The Voice: What's Going Wrong

Three words: failure of premise. The Voice was supposed to be a revolutionary music contest where singers were judged only by their voices. Only if they managed to grab the attention of one of four judges would they be allowed to move on and fight for America's vote.

The next round is the Battle Round, where each judge pits two of their own singers against each other for a slot on the live voting shows. They choose the better singer based on a duet performance of a hit song and everyone's happy. Right?

Wrong. The judges let the visuals guide every decision last Tuesday. In three of the four battles, the more conventionally attractive singer--regardless of vocal ability--was picked. In the other battle, where both women were roughly equal on looks (and why judge Christina Aguilera placed them together), the singer who already has a successful entertainment career was chosen over the singer with a much stronger vocal performance.

I'm a big fan of Frenchie Davis. I was excited when I heard she was going to be on the show. But let's break this down. Tarralyn went a bit off the rails on her verse, losing herself in improvisation. Frenchie nailed her verse. Frenchie never quite reached the right now on her part of the bridge, consistently going flat at the top of the vocal pattern like "Don't, treat me to." Taralyn never lost the pitch the rest of the song. Taralyn moved around the stage and sang some sick harmonies while Frenchie got lost a few times and barely came in for the final chorus. I'd say Taralyn clearly won, but Christina picked Frenchie.

The worst case of appearance over talent was in Adam Levine's battle between Casey and Tim. Adam Levine previously mentioned he needed a girl on his team and accidentally picked Tim because of his higher voice. Tim is older and less marketable but is a phenomenal vocalist. Casey is an inexperienced high school student with a pleasant voice. Who wins?

The pretty little white girl with the country twang that puts dollar signs in Adam Levine's eyes, of course.

There's an easy solution to this for future seasons of The Voice. Don't let the actual judges see the battle rounds. They can sit in the big chairs facing the audience and take their notes while their mentor--the celebrity singers sitting next to the judges--can advise them on stage presence and performance. The judge then has to blindly pick the better singer in the battle. Their fellow judges do not get to comment on the battle until afterwards. This way, the best singers have a better chance of going through to the voting rounds where America will undoubtedly pick a bland white guy with a guitar to win because he's omg so hot.

I'll leave you with the awesome battle of Pink's "Fuckin' Perfect" from Cee-Lo's team. It's awesome. It's everything that's right about this show until the judging. Contemporary music, strong singers, appropriate production values, live band. More of this, less of the break the premise nonsense.

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