Why The Voice Will Never Produce A Star

When The Voice premiered in the Netherlands just three years ago, it smashed Idol and X Factor in the ratings. The allure of gimmicky spinning chairs, cheesy battle rounds and an assurance that it is "all about vocal talent" made it event TV. That is exactly what The Voice is, excellent family viewing...and by excellent I mean not as loved as Britain's Got Talent.

How can you not be drawn in by the suspense of it all - I know I was. As soon as Jane Doe smashes it with an Earth shattering belter of a note, those chairs come spinning right round...baby, right round like a record baby. It's just a pity that alumni from The Voice fail to sell many records and on a global scale, haven't quite yet found their Kelly Clarkson or Leona Lewis.

Ask yourself this question pop music fans. As I type this One Direction have just scored the fastest selling album in the UK this year with "Midnight Memories" becoming their third definitive hit in 3 years. Why does the mainstream love them so much? Their stage presence, cheeky personalities and overall look perhaps? Maybe it's the way they draw in the crowd in and interact with fans on social media - the industry is changing after all.

Well, the correct answer is yes to everything. That is the crux of the pop music, it is all about the facade and the 'product' that is being sold. The One Direction boys have good voices, good enough to carry their songs around the world on sell out tours. But no one will ever remember One Direction for being outstanding vocalists and that is the most important thing to remember. The same can be said about the Spice Girls, but they are undeniably part of the pop elite. It isn't all about the voice. I think that is the fundamental flaw in the premise of The Voice. It is impossible not to be intrigued by the spinning red chairs and the idea that the coaches are picking vocalists purely based on their singing talent. Thats we all want nowadays isn't. The underdogs with amazing talent the world can adore, being thrust onto a massive stage. It makes us feel good about ourselves, because we are celebrating genuine talent and that's how the industry SHOULD be right? Actual singers belting out the big notes and incredible musicians with memorable tones and layers to their craft. But this just isn't the case. As viewers and consumers of music, it isn't enough for us to be satisfied with a great vocal performance. We buy into everything about an artist. We watch their interviews, buy their calendars and their branded products. It is all about the personality and aura around an artist, with vocals coming second. Britney Spears didn't get a two year Planet Hollywood Las Vegas residency because of her industry leading range and solid falsetto. But her tabloid interaction, that girl-next-door charm and her fascinating personal life make her the perfect pop star. In the US, The Voice airs twice year and has already completed it's 5th season. Arguably, the biggest success stories from that show are Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, who have enjoyed an unprecedented resurgence in their careers. Christina has leveraged her on air time to appear as a featured artist on some of the biggest tracks of the last year including smash "Feel This Moment". Adam and his band Maroon 5 have not faltered yet this decade, with every single released being as loved as the last.
The format of the show leaves something to be desired. Contestants win a trophy, a recording contract but are quickly forgotten. The Voice production crew create a spectacle, but not national event TV. In addition there are too many contestants for viewers to become connected in the same way as Idol or the X Factor. The battle-rounds see the elimination of multiple contestants an episode and the live shows see at least 2 cut every week - it is certainly a ruthless way of doing things. The battle rounds are particularly ridiculous, because contestants in their own team are pitted against each other. This could mean that far superior contestants are being eliminated, just because they ended up in a coaches team with better singers. In addition, favouritism could arise because the coaches can choose which singers battle each other. If they have a planned look for their final team, they could easily make it happen at the battle stage. The competition isn't finding the next-big-thing because of these format constraints. Adam Levine, a coach on the US version, has commented on The Voice's apparent inability to create long lasting talent. He said: "We totally understand because of the comparisons that might exist out there, why it might seem to be a failure on the show's part. The immediacy of winning and becoming a huge star is a fairytale that we would love to see take place, but it's still a fairytale." Of course The X Factor and Idol have had their misses. The likes of Leon Jackson and Shane Ward from X Factor and Lee Dewyze from American Idol are far from A-list. But by season 3, both of those shows had produced definitive chart topping global superstars, that are still enjoying success today. The impact of The X Factor and Idol are felt across the industry and there hasn't been one winners single from X Factor that hasn't topped the chart in the UK. Leanne Mitchell's debut from the Voice UK had to settle for an underwhelming number 45. I predict that The Voice will fail to replicate the same level of success and will remain strictly a television show, that aids in the career promotion of the coaches and NOT the contestants.
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Sometime law student with a passion for writing & a love for British pop. English blood with Aussie upbringing. An avid Tweeter and you can find me @JonoGibson