Monday, June 27, 2011

If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out

The Voice: my new favorite summer show. Why? Not only has it reawakened my 17-year-old's crush on Adam Levine, but it has all the makings of a true talent competition: no embarrassing "loser" auditions, bold voices and no pandering to the audience through grating taped segments. And it is quite possibly the most diverse show on TV.

Yes, unlike that celebration of all that is vanilla in the world --ehem, American Idol-- each episode of the Voice is like an understated celebration of diversity. While AI's last big voice, Adam Lambert, had to keep his sexuality a secret (well, only to the absolutely 'dar deficient), I heard more declarations of the phrase "I'm gay" on the first episode of the Voice than I can recall on any other single network TV episode. What's more, two of the finalists, selected by the home viewers, are openly gay women.

Who better to coach than Ms. "Beautiful" herself, Christina Aguilera, and Space Martian Cee-lo Green, ambassadors for the love yourself the way you are message (even when who you are is a hot mess imitation of Lady Gaga - looking at you Xtina). By combining mentors of different genres, an eclectic mix of artists and minimally messing with the artists' brands, the Voice truly seems focused on bringing the next big voice to the forefront instead of churning out forgettable one-hit wonder contenders (anyone remember Lee Dewyze? Didn't think so.). Somehow, I can't see tomorrow night's standout performer becoming the next Where are they Now.

What I respect most about the show is its spirit of collaboration. Here, you have arguably some of the biggest names in the music business hobnobbing with rising talent, teaching them, sharing group numbers with them and inviting them over for dinner at their homes. And it's also refreshing to see that the members of each team genuinely seem to support each other and enjoy listening to the others' music.

Over and over the judges emphasize that beauty lies in the quirkiness of its contestants, and it is exactly this concept that makes the show so beautiful.

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