Sunday night was a big night. Not only was it the night Kelly Clarkson sang the Star Spangled Banner at a football game while rocking amazing bangs. Not only was it the night NBC aired my favorite commercial of all time. It was the debut of the second season of The Voice!
I really enjoyed The Voice last year, and blogged about it pretty regularly. It’s a show I like to DVR for later because I can fast-forward through things like the “social media room” (it’s blowing up on Twitter!) and Carson Daly. But really, I think I enjoyed the show much more than I did the last season of American Idol. If you didn’t watch but have a place in your heart for reality TV singing competitions, I suggest you check it out. And here’s why:
judges coaches are actually qualified and fun to watch. American Idol has struggled in the judging department. The judges have become repetitive and too upbeat, and when they do pick on someone it always seems to be the wrong performer. (Like Haley Reinhart last season.) While I think there’s room for Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton to critique a little more, I find what they have to say more interesting. They’re competitive. They give real advice when someone doesn’t make the cut, like working on pitch or range. They have a vested interest in the singers on their teams and therefore put actual effort into cultivating them as artists.
2. There are no obnoxious audition rounds. The first half of the season is where The Voice shines, while I don’t even tune in to those first few weeks of audition rounds on Idol. The talent has already been weeded through for us, and everyone who auditions for the coaches is actually good. That makes it more suspenseful – people who I thought were great this week didn’t turn any chairs, because they weren’t quite good enough.
3. Those chairs are fun! Oh come on, you’ve gotta love the red chairs. It’s so dramatic! I think my favorite part is the relief/excitement on a coach’s face when he/she turns his/her chair around and discovers that the singer is really good looking. It’s part “Hey, you’re attractive!” and part “Ooh, you’re marketable!”
4. Cool performances. I’m sorry, but Randy, Jennifer and Stephen will never be able to do a Prince medley as well as Christina, Adam, Cee Lo and Blake. Just look at what they’re all wearing! Look at Cee Lo!
5. More talent than last time. Last year, I was very pleased with the final four contestants. But there was a stage in the middle of the season where I wasn’t sure The Voice was matching up talent-wise to American Idol. This season, naturally, more people have auditioned and I think the talent level is higher. We’ve already seen experienced folks like a backup singer for Alicia Keys, a trained opera singer (who happens to be very handsome as well)
6. I get weirdly emotional when people don’t get chosen. I rarely choke up about American Idol. But when none of the coaches turned around for poor, bespectacled bow-tie donning Daniel Rosa, I felt legitimately disheartened. I know he wasn’t very good, but he was so likable! Same goes for the absolutely gorgeous dude who had the courage to sing a Backstreet Boys song. Alas, that’s what’s good and bad about The Voice.
7. Talent really is all that matters. A hot girl butchers a Kelly Clarkson song (OK, it wasn’t that bad – it was clear her nerves played somewhat of a factor in her terrible pitch) and no one turns their chairs. A middle-aged woman channels Chaka Khan and Christina and Adam fight over her. It’s a beautiful thing.
8. I’ve saved the best for last…THIS:
This, my friends, is the best thing I’ve seen all week. All year. Maybe ever, I’m not sure. I can’t tell you how hard I started laughing when the cameras went to Cee Lo for a talking head and there he was, stroking a fluffy white cat with an adorable smushed face. It’s like he’s Dr. Evil’s R&B doppelganger! I mean, what? What is happening there? He’s still on set! Where does he keep the cat – his dressing room? How often does he demand it come visit him? Why is it so calm, sitting there in his arms? Isn’t it nervous with all the lights and loud noises? What’s it’s name? I have So. Many. Questions.
You don’t have to tune in, but you might want to keep checking out my recaps just to keep track of the coaches’ antics.