American Idol and The Voice represent two of the biggest talent competitions shows on the air. While Idol has earned its reputation as the trendsetter — catalyzing several shows of the same nature — many would argue that Idol has lost its relevance across time.
While American Idol may have been the inspiration behind shows like The Voice, talent competition enthusiasts often argue that the latter’s focus on coaching over judging makes it superior.
The Voice also boasts more followers than Idol on both Instagram and Twitter. Not to mention, the blind auditions — though rumor has it this is a bit of a farce — allow for talent to supersede image, for vocal prowess to come before star-quality. The blind auditions and the focus on sculpting an artist bring a needed degree of humanity and sincerity to The Voice; it feels less subjective and critical and more constructive and insightful.
The question is: If The Voice is better than Idol in terms of relevance and its approach to the competition, in what area does American Idol still come out on top? And why, after all these years, is it foolish to minimize Idol’s competence? American Idol may be old-hat, but it knows how to make a star.
‘American Idol’ knows how to produce an A-lister; does ‘The Voice?’
How many winners of The Voice can you think of off the top of your head? How many platinum-selling , chart-topping songs can you think of that The Voice contestants have recorded? The Voice may be focused on coaching its contestants; however, maybe, the show has been spending too much time drawing attention to the coaches’ dynamics and forgot how to create a mega-successful artist along the way.
When you think about American Idol, several contestants who have attained A-list celebrity status, becoming major influences in their respective genres, immediately come to mind.
Kelly Clarkson: currently a coach on The Voice, a 3-time Grammy winner, 15-time Grammy nominee, and a talk-show host. Carrie Underwood: 5-time Grammy Award winner and 11-time nominee. Adam Lambert: tours with Queen. Jennifer Hudson: actress, singer, and soon to be star of the movie musical Cats (in which she will sing the most famous number, “Memory”). And, let us not forget, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert didn’t even win. Wait, we forget about Jordin Sparks, who just appeared in the title role in Broadway’s Waitress. The list goes on and on.
This is not to say that The Voice has not created its fair share of successful contestants. Cassaddee Pope, Danielle Bradberry, and Jordan Smith have experienced moderate success, but are they household names? Selling a few albums, attracting a following, and touring with a couple of celebrities is not the same as selling out arenas every night, winning multiple Grammy awards, appearing in Oscar-winning films, and starring on Broadway.
Maybe there’s something to be said about American Idol’s mission: it aims to discover a star. The goal is to uncover American’s next idol. On The Voice, the coaches aim to discover and sculpt the next unique voice. However, talent and the potential to succeed don’t always go hand in hand. And maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason Idol was able to make a comeback. When it comes down to it, you can be a singer or you can be a star.