I”m not a “Dancing with the Stars” fan — D-list celebs learning how to tango? No thanks! — and find everything else on the boob tube Tuesday nights to be totally boring. Until now. Last night, “The Voice,” an “American Idol”-inspired singing competition, debuted, and against my better judgment, I tuned in. So glad I did! For starters, “The Voice” doesn’t bother to show any of the crappy auditions — contestants having already been whittled down to just the best. After all, judges Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, and Blake Shelton are way too busy with their own successful careers to waste time listening to a bunch of talentless losers warble.
But the best part is, this competition is really all about “the voice” and not the looks and “packaging” that gets talented singers eliminated and mediocre people way too far on “Idol.” The judges are actually working as mentors in competition with each other — they are each tasked with assembling a team made up of their eight favorite singers. But first, they have to fight for them. During the blind auditions, the judges had their backs turned — if they liked what they heard enough to want to fight for that singer to be on their crew, they pressed a red button which would spin their chair around. If none of the judges hit their red buttons, that contestant was eliminated. And if multiple judges hit their buttons, the power was suddenly in the contestant’s hands, and they got to choose which judge they wanted to work with.
As a result, I really feel like the talent on “The Voice” is seriously top notch. I loved the adorable folksie hipster husband and wife who duetted on The Swell Season’s “Falling Slowly” (heard in the movie “Once”) and ended up on Blake’s team (above).
I was also stoked on 41-year-old Beverly, with her shaved head and neck tattoos, who totally slayed Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” scoring a chance to work with Christina (above).
But the best part of the whole night was when Frenchie Davis walked out and began singing. Frenchie, some of you my recall, was on the second season of “American Idol” — despite her incredible talent, she was unceremoniously disqualified from the competition when topless photos she had taken years before suddenly surfaced. It was, frankly, bulls**t and many couldn’t help but wonder if Frenchie would have suffered the same fate if she had been, say, skinnier and whiter. Though she’s had a pretty impressive career since — including appearing on Broadway — it was sweet vindication to see Frenchie perform in the blind auditions and land a spot on Christina’s team. I’ll be rooting for her!
Did you watch “The Voice”? What did you think?