Voices Carry

Hey, remember when American Idol was a good show? I know, it’s been a while, but remember? I know…I’m sad, too.

Last year, I watched my final season of American Idol (well, barring any of the following developments: The return of Simon Cowell AND his old face; a legendary, world-class musician – let’s pick one, say, John Williams? Aretha Franklin? – hauls Randy Jackson onstage mid-results show and screams, “‘Pitchy’ is not a real word, NOW GET THE HELL OFF OF MY TELEVISION, AND STAY OUT!”; or, now that House is ending, Fox decides to shift Chase over to Idol). Anyway, I found last season so unbearably hard to watch – as a fan of television, grammar and sound – that I decided to cut ties with it entirely. Good riddance, Idol! Farewell, thee!

But it’s hard to say goodbye (to yesterday! Sorry). I was so worn out with the Idol madness that I had no interest in watching The X Factor when it premiered last fall. I read Dave Holmes’ excellent recaps and managed to stay abreast of the general proceedings, but the few times that I briefly tuned in, I found it overstuffed and unwatchable. I saw much of the finale, and honest to God, I couldn’t get any grasp of if these people could, like, sing well. But there were flamethrowers and an army of back-up dancers, so that’s nice.

And even though I’d heard good things about The Voice last year (and watched a few snippets that made me think, “huh, this is interesting”), I didn’t watch it. Perhaps it was out of misplaced, diminishing loyalty to Idol. Perhaps it was because it’s hard to commit to a new reality show that will require roughly six hours a week of dedication (honestly, at the end of each season, every Idol viewer should get 3 credit hours towards a Music Performance or American Studies degree). But I didn’t watch.

But earlier this week, in a fit of boredom and without any intention of a long-term commitment, I finally watched. And wow, all of the singers are actually really good. Huh. No cannon fodder, or tone deaf fame whores? Really? And the judges are engaged and thoughtful, and…wait, you don’t laugh at some of the contestants? You thank them for their time? And the sad backstories are straightforward rather than mind-numbingly manipulative, without any dramatic re-enactments or Ryan Seacrest voiceovers? And there is a Starbucks bar in the waiting room for the auditionees?? (Does Starbucks sponsor the show, or did the producers just put this in? Is this something that can go in a private home? What dimensions are needed? I’m, uh, asking for a friend.)

The Voice, you sneaky little bastard. Just when I thought I’d never love again.

So I’ve officially switched allegiances, b-rollers. And I really miss live-blogging American Idol, but under no circumstances will I be able to do so while retaining any semblance of sanity, nor do you really want to read a live-blog that’s typed entirely in a rage-filled caps lock. So how do we feel about a Voice live-blog or recap, b-rollers? I’m pretty new to the Voice process (I have no idea what the hell happens after this audition round concludes, other than singing), so we can learn together, if we must.

What say you? Anyone watch the show, or willing to tune in with me? Do you prefer a live-blog, sarcastic stream of consciousness-style, or a straight-up recap? The Voice airs on Mondays at 8pm, so let’s take the weekend and decide, but please, share your thoughts in the comments section. And you should maybe be a little bummed that I decided not to start blogging about it until after Cee Lo wore a pair of red sequined pajamas onstage while Christina Aguilera sported the fascinator from Hell. I know…I’m sad, too.


  1. Three cheers for The Voice! As you know, I was never a huge Idol fan (I believe that I watched the season wirh Melinda and summarily stopped watching when she was voted off something like three weeks before the finale) but I did catch a good bit of The Voice last season and was pleasantly surprised. I like the shorter timeframe of the competition, the smaller group of compeitiors and the “face-off” challenges. I’ll watch this season if B-roll does!

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