Why Would I Want Anybody to Win?

Recently, a good friend asked me who I was rooting for on The Voice. As I usually do when this question comes up, I answered somewhat diplomatically that I haven’t been watching the show. But here’s what my brain was screaming inside my head: “Why would I want anybody to win The Voice? The winners don’t get anything!”

Why does my brain scream that? Glad you asked. Let’s check the record.

The Voice has had six prior winners that received $100,000 and a “record deal[1]” with Universal Music Group. Two of those winners, Jermaine Paul and Josh Kaufmann (Seasons 2 and 6, respectively) never released an album. So much for the winner’s record deal. (“Sorry, Mr. Phelps, you don’t actually get to keep the gold medals. We just use them to make people think they’re competing for something.”)

The album released this summer by Season 5’s Tessanne Chin was widely criticized for the lack of promotion, as in no promotion, from the show and the record label. As a result, it sold a paltry 7,000 copies.

The first winner Javier Colon had a similar story, saying he got so little support from the show and his “record deal” that he would have been better off losing and having the freedom to promote himself.

Do you see a pattern here? That’s four out of six winners with bad stories in case you missed it. And I haven’t even mentioned the contract the contestants sign that is so one-sided against them, the New York Daily News called it “dehumanizing.” The show gets your voice for TV ratings, gives nothing in return and there is nothing you can do about it[2].

So let me turn my critical gaze to the other two winners, punk singer turned “country” singer Cassadee Pope (Season 3) and an actual country singer Danielle Bradbery (Season 4). Cassadee and Danielle’s albums have sold 182,000 and 136,000, respectively. Decent numbers to be fair and far better than poor Tessanne’s trifling 7,000. However, these figures don’t even compare to Idol’s recent country winners Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. Scotty’s three post-Idol albums have sold nearly two million copies. Lauren was the runner-up to Scotty and her debut album has sold 303,000, nearly the equal of the two biggest Voice winners combined.

It is true the going from reality show to instant stardom is far from guaranteed. The last two Idol winners Candice Glover and Caleb Johnson were also wonderful singers who released albums that stiffed. But when a show has given a third of its winners a record deal that turned out to be no deal at all; and another third of its winners “deals” without any promotional support, which is unconscionable in a market as competitive as the music business[3]; then what the history of The Voice has shown is that winning is far more likely to be a career-killer than a career-creator.

It reminds me of a conversation on House of Cards:

Congressman’s aide: “So you lied to his face?”

Congressman: “No. I just revised the parameters of my promise.”

Which is why I don’t root for anybody to win The Voice.[4]


[1] Even Wikipedia puts that in quotes implying that the deal isn’t real.

[2] Idol’s contract is pretty restrictive, too, but The Voice has raised the bar.

[3] And by the business I mean the industry.

[4] Gee, and I never mentioned the contract language that says the show can ignore the voting results and eliminate contestants at their sole discretion. I’ll save that for another time.

Explore posts in the same categories: Mindless Rant or Intelligent Commentary, The Voice

2 Comments on “Why Would I Want Anybody to Win?”

  1. […] new news to me. Exactly one year ago I posed the question, “Why would I want anybody to win?” In that blog, I cited specific details of how badly Voice winners have […]

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