Of the little television I watch, most of it relates to music — concerts, award shows, documentaries and the like. Far and away, The Voice is my favorite show. I've even faked bedtime to get my kids off to sleep before it came on!
I reluctantly speak for all of us when I say pop stars are sometimes not where it’s at. I love the tornado of press that follows them everywhere, and even the earworms, but there’s just something about an artist who doesn’t quite fit the pop-star mold that I find irresistible. I see mainstream radio as a vending machine, and The Voice a great artisanal bistro at which I can sample unique bites.
Waitress? Miner? Local politician? The Voice doesn’t care. You can wake up in a dorm room and end your day with thousands screaming your name. You may have only ever sang in your shower or you could have sang backup on stage for Tina Turner. You can be related to (or be) someone famous or from a small town in Utah and still be part of the action. The Voice truly levels the playing field.
How many of us have run directly to iTunes after a Voice episode? Come on! Don’t be shy! I own songs from artists who went on to win and make records and from those I never heard of after the show. And I still listen to all of it. Why? Because good music is good music — period.
Where do I start? I can talk about his accolades and hit music, but it's much simpler than that. Pharrell gives me hope in humanity. He’s a good guy, and you can feel it. He rarely utters a cross word, and the care with which he guides his team is a support many of us wish we had. He’s funky, confident, eclectic and finds exceptional individuals with whom to work. I feel he is a beacon of positive energy for the entire show.
The Voice is not your typical reality TV show. The energy of the competitors is, oddly, not at all competitive. You don’t see infighting or drama, like the reality available on other competition shows. You don’t see any lack of support from the coaches, either. That’s refreshing. Kudos to NBC for keeping it classy.
The Voice welcomes every style of voice imaginable — from the café songstress to the street musician to the gravelly blues guitarist. There’s variety, which is somewhat lacking in the mainstream. No one gets passed over because they sound like Zooey Deschanel, or eliminated because they look like Charlie Daniels or because they sing jazz or Christian. Individuality is a key factor. Without The Voice, these gems might otherwise go undiscovered.
When the contestants step out on stage for the first time (thanks, emotional montages), we feel immediately connected. We can feel their joy, their excitement and their fear. I will never forget the day Kelly Clarkson won American Idol, or her performance of "A Moment Like This." It was emotional for the entire country, including herself, the judges and her family. I had that same feeling when Jordan Smith won The Voice last season. He had me from his audition, anyway. And his first LP, Something Beautiful, is available for preorder at iTunes, scheduled for release on March 18, 2016.
Between the contestants, the crowd and the judges — banter between Blake and Adam aside — nary a snarky comment is made. The coaches nurture and encourage each contestant’s personal style. What an amazing greenhouse for these budding artists to bloom.
And not like Honey Boo Boo or the 19th jilted The Bachelor contestant. They step into big shoes, make albums and go on tours. Then we can say, “Hey, I remember that guy! He was on The Voice!”
Since The Voice is based solely on contestants' voices, we have the great fortune of meeting many underdogs — "uncool" kids who may have been ridiculed for their look or sound, or people who don't appear to 'fit in.' What I love most about this dynamic is that this is who America votes for when the voting begins. We don’t go for the guy with the cocky gaze and the upturned collar. We go for the one who stands out proudly from the crowd, and I hope that never changes.
Not only does The Voice offer musical variety, which is hard to find elsewhere, it also provides us a platform to watch dreams come true. If that's my reality, what could be better than that?
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