It's no secret that I love The Voice and think it's one of the best shows on television. When I heard the news yesterday that Gwen was returning to her coach's chair in February for Season 12, replacing Miley Cyrus, you'd think I'd have jumped for joy.
But I did not.
Though Gwen's relationship with Blake Shelton is one of the most interesting (and intriguing) pieces of Hollywood gossip I've heard in a while, that's not the reason I sighed. Rather, it's because I think that although her coaching was respectable, I feel her performance in the 'makeover' department has been a global disappointment.
During the 'transformation' period, the point in the competition where contestants undergo makeovers and wardrobe adjustments to further solidify their stage presence, I felt Gwen's creative visions have missed the mark, leaving her team feeling uncomfortable, and, in some cases, returning to their previous looks.
I'm not sure whether contestants' wishes weren't heard during this process, or if they left their fate in the show's hands, but it appeared some walked away without gaining the new self-concept for which they may have been searching.
It's clear that Gwen is all about reinvention, and that she's obviously a creative spirit. But her transformations reminded me of her Harujuku Girls, whom she 'dressed wicked' and 'gave names'. Except the Voicecontestants were already dressed, and already had names.
Is that the real essence of The Voice? To turn an artist into someone he or she is not? And further, should so much time and energy be applied towards changing a contestant's physical appearance?
It would be my hope to see Gwen return as the fierce spirit she is and nurture primarily the voices of each of her contestants, to ask for input and feedback during transformations, and to simply allow the unique beauty of each artist to shine through. I hope her return ushers an era of appreciation of natural beauty, following in Alicia Keys' much-celebrated footsteps.
And, most of all, that she remains true the show's core value: That the voice is the factor that truly counts.
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