Monday, 12 November 2012
It was an intention I had after the first season of The voice Of Holland had ended. After the second season, it was a firm agreement I made with myself. And yet, as it's aired on Friday night, it's become a tradition for me and my women to watch TVOH with a proper fire in the fireplace, drinks, potato chips, and lively discussions
No more. I tell you, no more
I love the turning chairs of The Voice, invented by Roel van Velzen. Unless the jury is told who will appear on stage (and I'm fairly sure they aren't), the only criterion to turn around for someone is his or her singing (and maybe the reaction of the audience).
It is perfect objectivity! The first few blind auditions in season 1 gave me goose bumps all over, the second also, and in season number three, this hasn't changed. There sometimes are perfect naturals with a radiant voice, who audition their song so immaculately that it comes close to heaven.
As a bonus, the coaches do their best to flatter the singers (and themselves), all with tongue-in-cheeck, to join their team. It really is the icing on the cake to this upside-down song show that so brightly shines at this very stage, next to the outdated model of X-Factor and the like
Then, after the audition, the battles come. Two contestants from one team, picked by their coach, have to sing a song together, picked by the coach. Sometimes that song is more to the advantage of one of the contestants than the other, but that happens - although I'd think that there are plenty of songs in the world to pick from, but then again I'm not a coach.
What has been surprising me, was the fact that sometimes those battles were clearly won by one, yet victory was assigned to the other. That is a lot less objective than the auditions!
Then, those who survive the Battles, have to perform in the live shows. Just as during the Battles, the participants are actively coached. The song they sing is a compromise between what they want, and what their coach wants.
These live shows have more often than not a quite chilling effect on me: the performance is either bland or simply horrendous - to only occassionaly throw me off my feet. Sometimes I even think "Gee, I could have sung that much better" and believe me, you don't want to hear me sing
I really don't understand how such very good singers, with such very good coaches, being coached so closely, can perform so bad sometimes. Is it all to make the show more exciting, less predictable? Of course the audience has a vote now too: theirs and the coach's determine who stays and goes. But give your favourite pupil a good song and he or she is guaranteed to make it - right?
Then come the finals (after the sing-offs) and in the end there's a winner.
In general, during all of the shows, I often find the music too loud, the act too distracting, or the jurors too subjective. Songs sometimes hardly match, or are too challenging, and when the singer does give a brilliant performance with a good to perfect act, the coach / juror denotes the entire performance as "too much inside your comfort zone"
I'm not an expert in singing, worse, I can't sing at all. But as the show advances, from audition to finals as well as from season 1 to season 3, I can't help but think that other motives come into play than just to find a bright and shining Voice. Voting now costs 90 eurocents per vote, and there are other equally unpleasant signs (the tinkering with the Swarovski crystals, the loud presence of Bose, etc) of an extreme commercialisation that outbalances the joy and beauty that I experienced first
I understand that everything around shows like these is about money. I sometimes suspect that people get booted on purpose so their negotiation position simply isn't as good as it could or would have been, or maybe it's just to win a bet, I don't know. I pretty much stopped worrying about whether this happens on purpose or by accident - it just happens, and fairly often too.
What started with great objectivity and beauty, seems to end up in obscure subjectivity; for me, the entertainment level and perceived quality pretty much go down like a lead balloon
What I do know, is that during the blind auditions I almost only hear beautiful voices and songs, and am very amused by the fun attempts of the coaches to flatter the singers. During the blind auditions of The Voice Of Holland, I'm having an excellent time.
After that, it all goes downhill. Fast