May 6, 2011

The Voice Takes on American Idol

Just browsing through the selection of television shows the other night, and I happened upon The Voice. What a great surprise!While I expected this to be a slight variation of American Idol, this is actually something very, very different.The judges are actually the coaches as well.

The kicker is those auditioning do so without the judges being able to see who is competing. Brings the competition into a whole new arena. It's quite fun, especially when the judges turn around to see the contestant for the first time. Sometimes, they just cannot hide the shock on their faces when the voice doesn't match what the mind imagines.

Nowadays, a video friendly persona is a must, but it wasn't always that way. Back in the 1970's, artists were judged more on their craft than their appearance. Case in point: Karen and Richard Carpenter.

Over at A&M Corner, where many Carpenters fan congregate, there's always some sort of discussion about the poor image representation of Karen and Richard, their less than stellar album covers, and their fairly cheesy videos. It wasn't until late in their career that A&M Records executives finally understood how to market them. But back to The Voice...

All four judges/coaches, Adam Levine- the lead singer with Maroon 5, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and the always flamboyant Christina Aguilera, make for an intriguing team. Each brings wit, charm, enthusiasm, and in Cee Lo's case, a bit of raunch to the proceedings. (Why does it feel as if he hits on each of the female contestants? Is he trying to teach them it may take some moral compromise to get to the top?)

Adam- who has one of my favorite modern voices- comes across as very sweet and kind, while is Christina everyman's best friend. Blake Shelton, on the other hand, seems like the savvy music executive with a heart of gold. Always supportive but ready to make the right choice, showing great restraint in his selections. Think Idol's Simon Cowell without the bite. It's a nice change of pace.

Each judge builds a team of eight and the competition continues on from there. Lots of talent here and an very pleasant way to spend an hour. Sidenote: keep an eye on one of Adam's picks, Javier Colon. Not only is he an established recording artist, his October Sky duet with Vanessa Williams is an amazingly beautiful composition of his.

Once you check the show out, you may be hooked. The Voice has it all. I know I'll be watching each week!

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