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Reality Fix: NBC’s The Voice 

Photo Credit: NBC

NBC’s The Voice premiered Tuesday night on NBC and it’ll be surprising if the show does not hit it big with audiences. There’s a whole lot to love about this new singing competition series. Never thought we needed another one (let alone the upcoming Simon Cowell-backed X-Factor), but the first impressions were good enough for repeat business. I’m already looking forward to the next round of blind auditions and that’s saying a lot because I normally avoid audition rounds like the plague. What’s to love

  • The Button/Big Chair combo. The whole gist of the blind audition portion of the show is the judges have their backs turned to the singers. They won’t know what they look like, they’ll have to judge simply on the vocals. When the judges like what they hear, they push the button and the big chair turns and a sign illuminates saying “I Want You.” I’m already addicted to the push and swivel maneuver. Can’t get enough of it. I really thought it would be gimmicky, and maybe it is, but it still worked for me.
  • The Judges. I didn’t expect to like the judges as much as I did. There’s an instant chemistry that makes them all extremely likable. Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine all have great personalities. What’s really key for me is how the judges are in a competition as well. They have to compete against each other as much as the singers are vying for their approval. This give-and-take element really works. And the judges make it really entertaining, with their playful ways of begging for the singer to choose them as their mentor. The banter between Aguilera and Levine is particularly fun as they harmlessly put each other down to get the contestant’s vote. Cee Lo and Blake Shelton give good TV as well. I really haven’t seen judges gel this well on a reality series in a long, long time. There’s usually a weak link. On this panel, they’re all bringing the excitement and their expertise to the table. But they all have loads of respect for each other too. Plus, I love that this fierce foursome sang Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy” to kick things off at the beginning of the show. It was a nice way to start what could be a success for NBC. Lately, NBC has been really solid with its music competition shows; another one that’s addictive is The Sing-Off. These shows don’t garner American Idol-sized ratings, but they’re massively entertaining.
  • The Singers. None of the singers are truly train wrecks. Even the ones the judges don’t select. Some people make it their mission to tune in for the awful singers, but that’s not entertaining to me. What’s entertaining is seeing these wannabes rise to the challenge; get validated for their hard work, their belief in their talent; and their faith that this is what they’re supposed to do with their lives. I do love seeing their reactions when they see the likes of Blake, Christina, Cee Lo and Adam swivel around during their performance. It makes them feel good, feel wanted, at least for that moment. For some singers, it makes them up their game mid-song; others it makes them a little more nervous. You have to take the bad with the good so when no one turns around and it’s almost the end of the performance, you can see the disappointment on their faces. It’s so sad, but this is a competition, so it’s to be expected.
  • Carson Daly. I’m going on record and saying I was OK with Carson Daly. As host, he was likable, good with the families and managed to give some of his own input on the performances. I look forward to seeing how big of a role he plays as the series goes on. I do think it’s funny that at this year’s Golden Globes, Daly co-hosted the red carpet pre-show for NBC where he interviewed Aguilera. I remember her saying she hadn’t seen the former TRL host in such a long time. And all of a sudden they’re reunited. Love it.

What’s not to love

  • This is a personal choice but I don’t really like how during a performance the action cuts back to the families waiting in the wings. They’re all staring down the judges, hoping they’ll push that button. I don’t know. This is the first season of the show; this feels like an aspect that could potentially get written out in subsequent seasons. The one exception was Javier Colon’s gorgeous family. Those kids were beyond adorable. I was completely OK with them being there for his dad as he came off the stage.
  • I’ve watched a lot of reality shows in my time so I have become sort of desensitized when it comes to hearing the stories behind the singers. I want to get attached to a particular performer based on their vocals, not their stories. Thankfully, the show keeps these segments short.
  • I feel like this audition portion is only going to go a couple episodes and I’m kind of upset by that. I enjoyed the premiere episode so much that I’d love it if it went one or two more episodes beyond that. Just saying.

After one episode, consider me Team Adam. My favorite individual singers were Team Adam’s Javier Colon and Jeff Jenkins; and from Team Cee Lo, Vicci Martinez. She completely blew me away with her rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I also love that former Idol wannabe Frenchie Davis gets a chance at a comeback; she did such a good job. Yes, NBC, I’m hooked.

The Voice airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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