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Commentary: Real talent allowed to shine in ‘The Voice’

Lauren Creiman, LV Life Editor

The debut of “American Idol” in 2002 created a new model of singing competition that was praised as the contest for the people. The genius behind the show was the opportunity for average Americans to audition and compete for a record deal.

However, “American Idol” has turned away many talented artists due to their age, appearance or personal choices, making it an elitist competition that is not truly representing Americans or giving contestants a fair chance.

Despite its continued success, “American Idol,” which is in its 10th season, may have some serious competition in “The Voice,” a new television show that challenges everything that is wrong with “American Idol.”

“The Voice,” which premiered on NBC on April 26, has an entirely new format that gives contestants a fair chance. The show is comprised of three parts: blind auditions, battle rounds, and live performance shows.

In addition, the show is not ruled by judges, but rather coaches who are successful artists in several genres who are also competing against one another. The show’s coaches are Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.

By replacing judges with coaches, the show allows the contestants to work with talented artists who have a genuine interest in helping them hone their skills. These coaches are responsible for helping the artists they select for their team, something that shows like “American Idol” lack.

The blind auditions are exactly as they sound: contestants audition for the coaches while they have their backs turned. If a coach likes what they hear, they hit a button and their chair spins around to reveal what the contestant looks like.

These auditions set “The Voice” apart from shows like American Idol, which factors appearance into decision-making. By allowing judging to be based solely on voice, this show gives every contest a fair chance to prove themselves and showcase their talent without superficial bias.

Tuesday’s episode marked the beginning of the battle rounds, in which each coach selected two of their team members to sing a duo and battle for their spot on the team.

After each performance, the coach must decide which team member to send home. By the end of the battle rounds, each team of eight singers will be cut to four who will continue to the live performance portion of the show.

“The Voice” offers contestants a fair chance to compete for a record deal with Universal Republic and $100,000. Although the competition may later become more reliant on appearance as the audience becomes involved in the voting process, this show still provides an opportunity that “American Idol” and its copycat shows do not.

As I watched the blind auditions, I found myself cheering for contestants with extraordinary talent who have suffered hardship or have simply not found the success they deserve in the music industry. The appearance of these contestants could not be further from my mind as I watched them perform, something that I believe the creators of the show are hoping all viewers will feel.

Whether “The Voice” will have long-term success like “American Idol” has yet to be determined. However, this show offers its contestants the opportunity that “American Idol” claims to, without the superficial expectations, and we need more shows like this.

Lauren Creiman, a freshman journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at lauren.creiman@laverne.edu.

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