The Voice. What a show. All those people plucked from obscurity and selected from ‘blind auditions’ to compete in the BBC’s answer to The X Factor. One will go on to win, but all will have gained something from the experience – in a way everybody wins! And that is why The Voice infuriates me.
I will be honest, I am not a big fan of talent shows. I have never managed to watch a whole episode of The X Factor– reality TV shows in general do not particularly interest me. But since being at university, there have been situations in which I have ended up watching things that I would not have normally watched. This is how I was exposed to The Voice.
As much as I loathe The X Factor and its set up auditions and exploitation of those who are not so musically gifted, at least it is honest – it is not self-indulgent and it does not pretend that the music industry is anything more than nasty. The Voice, however, could not be more different. After every performance, even auditions in which none of the judges turn around they undergo what can only be described as ‘group masturbation’. Kylie will tell the failed contestant how ‘great’ they are and how it was not the ‘right time’, then will.i.am, Ricky and Sir Tom will all take it in turns to apologise for not pressing a button and turning round.
Could they be more patronising? If the judges don’t like a contestant’s singing, then they should at least have the decency to tell them. The pernicious deceptiveness of the judges never ceases to amaze me. At least Simon Cowell, for all his sins (many, many sins), at least, at least he is honest. If he thinks you sang like a five year old at a school play then he tells you.
The show stinks to high heaven of wishy washy liberal indifference, with cries of “it’s the taking part that counts” and “everyone is a winner”. No, no they aren’t. The fact of the matter is, although no viewer of The Voice who is even slightly convinced by it would ever realise, the music industry is tough. Less than one per cent of anyone attempting to succeed will ever actually do so – so why can we not just be honest to these people? Why does The Voice insist on plaguing these people with a false sense of hope? I admit some people on that programme are exceptional but many are instantly forgettable – at least The X Factor manages to ground them in the brutal reality of the music industry, perhaps one of the most exploitive of the arts.
I have all the respect in the world for people who wish to pursue their dream, but achieving ones dreams is not easy. It is wrong to deceive anyone into thinking it is. If you have lots of talent and work exceptionally hard the harsh reality is you probably will still not achieve the fame and fortune that you desire.
As much as I despise the musical homogeneity that plagues these talent shows, if you do not have a ‘voice’ that impresses the four star judges you are unlikely to succeed in the industry. Instead of giving you a lot of BS and apologising that you are not good enough, The Voice should have a judge willing to tell the contestants the cold hard truth. And if it did, then perhaps I would respect it even if I do not like it.