‘The Voice’ Takes Off

NBC aired its premiere of “The Voice.” Yes, it’s another reality TV show, but before you write it off, hear me out.

It takes a different turn from “American Idol.” Instead of judges, it has four coaches in artists from different genres: Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) and Blake Shelton. These four have the task of forming a group of 8. A singer does their thing while the coaches have their backs turned. When the coaches hear the kind of talent they’d like to work with, they press a button. Then, the tables (or chairs) literally turn.

'The Voice' coaches

If more than one coach chooses the same performer, they then have to compete to convince that performer to work with them. “The Voice” has three stages of competition: the blind audition, the battle phase and the live performance shows.

Ok, this sounds kind of gimmicky, and I’m not a huge advocate for reality TV, but I was curious enough in the premise to check it out. And I liked it. (This is coming from a non-“Idol” viewer.)

A lot of things made news with “Idol.” It was a big deal when Fantasia won because she was a single mother, and it’s “American Idol.” There was a lot of flack when Kris Allen won over Adam Lambert – some fans said Lambert lost because he was openly gay, wore eyeliner and nail polish. Then there was the case when Frenchie Davis, a talented singer (who performed in “Rent” on Broadway in 2003) was disqualified as a semi-finalist  because she disclosed to the show’s producers about topless photos that had been taken of her when she was 19. “American Idol” determined that because it was a family show, it would be inappropriate to have her continue as a contender. (It should be noted that in 2007, a similar situation occurred with “Idol” competitor, Antonella Barba, and she was not disqualified.)

Lambert, Seacrest, Allen

Frenchie showed up on “The Voice,” and she’s now on Christina Aguilera’s team. I like that the artists’ past, their race, gender, age, sexual orientation are all stripped from the process, and it’s not about who’s the most marketable or how badly they need to be Photoshop-ped.

As with all reality TV, the show may take a turn for the ick, but I appreciate that when you don’t have “American” or “Idol” attached to the title, you don’t have disregard talent for what “America can handle.” And on a lighter note, if any of you were wondering what happened to former TRL host, Carson Daly. He’s no longer rolling his eyes at tweens screaming for The Backstreet Boys. He’s reprising Ryan Seacrest’s role as the one-dimensional guy in the green room for “The Voice.”

I don’t know if I’ll keep up with the show, but I appreciate the premise.

Watch the first episode and view photos here.

Did you watch “The Voice” on Tuesday night? Whaddya think so far?