Wednesday, April 27, 2011


"The Voice" wasn't shy about staking its claim as a more legitimate music experience than a certain unnamed talent show, setting the tone for Tuesday's premiere by proclaiming itself a "singing competition unlike any other . . . because it puts vocal ability first."

Before the night was through, we'd been reminded that "on THIS show, only the voice matters." And they wouldn't even show one of the better singers of the night until his song was almost over after telling us, "Let's see if you would push your button . . . BASED on voice alone."

That button is what helps them keep the competition . . . BASED on voice alone.

Four celebrity coaches - Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine - sit with their backs turned to the singers in chairs that look like something dreamed up for a cheesy "Star Trek" knockoff on a public-access channel. Each chair is equipped with a button, and when a coach hears something he or she would like to work with, the button gets pushed, the chair swivels around and the coach gets a first-ever look at the singer.

BASED on voice alone. If more than one coach hits the button, the interested coaches have to lobby for the right to coach that singer and the singer gets to choose which team to join.

Once each team has eight singers, the coaches train and nurture them as they compete. That's why they call them coaches. If it sounds like the rules are the product of a six-year-old's imagination, yeah, I thought that too. But I like that they're keeping the focus on the singing. Nobody wanted to work with the prettiest girl of the night. Because they couldn't see that she was beautiful. I love that.

But the tattooed 41-year-old who looked like she was going trick-or-treating as Rob Halford? She got chosen. BASED on voice alone. What ultimately makes this show more watchable than "Idol," though, is that panel of coaches.

They're just genuinely funny people, especially Shelton and Levine, who told the first singer, "I didn't push my button because you're a better singer than me and I was very upset."

There's already a chemistry, too. They tease each other in a way that doesn't feel contrived or forced, like "Idol" often does. When Shelton mocked Levine at one point, the Maroon 5 singer joked, "If you weren't 6-5, I would kick your ass." But the best part was when Green and Shelton were competing to coach a 16-year-old singer, Xenia Martinez.

Shelton said, "At your age, too much change in your life can be, you know, devastating, and Cee Lo's gonna come dressed in like Batman one day," to which Cee Lo responded, mock-defensively, with, "No, I won't."

Then, after pausing just enough, he said, "No, I can't promise you that. I can't promise you that."

It was great TV. And they managed to dig up some really good singers, including one guy in a cowboy hat who may be signed by now . . . BASED on voice alone.

And he looked the part, which doesn't matter here.

Source: AZCentral

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