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March 12, 2012 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Simon Cowell (aka 'Karaoke Sauron') has for some time dominated Saturday nights on UK TV, but he now faces a challenge...

BBC's The Voice (in which singers will be selected unseen by the judges, ie by 'voice' alone) brings together the plucky fellowship of Will.i.am (fee £1/2m), Tom Jones (fee £1/4m), Jesse J (£about the same) and Some Other Bloke (£less but still lots) who will try and take down the Dark Lord. Some have complained about the expense of bringing together such a team of talents but they do have an interesting ally.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jones and his fellow panellists – or "coaches", in the parlance of the show – get to see what the singers look like only after they are chosen.

I am quite sure I once caught a glimpse of another show that does this.
posted by vidur at 12:19 PM on March 12, 2012


Jones and his fellow panellists – or "coaches", in the parlance of the show – get to see what the singers look like only after they are chosen.

I am quite sure I once caught a glimpse of another show that does this.


Nevermind, I think it was the US version of the same show.
posted by vidur at 12:24 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sir Tom Jones?!?

I don't know whether to be excited or dejected!
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:36 PM on March 12, 2012


What your TV license pays for....
posted by smackfu at 12:37 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, how commercially successful have the x-factor winners been? Their names aren't household words here in the States, but are they popular in the UK and Europe?
posted by zarq at 12:38 PM on March 12, 2012


Leona Lewis is the big winner, including the U.S. Her big single was "Bleeding Love". JLS was a runner-up and are a very big boy band, although that genre doesn't seem to make it in the US anymore.

The winners are usually forgettable, but their initial singles (invariably covers) sell very well in the UK.
posted by smackfu at 12:46 PM on March 12, 2012


I'm not big TV watcher and I've always kind of hated American Idol, especially for the mean-spirited early episodes. The US version of 'The Voice' is a breath of fresh air in that regard. It's much more positive and fun (Cee-lo Green's presence on the judging panel is worth it alone IMHO).

The other thing that's great about it is that the judges are also the coaches, so there's an interesting dynamic of wanting these people do well. It's pretty fun.

Oh and some of diva-like singing battles can get quite epic.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:51 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


will.i.am.the.1.percent?
posted by rh at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2012


Unfortunately, the American version is losing one of the things that made it good -- its pace. The starting cast is already 50% larger. Now that they're at the battle rounds, they only have three per hours instead of four. I have some fear that the creep will continue.
posted by parliboy at 1:03 PM on March 12, 2012


The few times I have seen the Voice (my toddler likes the singers), it was much better than the few times I've seen American Idol.
I think a large part of it is, as mentioned above, that the judges genuinely want to see the candidates succeed. They're picking people to work with, not just picking people to kick off.

There is still too much backstage nonsense and filler, but a definite improvement.
What I'd like to see next is for them to pick a slate of candidates and work with all of them throughout the show, rather than sending one home every night. It'd be nice to see someone progress through the season rather than have an off night (or song) and be done.
In short, stop voting people off the island.
posted by madajb at 1:14 PM on March 12, 2012


'Karaoke Sauron': Now that's funny.
posted by Mcable at 1:19 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


madajb: The few times I have seen the Voice (my toddler likes the singers), it was much better than the few times I've seen American Idol.
I think a large part of it is, as mentioned above, that the judges genuinely want to see the candidates succeed. They're picking people to work with, not just picking people to kick off.


That, and the only contestants the TV audience (and probably the studio audience) ever sees have already cleared some review process. They're all decent singers. And because they're blind auditions, there aren't the same gimmicks you might see on American Idol.

smackfu: The winners are usually forgettable, but their initial singles (invariably covers) sell very well in the UK.

That's the problem with all of these pop singer shows: they ride on name recognition of the judges, the reality TV drama (which is less ridiculous on The Voice), and the audience's familiarity with the original songs that these singers cover. This dooms the performers, because they aren't riding solely on their own strengths, so the easiest path is to make a (short) career of singing cover songs. Some contestants were small-time musicians previously, selling a few of their own EPs or albums, and now those will sell a lot more than before, but I don't think that has ever really translated into long-term success. To be honest, the only reality show singer I can think of is Adam Lambert, and that's because he's doing a lot more than singing these days.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on March 12, 2012


I think American Idol quite desperately misses Simon Cowell. It's becoming clearer and clearer that the current AI judges have little actual input in the competition, and are basically the puppets of a larger corporate mastermind wanting to spawn another gravelly-voiced, white, male "rocker", who can sing formerly popular female vocals with a growl. Cowell brought diversity to that show, but I think is killing the genre now by jumping ship and taking a talent-show competition to a millionaire round-table bickering argument-fest. I doubt that adding a new format will fix the issues being introduced by his changes, but more dilution to an already tired field.
posted by Metro Gnome at 1:57 PM on March 12, 2012


To be honest, the only reality show singer I can think of is Adam Lambert, and that's because he's doing a lot more than singing these days.

Plus the biggies from American Idol, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. But that's pretty ancient history at this point, they are doing it on their own at this point.
posted by smackfu at 2:31 PM on March 12, 2012


It's actually interesting to see the US EXPORT a reality show. Everything from Survivor to Dances With The Stars has been imported, almost always from European originals.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:49 PM on March 12, 2012


Susan Boyle is always topping the British charts still isn't she?

Last week while watching The Voice it struck me that both of Blake Shelton's assistant coaches, Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert, achieved fame through a competition singing show.

Some of them I guess you could say make their career with cover songs. Adam Lambert is now leading Queen. J.D. Fortune, winner of the first season of RockStar, was lead singer of INXS for six years. All a step up from singing on cruise ships.

I love reality singing competitions. I've watched a lot of them. I keep waiting to be burnt out on them but it hasn't happened yet. I love vocalists and the voice is my favorite instrument. American Idol was my favorite for a long time although it's been a few years since I watched it.

I followed the careers of many contestants. Katherine McPhee stars in Smash, which is a new hit tv show (and it's a musical I think). Jennifer Hudson is a major star. I see Fantasia won her first Grammy last year.

Then there are a lot of people who don't become big stars and lose that national recognition but their careers improve. I don't know what Chris Daughtry is doing now but probably not a salesman. Elliott Yamin I find very inspirational, as he went directly from being a lazy layabout part-time pharmacy tech to having the highest-charting indie debut album of all time and still touring and making his living through music. I try to catch him when he has a show here because I like his soulful voice.

I'm thankful to all these shows for helping to keep vocal prowess in the limelight for just a while longer.
posted by Danila at 3:06 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


At what point does a "singing show" lose its right to be called a singing show? The Voice here is like 8 minutes of singing per show, if that!
posted by thorny at 3:59 PM on March 12, 2012


It's actually interesting to see the US EXPORT a reality show.
't Is a Dutch invention, from the same people who gave world Big Brother, exported to the US and many countries more.
posted by ijsbrand at 4:24 PM on March 12, 2012


I thought I was pretty much done with reality singing competitions when I finally gave up on the grand pomposity of American Idol after Simon Cowell left, but I have to confess to having gotten hooked into The Voice this season.

Maybe it's just "shiny new thing"-syndrome, but it has a few advantages that make it preferable to AI for my tastes:

1) No obviously staged "bad" auditions where you as the viewer are expected to participate in this ruse where we all pretend that these awful singers are sincere and not going into the auditions with the sole intent of being as horrible as possible for the chance at a few minutes of TV time

2) The gimmick of the blind audition is ridiculously compelling. I never thought waiting to see if someone would press a button could be so intense.

3) Unlike virtually every other competition show on TV, there is no tired attempt to have a designated "mean" judge (although I guess this is the case with AI now as well from what I hear) and instead you get the sense that all of the coaches are genuine in their comments instead of trying to fulfill a role (but with still enough head scratching decisions to keep things interesting, such as wondering what possible rationale Blake Shelton could have for putting RaeLynn through over Adley Stump)
posted by The Gooch at 11:16 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


't Is a Dutch invention, from the same people who gave world Big Brother

Yeah, sorry about that, though in our defence, Big Brother was a show in some scandinavian country first...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:38 PM on March 12, 2012


I don't know what Chris Daughtry is doing now but probably not a salesman

He's doing pretty well too.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:52 AM on March 13, 2012


The US winners don't really cross over here - Carrie Underwood and that Adam guy are pretty unknown unless you read the Daily Mail. One winner here - can't even remember his name - failed to get the Christmas No.1 (a big deal here) thanks to a campaign to get Killing In The Name Of to No.1, and his career never really recovered.

Susan Boyle was from Britain's Got Talent, which is slightly different. The X Factor is the latest incarnation of a show called Popstars, then Pop Idol, which was very much about image as well as voice - auditionees were rejected for being taller than average (for a girl band) or having the wrong look. BGT is more your old fashioned variety show, so there;s more scope for the less polished and moisturised contestants to get further. Funnily enough, I saw on the news at lunch that the Susan Boyle Musical is soon tobe with us.
posted by mippy at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2012


i loOooOoove The Voice (but for the nights it collides with a BULLS or KNICKS game). Xtina's divaness really grows on you: we've been learning everything about pitch & phrasing with her. CeeLo is worth the price of admission. Adam is so picky, it's painful and Blake is really friggin' adorable.

i really dont watch any shows outside of NBA games & the occasional cable show. this is the first time in probably over a decade am actually trying to watch a TV network show on the day it comes out.

i like the show and even livetweet once in a while.
posted by liza at 8:11 PM on March 13, 2012


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