It ain’t what it used to be.
And specifically, I’m speaking of the newer breed of music television. You see, when MTV & VH1 left music and video for scripted & unscripted series, there left a void for music television.
And thus was born “reality” music television. Wherein video really did kill the radio star. Where it’s not enough to sing your heart out, you have to be young. And hot. Over 30? Sorry. Not model-hot? Yeah, no thanks. But you, hey, with the adequate voice and the slammin’ bod? Don’t worry, we’ve got Autotune.
I used to watch American Idol but the horrible singers got to be too much. I know many still watch the audition rounds to see/hear the train wrecks that it produces (William Hung, anyone?). But I now know that those singers don’t get to be in front of the judges until several rounds of tryouts. So, these horrible singers who think they’re awesome have seemingly been told by producers and lesser judges (those who come before the marquee named judges) that they are awesome. Which explains why these people are so put out when they are harshly judged, laughed at or dismissed by the celeb judges.
This season might have been different, what with the energy that J Lo and S Ty bring to the panel, but the fact remains that the past “talent” featured in some seasons has been so questionable that I just can’t go back. Oh, there have been some awesome singers (yes, I have Kelly Clarkson on my iTunes) but you have to pick through the not so great singers to find them. And those weeks of singing when the themes are so contrived can take the best of the bunch and reduce them to a pitchy mess. I mean really, how often do artists break from their genre to record in a genre they are completely uncomfortable in? Kind of defeats the purpose.
And, I’ve heard those judges of the past lamenting the fact that the singers might sound good but they don’t look good. They don’t have the right image or clothes or hair or body to really pull off the song that they’re singing. I’m sorry, I thought it was supposed to be a show about music. And singing. And may the best singer win and all that. Sigh.
So when The Voice started advertising, I was skeptical. Another AI clone, I assumed. But this one sounded different. And I watched the first show. And I was hooked.
The show is in the final rounds now and there are 8 amazing singers whose songs have been selling on iTunes. I mean really awesome singers who know their strengths, disagree with their vocal coaches when they don’t like a song choice and they wail on these tunes.
The singers on The Voice are allowed to be artists, and are treated as artists; not as kids trying out for a High School Musical audition, but real artists. They aren’t limited by ridiculous age requirements or who can best sing a disco or country song. They are allowed to be themselves, and they shine.
And another thing The Voice has that AI doesn’t? Frenchie Davis, who was once a part of AI but disqualified for a mistake in her past. I mean really, folks. Anyone who has really lived is going to have an embarrassing moment or two in their past. And we all know that any singer worth their salt has to do some living.
FTR, my top 5 performances from The Voice (so far):
- Dog Days are Over – Vicci Martinez
Florence & the Machine cover that you have to watch. Visually stunning with awesome drums. Vicci is a stomper and I love her.
- The Thrill is Gone – Beverly McClellan
You will never forget Beverly once you see her, and she is a bluesly, hardcore bundle of hot singing.
- Breakeven – Xenia
This uber-shy teenager reminds me of Amy Winehouse, sans heroin.
- Use Somebody – Jared Blake
Yeah, he’s hot but the man can sing & he tears the roof off this sucker.
- Come as You Are – Rebecca Loebe
An amazingly haunting reimagination of a Nirvana classic.
The last 2 of these are not in the finals but still posted some awesome performances.