The Voice Is SO Good!!!

But what exactly is it good at is the question. Let’s break it down.

The Judges: This is The Voice’s competitive advantage and why it became a hit show in the first place. The competitiveness and banter between the four judges are evidence of the kind of chemistry that can’t be made up. It either happens or it doesn’t. It didn’t on X Factor at all, hence the firing of Paula and Pussycat Nicole. Idol has good judge chemistry, too, but it isn’t nearly as entertaining.

The Host: Carson Daly is competent and smartly knows how to stay in the background. This is a complete contrast to the X Factor’s Horrific Host Steve Jones who was incompetent and allowed too much time in the foreground. Of course, Ryan Seacrest is matchless at this job but The Voice is smart in not trying to have someone play the host role like Ryan. They have four big personalities already and the show is designed for them rather than a host.

The Talent: The talent level of The Voice is much higher than Idol or X Factor in that they are drawing from a pool consisting mostly of professional musicians. Some of them are working at a high level or have already done significant recording. I was really angry last year when they didn’t come clean early about this as they were bragging about how much better their talent was than Idol’s. It was disingenuous and they eventually were called out by the media for it – and by me before the media figured it out.

In this regard, Idol and The Voice are two different shows. Idol is the zero-to-hero American dream story – the raw, undiscovered talent that becomes a star. The Voice is the redemption story – the talented down-to-their-last-chance musician who tried and failed and just needs a lucky break.

To their credit, The Voice owned up to that right away in the first episode this year. I don’t have a problem with their premise and as a fan of a lot of talented performers who I think deserve a bigger audience, I love that there is this kind of show.

A case in point – one of the stars tonight was rock singer Juliet Sims. Diandra recognized her right away as being the singer in Automatic Loveletter, a band she is quite familiar with.[1] Last year, she recognized Dia Frampton right away who went on to finish second.

The Recording Stars: Here is where The Voice has work to do. If its reason for existence is to find “the voice” that will become a star, then it failed to do so last year. Both winner Javier Colon and runner-up My Girl Dia Frampton released critically acclaimed albums in November-December of last year and both have been big disappointments in terms of sales. Javier’s album Come Through For You spent only one week in the Billboard 200 at #134. It sold less than his prior album whose sales were weak enough to get him dropped from his prior label deal.[2] A December concert date in D.C. was cancelled with no explanation given which generally means poor ticket sales.[3]

Likewise, My Girl Dia’s album Red[4] was on the charts for just one week at #106. It was recently on sale at Amazon for $3.99 an indication of an album that was overstocked. This is a very surprising given that Dia’s songs on the show went to #1 on iTunes each week. The weekly success that she and Javier had did not translate to later album or ticket sales. This is the big challenge for a show whose major draw is NOT the artists for whom the show exists, but rather the judges. The judges star-making abilities don’t seem to be as great as they like to promote.[5]

How The Voice will do in the ratings this year remains to be seen. Not only is it running during Idol season but it’s also up against The Bachelor in the same time slot. As for me, I don’t like it more or less than Idol. I like them both for different reasons and am happy to be entertained by them both.
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[1] I am proud, awed and intimidated at how often my daughter demonstrates greater knowledge than me in some obscure aspects of the music business – and by the business I mean the industry.

[2] Javier recorded albums for Capitol Record in 2003 and 2006.

[3] Likewise, 3rd place finisher Bev McClellan had a local concert date in December cancelled.

[4] I won a copy and love it. I do not have Javier’s album.

[5] As opposed to Javier and Dia, the show worked out pretty well for Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera whose Moves Like Jagger debuted on The Voice and has sold over 4 million copies.

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2 Comments on “The Voice Is SO Good!!!”

  1. Nanette Emrich Says:

    This is an excellent recap and comparison of shows!! I really do enjoy the chemistry between the Voice judges. And I really do like looking at Blake Shelton. :) Fun show!

  2. Sherri B. Says:

    I watched last night and loved it…I’m also happy to see that they’re finally fully embracing their premise of seeking out seasoned singers. I loved the banter between the judges and look forward to watching again tonight! Jaime also immediately knew Juliet Sims and her band! Oh, youth…lol.

    P.S. OK, Ray, I’m dying to know – what ever will you do tonight? Will it be The Bachelor or The Voice?? :)


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