Why 'The Voice' Is Flawed

The problem with The Voice is that it's full of double standards and contradictions, shifting notably from what the shows principles were initially laid out to stand for.

As the second series of The Voice UK begins to flourish, the sob stories are becoming even more intense, Jessie J is more annoying by the episode, Tom Jones looks even more out of place and Will-I-am continues to talk a load of breeze.

The problem with The Voice is that it's full of double standards and contradictions, shifting notably from what the shows principles were initially laid out to stand for. The only aspect of the show that simply focuses on "the voice" is the initial blind auditions every contestant is put through. However, while each contestant performs, the judges are anxiously bracing themselves, overanalysing exactly how each contestant sounds in order to paint a concrete picture as to whether their male or female, young or old, black or white, slim or fat, styled up in vintage clothing or a physical mess. All of these factors significantly help decide whether each auditionee is what "they" are looking for. When I say "they", I mean precisely what each judge (not coach) looks for in their aspiring artists.

Often each judge's preconception of who they are listening to is wrong, subsequently leading them to feel disappointed in themselves for not pressing their buttons earlier. Isn't the shows concept for the judges to decide on the "voice" and nothing else? Clearly not, as I feel this is rarely the case. It's evident that any mature act that has a classic tone but no fire or quirk in them like Lianne from last year is promptly avoided; same goes for the cabaret style performers who are more suited to musicals and theatre. Although the judges are not watching each contestant perform, it is very clear that they are consciously being discriminated against in biased and partial ways, similarly to how the X Factor and every other manufactured talent show operates today.

Another factor which inevitably effects who is selected merely depends on how each judge can identify with the contestants. Formulaically we relentlessly see Jessie and Will telling any contestant with a guitar "I didn't turn around as I was waiting for Danny to do so!". So quickly into the show we could already tell that Will attached himself to any hip-hop or R&B singer whose style evoked notions of a post-modernised or commercial sound, whilst Jessie would always go for the female power house or young authentic tone. As expected the majority of male gay contestants also pick her as a coach due to her celebrity status as a bi-sexual female. Furthermore, any mature act with a classic sound or perhaps I daringly call them a "pity act", Tom Jones will fit. Finally, we're left with the non-pop acts, however due to every singing talent shows requirement of contestants to conform to commercial standards, this means any act that is "remotely" unique is consequentially categorised as an "indie" act. Aside from the fact The Script are purely a pop act anyway, any contestant with an instrument who is either rock, indie or not "cookie cutter pop", Danny is often left or pressured into scraping up. With each judge representing a distinguished set of ideals, it's generally obvious who will turn around for any contestant and who does not fit in with any of the four rigid standards that each judge is in possession of, will subsequently not make the first cut.

Finally, aside from Tom Jones who often remains quiet and inhibited, the show is largely revolved around each judges attempt to show off their own success and celebrity status. Don't get me wrong, each judge definitely contributes to the shows entertainment factor, especially once Will.I.am stands on his soapbox and uses the world "transparent" to an irritatingly quantity. However, I can't bear to listen to the constant name dropping from him and Tom Jones, Danny's attempt to charm every subdued female (who clearly isn't attracted to him anyway) and Jessie's aggressive rants, articulated with an annoyingly (I'd say even contrived) heavy South-London twang. After all, it's supposedly about the contestants, but seeing the judges frequently make it about themselves can become tedious and repetitive when you start to feel like you're permitting them to ego trip by indulging in the show in the first place.

Regardless of my slight frustration with the shows concept and values, I have enjoyed the series so far. Last year it became a little boring once the blind auditions were over so it will be interesting to see how it picks up this year and if the momentum can be maintained towards the shows finale.


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