The Voice has been on the air for seventeen glorious seasons, and the show has already been renewed for an 18th with newcomer Nick Jonas set to replace Gwen Stefani (following her brief stand-in for Adam Levine).
When it comes to talent competition shows, The Voice is one of the most relevant, as the show boasts over five million followers on Twitter, compared to American Idol’s 2.03 million and America’s Got Talent 882 thousand. The Voice also boasts more followers than both of these shows on Instagram. One thing The Voice doesn’t struggle with: attracting and retaining viewership.
When The Voice first premiered, the show marketed itself as an untainted and sincere talent competition, promising fans blind auditions; this way, coaches would not be swayed by the presence or lack thereof of visual star quality. Following American Idol’s focus on the latter part of its title, viewers felt this was a refreshing change of pace. The show would discover the best voice, the most vocally impressive, the strongest belt, and the sickest falsetto, right? Not exactly.
With time, it has become quite obvious to fans that The Voice does not find the best singer. The Voice is not going to put out the next Barbra Streisand, the next Judy Garland, or the next Whitney Houston. As a matter of fact, The Voice does not wish to produce “the next” anyone.
The focus on ‘The Voice’
Fans have noticed that, quite often, coaches will let the best singers go. The coaches will dismiss some of the most well-trained vocalists who could blow the others out of the water, leaving fans to wonder why. In a discussion on why The Voice is not about the best voice, fans explained the apparent paradox.
Noting the show’s tendency to focus on artists with room for growth, artists who possess a unique sound or stylistic approach, fans realized that the show is about finding an original and coachable voice.
The show is about finding a singer with a unique sound, capable of cementing their own presence, rather than trying to live up to various vocal powerhouses or an endless list of jazz legends who came before. These original singers are objectively not the best; they are the best given the coaches’ goals. One fan explained:
…You can be a great singer, but if you’re just another cookie cutter artist with no distinction from every other dime a dozen performer you’re probably going home. I knew Chevel was gonna win super early just because no one else had anything unique.Reddit User
While the above statement may highlight the show’s intended goal, many fans chimed in to argue that the show does not fulfill on this promise, as they draw attention to artists who have been adulated, yet seem to lack a differentiating factor.
The Voice may be striving to discover America’s next new sound, but sometimes, the coaches falter, putting out a winner who isn’t all that unique, and isn’t all that impressive. Having a goal is necessary, but you must fulfill that goal to build a reputation. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason more singers from American Idol have become household names.