Admittedly, I was all set to tear apart NBC's newest singing competition show, The Voice; Tuesdays @ 9pm. The comparison to FOX's American Idol is immediate and expected, and within the first several minutes of watching it, the similarities are all so blatant. The cheesey and smarmy back stories of the contestants ... the contrived in-fighting between coaches a la Paula v. Simon ... even the "get-to-know-you and hang out with your family while you perform" host Carson Daly who, despite his competency, is NO Ryan Seacrest. Plus the show being billed as "about TALENT alone"? Oh please. Get over yourself.
But then, maybe 15 or 20 minutes into it, a funny thing happened. I actually started to LIKE it. The coaches (not "judges") compete against EACH OTHER to assemble a crew of 8 potentially great singers into their stable, only making selections based on what they hear. Once they "approve", they swing around to see just WHO they put a bid in for and that's when it becomes interesting. The coaches only have till the end of the song to decide if they want to work with the contestant or not, and once its over, it is then the CONTESTANT'S choice of who's team they want to join. So there you see the coaches, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, and country music star, Blake Shelton, doing the pleading, groveling, petitioning, and ass-kissing to get the contestants to choose them.
And just how ARE the coaches? - Pretty good! Snaps to Mark Burnett Productions for assembling an excellent and capable crew with a good amount of chemistry. Cee Lo is the best of bunch, being "part Randy Jackson, part Steven Tyler". He's easily and obviously the most knowledgeable of the 4 and shows a real interest in actually making someone a star. But Adam Levine is very good too, being the "Paula" of the group, with none of the crazy, yet twice the genuine sincerity. He and Cee Lo play off well with each other. Blake is the "Simon" - hard-nosed and straight up, like any good country singer should be. The most difficult to impress, but seems almost as capable a coach as Cee Lo when it comes to singers he's actually interested in. And then there's Christina Aguilera. Unfortunately, she's "J.Lo meets Kara DioGuardi, with a dash Paula thrown in". Kinda useless, X-tina couldn't care less about the singers up on stage. She's in it for the bicker-flirting with Levine and promoting herself every chance she gets. But that's ok. I've learned to respect and appreciate Aggie for all her screwball antics as of late.
So I suggest that you check it out and get in on the ground floor. The Voice is very entertaining overall with some good singers, some great coaches, and a fun mechanic. A nice little surprise was Frenchie Davis, former American Idol contestant that got booted due to some ... *ahem* .... scandalousness ... showing up to compete. It's nice to see her still going for it, as well as other musical hopefuls who would never make it on Idol aside from the "let's laugh at the Freaks" segments during the open auditions. (although my favorite PART of Idol)
NBC's finally got a winner with this ... I think The Voice is gonna be huge and Idol should be paying close attention.