much no ability to dance, she had a voice that could knock you over. But when America voted, they chose the typically pretty blonde-haired adorable, prom-dress-wearing, Danielle.

In other words, the premise that the show is different because initially contestants are chosen for talent rather than looks fails. I won’t get into a big rant about girls and body image, but this doesn’t help. And I won’t be watching anymore. After two seasons of watching huge talents get voted off, and I truly believe it was for their unconventional styles, I’m done.

To The Voice, I say this: Instead of putting it in America’s hands, why not bring in a new group of judges – perhaps the owners of record labels or musicians who are legends in the business – to vote in the final episodes. Let them vote with their backs to the contestants for the entire final episodes and then choose the winner. I really wonder how the last two seasons would have ended if talent had judged talent.

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