Was Gwen Stefani wrong for 'transforming' a contestant's looks on The Voice?
When The Voice first debuted nine seasons ago, it was a new show in a sea of talent competitions. Programs like American Idol, America's Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance were already in full effect and wildly popular — so how did NBC think they could make their talent show shine?
By introducing a fresh, new premise, of course. A premise that sought to aim the spotlight on contestants' God-given talent, as opposed to their physical appearance. The Voice took on the challenge of setting their show apart from the rest of the pack by proving to the world that, contrary to popular belief, looks don't matter in the entertainment industry.
"During the blind auditions, the decisions from the musician coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks," the show description reads on the NBC website. "The coaches hear the artists perform, but they don't get to see them — thanks to rotating chairs."
It's a very sweet notion that an average person with an above-average talent can rise to stardom, but show regular Gwen Stefani and guest coach Rihanna just shot all of that to shit when they transformed cherub-faced teen, Braiden Sunshine, from this...
... into a mini-Michael Bublé who looks like this:
The worst part? Sunshine was totally comfortable in his own skin, loved the way he looked and didn't want to change.
When he tried to explain to his coaches that his friends wouldn't want to see him without his signature curly hair, Rihanna replied, "Your friend would when you're making money, honey!"
So in essence, The Voice just taught us that, while it's totally possible to be plain-looking and have an awesome set of pipes, if you want to be rich and famous, you need a team of celeb stylists to completely transform your look.
I totally understand what Stefani and Rihanna were saying. I do. The entertainment industry — and the general public — is brutal and, in reality, many votes on shows like The Voice and American Idol are won by charisma and TV viewer crushes.
Stefani and Rihanna were only being dead honest. They are industry veterans and they were delivering the cold, hard truth of what it is to operate at celebrity status. Becoming a famous singer isn't just a dream, it's also a job. We all know that sometimes we have to do things at work that we don't "want" to do, and for Sunshine, that means a new hairdo.
While we don't fault Stefani and Rihanna for being harsh with Sunshine, the whole conversation is just very ironic, considering The Voice caught everyone's attention by introducing viewers to a new kind of talent competition not based on physical appearance. Unfortunately, in the process, they just proved that looks do matter.