The Voice Is The Smartest Show on Television

The Voice feels like the future to me. It’s shocking to watch something that feels like it’s catching up to where much of the nation already is. Its energy reminds me of the first Fast and the Furious. Multicultural? Check. Dynamic? Check. No pandering to youth culture? Check. I would be shocked if it didn’t have a diverse producing staff.

You’ve got to love the judges. They’re not just central casting diverse — hollaback JLo, Randy Jackson and Cee Lo — but have a wide range of musical perspectives (Broadway! Hip Hop! Latin! Nashville! R&B! Rock! Pop! World!) and world view. I’m not that fond of Blake Shelton’s aggression snark or the Blake and Adam show, but they are well matched by the chill, unflappable Shakira and Usher. (P.S. Shakira, up your game. Gender’s an issue, but appealing to it directly isn’t a winning strategy. Kill it in the coaching sessions.)

It may be a cynical move on the show’s part, but I don’t care. It feels very, very good to see musical stereotypes being broken: Asian and Blacks singing country, etc.

P.S. Country and gospel have less illegal downloading than other genres. Stars are able to move units for a much longer period of time as well. The equivalent of Reba, Miranda or Chesney in R&B? Pop? Hip Hop? 

Budding talent also should take note of Blake being shocked by a POC singing country. IM Charlie Pride and Darius Rucker; there’s still work to be done. More surprising, but equally instructive? Adam failing to turn around because a well done performance (“I’m Sexy and I  Know It”) was too original.

But the two most radical things about the competition show have nothing to do with breaking stereotypes. They have to do with Hollywood memes that need to die.

The idea of getting mid career artists unstuck? Network tv worships precocity. Its priorities are youth first and youth only, the thrill of the new and discovery. I’m not sure of the Voice’s screening process, but I’m grateful for it. The contestant mockery on Idol leaves me cold. Many of the Voice’s artists have experience. Possessing a minimal level of professionalism make moments of true respect between the judges and contestants possible. That doesn’t suck.

The show breaks the rules of reality tv by occasionally profiling an artist who goes on to lose. Wow, a page right out of Psycho

This one, I’ll watch.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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