Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

I have to be honest; I did not watch the first three seasons of the U.S. version of The Voice on NBC. I was, however, always drawn to the idea of the show.  For those of you who do not watch it, the contestants come on stage and sing to the backs of the four judges. The point is that each judge hears the voice of the contestant without being distracted by looks or demeanor, which in itself is a very noble concept.  As Shakira said, “There is no prejudice involved. And that is very refreshing.”

If the judge likes a singer, he or she turns around. If more than one judge likes a singer, the singer can choose which judge will be their coach for the rest of the competition.  This season, the judges are Adam Levine and Blake Shelton along with the two new additions of Shakira and Usher.

The blind auditions, as they are called, are very pleasing to watch.  The singers are talented and often grab the attention of more than one judge, causing them to duke it out for the position of coach.  Imagine being fought over by Usher or Shakira.  My heart would melt.

It must be the absolute best feeling in the world for a judge to turn around.  It would be like visiting the college that proves it is best for you, after competing with other universities for your enrollment.

It must be extremely disheartening if the judges take a while to turn around, but most singers keep going and finish their songs strong.

I am not an expert on reality singing shows, nor have I ever participated in any competitive singing of any kind.  I am, however, a pretty experienced TV watcher, majoring in situational comedies without laugh tracks.  Competitive singing or reality shows usually do not capture my interest the way this season of The Voice did. It is one of my favorite things right now.  I really just want to be entertained and see talented people get the exposure they deserve.  It is pretty inspiring. Thus far, the season has proven to be perfect in so many ways.

One of my favorite things about the show is that the competitors have already made it through open call auditions, so they know they are good.  They are comfortable and confident and often have performed before.  Unlike American Idol and the X Factor, every single singer has potential and has a nice environment with a smaller audience to make him or her feel more comfortable.  I really disliked watching bad auditions from those other shows because I think they are a waste of time. People seem to really enjoy the train wrecks who give horrible auditions, though. There are hundreds of YouTube compilations. But that makes me uncomfortable.

Another reason that I love the show is that the judges are so playful and their banter is hilarious.  The judges interrupt each other and joke around.  I love watching Shakira think of new ways to try to distract the contestants from picking other mentors over her. Shakira is adorable, Usher and Adam are pretty suave and Blake is lovably cocky. They also tweet during the shows, which makes the viewers at home feel more involved in the process.  The judges are ultimately very supportive of each other, unlike Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey or Simon Cowell and everybody else in the world. You often hear Adam tell a competitor that he is in good hands with Shakira and that he made the right decision. And when the judges really love a competitor, the person they choose is allowed to be cocky and do a little dance.

But they always give the singer a hug before he or she leaves the stage.  The judges know that they will develop a meaningful relationship with the singers and hope that they can give the best advice possible to help them win the competition.  The judges also really believe in the heart of the show, and in interviews talk about how great it is to work with such talented musicians.

I also feel that Blake, Adam, Shakira and Usher are just nicer people than most of the hosts of other competitions now.  And although Carson Daly is the host, we see less of him than we see of Ryan Seacrest on Idol. So that’s a plus.

I know that these shows are a huge commitment, but I am not asking you to watch many segments after the blind auditions.  I am not even sure if I would have time.  Maybe finding out the winner of the season or picking a favorite contestant would pique my interest, and persuade me to continue watching the show through the duration of the season. Until then, the show is perfect for a study soundtrack.

The people who sing on stage really are very talented and have interesting stories.  The four judges are so completely different but work off each other very well. They have the interests of the singers at heart.  Between commercial breaks, a new singer comes to the stage and blows them away. I love seeing some of my favorite artists act like one of us. I love seeing them get excited about a diamond in the rough. And for those contestants who are able to pick a coach and continue with competition, it is even more satisfying to see them so happy.

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