Blinds and Battles 1 (Blogging The Voice)


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Blogging The Voice (s6) : Blinds and Battles 1

The Voice
is one of my favorite shows. In my opinion, it is far superior to most of the other popular singing competitions, both in terms of the talent presented (with less strict age and experience guidelines than American Idol, and fewer mock-ably bad cattle call entrants than Idol, X Factor, or America's Got Talent) and in terms of production quality (the audio sounds much better than the other competitions, and this type of show demands high sound quality).

The coaches are far more positive and helpful than the other shows' judges, and have far more actual experience in the music industry. Each season of The Voice has showcased bona fide musical stars, although they were not always the winners nor did their careers immediately skyrocket (but the same is true of the other competition shows as well).

With five seaons under the belt, now is the time when the kinks have been worked out, when the show has the power to attract more talent, and the producers and coaches should be making the right decisions. Unfortunately, this is not always what's happening with season six.

The show is more predictable than ever. Carson Daly's voice overs explaining how many spots and steals are left, the way the sob story-laden packages are presented, and the judges' reaction shots which are chosen take nearly every bit of potential suspense and crush it.

Seriously, producers: Don't tease us saying that it's the last performance of the round and there is exactly one steal left. Don't show us the contestant saying "I really hope Blake turns around," because then, we know that Blake will turn around but suddenly the singer will decide to pick Shakira as his or her coach. Don't pretend that a contestant has a bat in hell's chance of winning their battle round when their blind audition was only shown for five seconds.

I bet I could guess the winners of each round correctly at least 75 percent of the time, all without hearing a note.

And, if nothing else, please stop showing barely recap-worthy soundbites instead of full performances. We do not need to see five hours of redundant rehearsal footage. That can go on the web extras that you can post to and YouTube. Show us each and every one of the PERFORMANCES instead. That is what the fans want to see, and your refusal to show us these performances is spitting in the face of both the performers and the fans. (Or as a last resort, make the full performances web extras. You already sell them on iTunes so it can't be that much of a license issue.)

But, stepping off my TV producer soapbox (and on to my music critic one) ...

The talent in season six is almost up to the show's usual standard. But it's not quite there. While plenty of talented singers auditioned, and like usual there is hardly a bad singer in the bunch, the coaches' picks were not up to snuff. Some of the most talented and charismatic contestants are already gone, and while this always happens to a few of my personal picks, this time the remaining field is too narrow.

There are no real standouts thus far, no one who made me instantly want to buy their album and be a fan for life, the way that Chris Mann, Cody Belew, Katrina Parker, Michelle Chamuel, and others have.

There are also too many fantastic singers who were lost to the battle rounds and could not even be “saved.” Seriously, the saves this season were almost all wasted. The only thing they accomplished were plenty of “What were they thinking?!” moments.

Alaska & Madi, Brothers Walker, Paula DeAnda, Noah Lis, and, most especially, Tanner James, were all ROBBED and were more deserving than any of the saved singers. Seriously, from the few bits of Tanner James we were allowed to experience, he could be one of the most talented male singers ever to appear on the show (and I'm including the coaches and advisers in that).

At least the coaches made the right decision a few times (and the nature of the battle rounds makes it so sometimes there is no “right” decision and neither competitor truly deserves to be sent packing).

Check back on this blog next Monday to find out what I'm hoping to see in Battle Rounds 2, as well as my thoughts on the best remaining singers.