American Idol vs. The Voice

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Music, TV Shows
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I’m going to state right here, right now that I am not a big fan of American Idol. I don’t particularly have anything against it; I just don’t really enjoy watching it. I did love the first season, and I still enjoy some of Kelly Clarkson’s music. I’m really glad that she’s been able to be as successful as she has. But after that, I pretty much stopped watching. I caught clips here and there, but nothing kept my attention. Other than Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert, I can’t even tell you who has won any of the other Idol seasons. (What’s that? Oh, Adam didn’t even win? My bad.)

Taken in Ireland at a performance/dinner we attended.

So, as much as I don’t care about American Idol, I was surprised that The Voice caught my attention…and kept it. My favorite thing about this show is the blind auditions – the judges can ONLY judge you on your voice, not on your looks. And let’s talk about the judges a little bit, shall we? I love Christina Aguilera’s music, and I’ll admit that she was a big reason why I tuned in to watch the first episode last year. I also love Maroon 5, and I can’t get “Forget You” out of my head all day if I hear it on the radio. Oh, and, um, Blake. Yeah, I don’t listen to country music. Now, before you hang me out to dry, just know this…I love this guy. I became of fan of him because of this show. I follow him on Twitter and everything.

So, let me give you a run down about why I like The Voice better than American Idol. I’m not trying to start anything here, and I don’t like the comparison any more than diehard fans of either show. I just want to share my opinion and hopefully get some casual Idol watchers to fall in love with The Voice like I did.

American Idol is all about weeding through the average Joe to find that next big star. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but after ten years I’m a little tired of some of the contestant’s antics. I literally cannot look at the TV when someone is trying so hard to sing well and is just not pulling it off.

The Voice, on the other hand, has already screened the contestants that we see on the show. They’re the best of the best. They don’t all get in, but they all have an excellent shot at it. Some of them are average Joe’s, but some of them have opened up for Grammy award winning artists and are just trying to land a solo career. Go them.

American Idol is judgmental. I’m not saying that it is all the time, but I’ve seen more than my fair share of episodes to know that they get ratings because of the negativity. That’s why Simon was hired and that’s why he’s so popular. People love controversy.

The Voice is positive. For the most part. Sometimes the judges bicker, but that’s normal. On the whole, though, they’re very kind to the contestants. They tell them what they need to improve upon, and generally say that they’ve done a very good job anyway. They tell them that they were “this close” to pushing their button, but just didn’t quite connect with them or the song.

American Idol has limits. This may or may not be a good thing. Either way, if you’re younger than 15 or older than 28, you can’t participate. They also don’t allow duos or groups.

The Voice only says that you have to be at least 15 years old. They also allow duos – which is pretty neat! It’s all about the voice, and not about other irrelevant information (like that pesky idea that you might be too old to have a music career).

American Idol judges are not all singers. That doesn’t mean that they don’t know the business, but would you rather buy your pizza from an authentic Italian or from Pizza Hut? (Note: I love Pizza Hut. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m getting quite hungry. Road trip, anyone?)

The Voice judges are incredibly talented – and have the credits to prove it. Adam is the lead singer of Maroon 5 and has won three Grammys. Blake has had 10 #1 singles and is currently the CMA Male Vocalist of the Year. (Cool fact: His wife, Miranda Lambert, is the current CMA Female Vocalist of the Year.) Cee Lo has won three Grammys himself and Christina has won five. (THESE are the authentic Italian pizza makers, people.)

American Idol sends its contestants off to do their thang, and the judges patiently wait for the next round to critique them. There’s very little – if any – interaction, although they do try to offer constructive criticism when they can.

The Voice is made up of teams – each judge gets his or her own selection of contestants and works with them one-on-one. How many people can say that they’ve personally learned from Christina, Blake, Adam, or Cee-Lo? Not many! They even bring in mentors for added help – Blake brought Reba last year!

(This next, and last, point is related to the previous one, but I think it’s important enough to stand on its own.)

American Idol judges don’t get anything when a contestant wins the show, except for the usual fame and fortune that is to be expected from something like this. It’s all “Congratulations!!” and onto the next season.

The Voice works in such a way that each coach must each get rid of the same amount of contestants as his or her fellow judges. That means that by the end, each judge is left with a single person to go head to head with the other contestants. That also means that the coaches are fighting tooth and nail to make sure their person wins (and that means they’re dedicated to this individual’s success). After all, these guys already have fame and fortune. They want the bragging rights.

And as a side dish to that main course, let me just mention that the relationships don’t end once the season is over on The Voice. The judges still communicate with their contestants – and not just the final four. Dia Framps didn’t win last year (she came in second – you can read about her here), yet she has a successful record deal. Blake (her coach) even sings a song on there with her.

Now, none of this is to say that The Voice is perfect, because it’s not. Sometimes I get a little tired of the banter. I wish Christina would let the others talk more often. Sometimes I really, really like a contestant and they aren’t chosen. Other times, I don’t hear anything that I like in a singer and then you have the judges fighting over them. The show isn’t flawless, but it’s good enough that I’m hooked despite its flaws.

So, do you prefer American Idol or The Voice? Maybe you don’t care about either, and that’s fine, too! Did I convince anyone to at least check out an episode of The Voice? If so, let me know in the comments what you think!

(You can watch the first season here, and the beginning of the second season (which is currently airing) right here.)

  1. Fabio Bueno says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Voice over Idol. I even mentioned it yesterday on Barbara McDowell’s blog. I’m not into those contests, but the Voice episode after the Superbowl caught my attention because of the format and the quality of the contestants. And the judges seem nice 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! I think it was such a great idea to air the premiere after the Superbowl. It sounds like ratings were way up, so hopefully there are a bunch of new watchers who will stick around this season. Thanks for commenting!!

  2. Dunjya says:

    I have on thing to say, I agree wholeheartedly with all your raised points!

    Okay I lied, I have one more thing to say. How dare Idol call TheVoice gimmicky when they had just used a girl falling from the stage as a cliffhanger for their next show, I’m done with American Idol now! That is probably the lowest they could go for ratings.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Ugh, I totally agree. I can’t deny that the chairs on The Voice aren’t a little gimmicky, but how else would they pull off blind auditions? The concept behind the gimmick is amazing, and that’s enough for me. That commercial for American Idol just makes me not want to watch it. Frankly, it makes them look stupid. That has always been the one thing I’ve disliked about American Idol – they embarrass and negatively portray people for ratings, and it just isn’t entertaining to me. I know a lot of people love it, but to each their own, I guess.

  3. One hundred percent agree. The thing I like best about The Voice is actually the blind auditions. In American Idol, I think the judges sometimes choose people because of how they look rather than their ability, and I think that on a singing show, the singing should be the primary factor.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Yes, absolutely! On Idol, I also feel like sometimes they pick some of the more controversial singers. Maybe ones who aren’t that great, but have a big personality that will “add” to the show in one way or another. On The Voice it’s just plain and simple: a good voice gets you in.

  4. ddog13 says:

    American Idol is starting to get stale. Nearly everything’s been done already when it comes to that show. Steven Tyler is the only reason why I still watch it. He can’t hold his tongue, so I want to see what he’ll say next.
    The Voice, however, is something fresh, with talented artists. It bothers me, however, that the Voice plays at the same time as House MD, which is sadly ending this May

    • Karen Rought says:

      I like Steven a lot, and he would probably be one of the only reasons why I tuned into Idol. That’s too bad about House. I don’t watch the show – I’ve always wanted to, but I feel like I’d have to start right at season one, episode one in order to really enjoy it. I did hear it was ending though, which is sad but also inevitable. Hopefully it’ll make room for another great show for fans to watch.

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