June 29, 2011

The Voice: Awesome in More Ways than One

Last night was the final competition round for The Voice, a show I started to watch after NBC promo'd it to hell and back using the gimmicky chair swivels. What can I say? Worked for me. Add to that Adam Levine, whom I've crushed on for years—and doesn't he just keep getting more and more gorgeous with age?—and Ceelo Green ("Crazy" and "Fuck You" are two of my favorite songs), and, obviously I'm there. Rachael came home from college after the first couple of episodes, and quickly became hooked. We now watch it together, faithfully, every week...usually joined by my husband, who sometimes watches it from his study as he's Working on Stuff. And this is why it's awesome...

Awesome #1: For those of you with decent relationships with your kids throughout the tough years, well, this won't make much sense to you, but for those who struggled...and I've recounted our struggles on both blogs...sitting down week after week and watching a TV show that we all enjoy is a relatively novel experience for us. I inherited negativity from my mom, and passed it along to my daughter, although she swears I'm the only one who calls other shows "stupid." We have a running gag in our house that whenever she deems a show or somebody on a show stupid, I say, "You are not allowed to say anything negative." That never happens on The Voice. All there is, in fact, is discussion during commercials, and though I'm not a Beverly fan, I feel the need to stick up for her because Rachael and her dad really don't like her. So the world doesn't need another Melissa Etheridge, okay, but I don't think the world needs a new Pat Benatar or Joan Jett either, nor does it need, in Dia and Xenia mashed up, another Nora Jones. What it does need, however, is the angelic voice of Javier, who shares certain qualities with Aaron Neville, but adds the sex of Seal and so much more. (That's not to say I didn't love Dia's renditions of "Heartless" and "Losing my Religion," or won't look forward to a slightly older Xenia when she learns to become comfortable in her own skin.)

Awesome #2: The best singers actually made it to the finals...and presumably, the best will win. With the exception of the early years on American Idol, which I stopped watching years and years ago, many of the most talented finalists don't actually win. Between that problem and the interminable audition shows, of which more and more were tacked on as the show became a juggernaut, I found that by the time I stopped watching AI, it had become a parody of itself. I understand this season's episodes were an improvement, but that again, the most talented singer did not win. Contrast that with The Voice, which weeded out the ridiculous and through the coaching versus judging experts, we saw not only Xtina's boobage each and every week on display, but more importantly, the development of true talent...and that Adam Levine is a very smart Jewish boy who knows how to play a game.

Awesome #3: Most of the original song performances of last night showcased how shitty "A Moment Like This" really was. How many of you remember that as Kelly Clarkson's first single? It sucked big time; had she not had Clive Davis behind her (who tried and nearly derailed her career a few years later when she had the temerity to state the obvious), she might never have gone on to "Miss Independent," "Break Away," and "Since U Been Gone." None of the original songs last night are going to end up on my iPod, but they weren't treacle either.

Awesome #4: All the coaches with the exception of Christina Aguilera entertained me, and all have real knowledge of music, the history of music, and how, for the most part, to help their contestants shine. Whether it was Ceelo Green channeling Mad Max and King Kamahamaha in his duet last night with Vicci, Adam's one-liners, or Blake's wearing his fondness for Xenia and Dia on his sleeve, I loved to watch them. Yes, they didn't offer a lot of criticism on performance nights, but they weren't acting as judges on television. They were acting as coaches, and coaches do a lot of praising. When they showed the actual coaching sessions, you saw the coaching, the suggestions and changes, and the song choices, although I don't know, truly, how much input they had into those. The three male coaches charmed me; Christina Aguilera was a camera hog and it seemed to me, insecure about herself among her male counterparts. She also failed to initially choose a wide variety of finalists, which hurt her in the end. As for last night, how smart was Adam Levine that he chose a song sure to highlight Javier's abilities, even at the expense of his own? I love Levine, but he knows his limitations, and unlike Shelton, whose powerhouse of a voice drowned out Dia in their duet, he put his ego aside so that his finalist might win, even if voters were not supposed to consider the duets.

I'm sure there are more reasons why The Voice Is Awesome, but I need to read a book about a goblin now.


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