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Will “The Voice” Replace American Idol as America’s Favorite Singing Competition?

In Music, Television on April 28, 2011 at 6:19 am

Carson Daly appears on the screen.  He briefly describes the concept of “The Voice” and quickly reads off the achievements of each of the four judges:  Christina Aguilera, country music star Blake Shelton, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green.  After the introduction, the four judges took the stage to show the world how it’s done as they performed “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley (featuring Cee Lo Green).  It was so good that they could probably sell millions of copies if they released it as a single.  It didn’t take long to show that The Voice is much more than NBC’s answer to American Idol.

On American Idol, each contestant’s overall performance and popularity with teenage girls have as much to do with their success as their actual singing ability (see Pia Toscano).  One can’t help but wonder if Toscano would have been better off being a contestant on The Voice rather than on American Idol because of the rules of the show.

Each of the four judges must build a team of eight contestants to mentor based solely on hearing their vocal performance.  The judges’ chairs face the audience, so they cannot see the performer’s stage presence, their look, their age, etc.  They can only see them once they hit a “Family Feud-like” buzzer to spin their chairs around.  At which point, the words “I Want You” are illuminated at the bottom of the judges’ platform.
If only one judge hits the buzzer, then the contestant is automatically assigned to that judge’s team.  However if more than one judge hits the buzzer, then they each get to make their pitch as to why the contestant should choose them as their mentor.

Fortunately for the judges (and also for the viewers), the only singers who perform on the show are the ones who have been hand-picked by the producers.  Unlike American Idol, there is no suffering through the bizarre and the terrible to get to the good singers.

Once each judge’s team has eight members the “blind auditions” end.  At that point, each judge will mentor their team members.  And this is where it gets even more interesting.  Before America will ever get the chance to vote for their favorites, the judges must reduce their teams from eight to four based on head-to-head competition.

If the first episode is any indication, the 16 finalists on The Voice are going to be far better singers than the 13 finalists on Season 10 of American Idol (which is supposedly the most talented group in the show’s history).

By the time that the first episode came to an end, each judge had signed up three members to be on their respective teams.  They are as follows:

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