If you tune into NBC for more than three seconds you are bound to see a promo for The Voice, a show that claims to be nicer than American Idol. What else sets it apart? Judges nobody cares about and singers who may be ugly. At least that's what I get from the commercials. I haven't watched the show and have no desire to do so. The TV ads tell me everything I need to know.
I know these talent shows appeal to a certain segment of society, and I know they help keep television writers out of work. I know family and friends of contesants love tuning in to see if they'll win, and then get their towns to hold celebrations if their favored son or daughter moves up far enough in the competition. The world loves an underdog. The world hates George Michael. It makes for compelling television on some level. It has little to do with the music or the art behind it. This is entertainment.
In the end, shows like The Voice are quite harmless. They do their job, and the "artists" they produce are usually forgettable after a few years. Some have gone on to some degree of fame, which makes you wonder if they would have ever had the opportunity otherwise (doubtful knowing how the world of music works). For the most part, however, these souls are forgotten by the time the next inevitable season starts, only to merit a nod once the flashback episode arrives.
Will The Voice lead to a promising career for its winner? The only person who cares about that is the soon-to-be champion. The rest of the world will move on, and that is perhaps the truest lesson that can be learned from this show. These musicians are disposable. They are fodder. They are the filler in between ads for Dodge Chargers and iPads. They may think they are more than that, but in the end, that is all they are to the executives at NBC. Who would've thought the world of television and music would have so much in common?
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