Back in the deep, dark and distant month of April, I took to this particular blog to dissect the premier of a brand new show from NBC called “The Voice.” I wondered if it would work, or for that matter, how long it could possibly stay on television. I knew the network was putting all of its eggs in one basket with this, and I knew that if there was ever going to be one shot that NBC had at regaining at least a little bit of respect in TV land, this was going to have to be it.
Two months later, and I’m not sure what’s more surprising: The show exceeding the network’s expectations or the fact that I still have this job writing for you, the profoundly fantastic blog reader. And it’s because of you — the profoundly fantastic blog reader — that I feel it necessary to weigh in now that the show has finally completed its first season.
Your winner? Javier Colon, or as most of you may know him — the dude the dude from Maroon 5 coached. Should he have won? All reports say yes, though I admittedly didn’t follow the show from its premiere all the way to Wednesday night’s finale. Still, Stevie Nicks’ nearly unwatchable pretentious directing of his final performance of her tear-jerker “Landslide” aside, Mr. Colon can indeed sing. And for a show called “The Voice,” that always helps. (And as an aside, you are going to sit up there and act the way you did after forcing him — the only man left in the field — to take the high harmonies on the song, Stevie? Really? And then split before even at least pretending as though you cared about what had just happened? Goodness. You couldn’t have looked any more detestable).
Who really wins? Well, that’s NBC, of course. The kids are going to take the show on the road now, and if you don’t think “American Idol” has serious competition for the go-to karaoke contest show of choice, your name is probably Steven Tyler. The show single-handedly saved a network in desperate need of a hit (because “Friends” and “Seinfeld” reruns can only take you so far); a singer in desperate need of an audience (and to think you bailed on Rihanna’s tour for tapings of this show, Cee-Lo! You disappoint me, though my love for you will never change); a pop star in desperate need of an intervention (though I still keep reading about how obnoxious you were on set, Ms. Aguilera. You haven’t fooled us yet, Xtina. We know what you were doing during commercial breaks); a lead singer in desperate need of inspiration (remember when you once said your band had only one record left in them, Adam? Now you can’t wait to tour and even took to the studio to manufacture some fly-by-night joke single with your new arch nemesis. It’s fairly obvious Maroon 5 continues to make music as long as “The Voice” continues to stay on the air); and a country singer in need of … wait …who is Blake Shelton again?
Anyways, the social media trick worked. As was brought to my attention last night by the fabulous fellow copy desk-er Melissa Newman, one of the things that factored into the voting was the amount of sales an artist could generate on iTunes. How cool is that? Honestly, though. To think that type of thing can play such a role in the outcome of some reality show contest is beyond innovative at this point. Welcome to 2011, friends. Technology can work wonders.
As Rob Sheffield wrote in his Rolling Stone column a few weeks back:
“Everybody expected a flimsy ‘American Idol’ knock-off. But instead, ‘The Voice’ has turned out to be a brilliant surprise. The ingenious team format pumped new life into the singing-contest formula, from the blind auditions to the cage-match sing-off duets. It has the excitement and sparkle of a true pop event.”
He’s right. The show had every reason to fail, yet it somehow rose from the ashes in a way that was fairly unprecedented. One has to wonder how much of a shelf life the show may actually have. Without appearing too cynical, if these pop stars on the verge of falling away from pop star status want to continue their recent return to unabashed pop stardom, one has to think said pop star would continue to be a pop star instead of sitting backwards to a group of nobobys who would kill for a record contract. The resolution? Try switching up the panel every season. Why not? If you are a show that makes its money off the notion of being innovative, “The Voice,” then why not take it a step further and see what John Mayer, Robyn, Rev. Run and, well, Blake Shelton are up to in a few months? Besides, you really think Aguilera will stay out of rehab between now and the beginning of the next season, anyways?
All joking aside, the show was a massive success, and to be honest, it’s even a little nice to see exactly how successful it has become (especially for Carson Daly, whose late-night show really has been dead in the water for years). Kudos to you, NBC, and kudos to you, Javier Colon, for winning the first ever season of “The Voice.” Your move, “American Idol.”