New gimmick, new gimmick! Move down, move down!
Thanks, but no thanks for the recap Carson. If the footage we’re looking at has that glossy sheen to it, it ca safely be fast forwarded through. Let’s get to what matters: which celebrities are going to get extra camera time on network TV! Much will probably be made of Team Shakira having Miranda Lambert instead of her being on her husband’s team. Speaking of which, Team Blake has The Band Perry–yes the whole band. Team Adam has the he’s-so-2013-it-hurts Aloe Blacc. Team Usher brought in the illustrious Jill Scott.
Thing being a two hour show, we’ll once again be getting through 12 contestants at a stately pace. Let’s see if I remember them all from the auditions.
The problem The Voice has–for me, for you for me–is that many times their gimmicks–despite being entertaining–end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Tonight is a perfect example. We started yesterday with Blake and Adam having barely half their teams filled–tonight might have been a broski fight to the finish. But the producers don’t want that. They want every celebrity to be equal and feel as if they matter. So by the time we reach tonight, each coach only has one slot. (That was the tell by the way for CeeLo’s departure–when the producers stopped making sure his team was on equal footing with the others.)
This being a one hour ep, we will have six contestants. The Voice’s stately pacing makes it so we don’t ever feel rushed through contestants (everyone who gets camera time is equal!), but it also drains any sense of anticipation out of the proceedings.
Let’s meet our final people bidding to make it to the next round.
Let’s not bother sit through Carson’s recap of the last two weeks, and instead cut to what matters: Usher and Shakira each have nine of 12 contestants. Blake and Adam each have seven. This means (if we’re lucky) that by the end of the week it will be all Adam vs Blake all the time. (The producers know what sells.)
Everything else, including the fact that we didn’t really see anyone worth watching until last week, and not that many at that, is for the birds. It’s not like this is a show that’s looking for a hit artist nearly as much as it’s looking to entertain us anyway.
Let’s see if this week can make up for it before going into the next gimmick.
Last night, Usher and Adam both crossed the halfway mark in their team casting, which is a good sign we’re already at the halfway mark of our opening gimmick.
Carson would add another five minutes of filler fluff to the recap of last night if we let him, but that’s what mute buttons, viewing delays, DVRs and the fast forward button all strive to solve for me. (It could be worse–at least I allow that Carson exists in these recaps, unlike Christina Milian and her social media nonsense. Remember kids, what happens in the Branded Skybox stays there.)
Last night was notable in one other way–we saw our first serious contenders with decades of experience. Will we see any more tonight? With the show only running an hour? Let’s find out.
Time to start week two of The Voice‘s most popular gimmick. Yes, even after all the tweaks and adjustments over the course of six seasons, the opening “Blind” auditions bit is still the reason America tunes in.
Do we really need the big long recap from Carson? No. The facts that matter at this point are simple: Adam Levine and Usher have 4 each so far of 12. Shakira has 3, Blake Shelton has 2. Of these groups, Shakira’s look the weakest coming out of the gate, while Adam and Usher have picked up the strongest contenders. Blake is sticking with the country folk he’s most comfortable with.
Let’s get to more of our invitees and see how they do.
The Voice really does have this “make three hours over two nights feel like one long episode” thing down. After a quick recap of yesterday, a few (now extremely dated) pokes about mentor chemistry designed to show The Voice as superior to Idol and XFactor, and we’re back at it.
Another thing that helps this feel like one long episode? All the auditions were taped in a marathon 12 hour day, so the judges are always wearing the same thing. (Also, note despite this being premiere week, we settle instantly into the two hour-one format. No double two-hour premiere. Sorry NBC.)
If we’re halfway through the Idol process, then it must be time for the spring version of Mark Burnett’s competing musical reality show, The Voice, to shuffle in and act like their not seriously late to the party. NBC has an excuse this year–the Olympics delayed everything until now. But I think we may remember that The Voice didn’t actually get started last year until March. So NBC is actually pushing up the return date due to lack of viable programming. (I mean, have you seen the trailers for Growing Up Fisher? JK Simmons, I remember when you were branding swastikas on people’s asses. I’m not going to be able to believe you in a comedy.) The good news is perhaps this year it won’t feel like the program runs half way into summer?
But enough considering how The Voice is going to play to audiences. We have the real stars of the show to open for us. Take it away mentors!
Remember when the opening performance by the mentors at least looked live? With the removal of XFactor from the landscape, the comparisons are now straight Idol vs Voice, and they are both working hard to widen the gap.
Now that the mentors feel like they have gotten their appropriate attention due, we turn to those invited to audition and see where the producers have assigned them. After the frenzy of the Idol auditions, the pacing here feels almost stately. Please note that since this gimmick was tapes a good month ago, Carson will not be talking about the fact that CeeLo has quit the fall version of the production, or that the show is quietly hunting for a replacement judge. The show’s first chance to address that won’t come until a couple of gimmicks down the road when we reach the Live Playoffs. Considering the embarrassment filling judges slots caused over on Idol and XFactor over the last couple of summers, I would not be surprised if Burnett has the slot filled by that time.
With the end of the Olympics means the end of people voluntarily tuning in to NBC programming other than The Voice. Good thing they’re bringing it back immediately.
Here’s a sneak peek of youtube star Christina Grimmie’s audition to whet your appetite. (In case two months of Idol shows hasn’t done so already.)
I mean, you can’t say you didn’t see this coming after last fall. I said it during the season. heck I asked how long it would be until Usher replaces him full time only last week. Apparently it was “right quick.”
He announced it on Ellen this morning.
“I’m going to continue my relationship with NBC,” explained Cee Lo. “I have a television development deal with them as well, and hopefully some other talk show opportunities with them later in the year. I’m going to miss The Voice too.”
And then he announced. “I’m not coming back guys!”
After the audience reacted with “ooohs!” and “awws!” Cee Lo continued. “I don’t want to wear out my welcome there. You know what I’m saying. I have so many other things that I want to do. I haven’t released an album in four years.”
Usher and Shakira are back! Considering how much better Xtina was this passed season, this is not a full upgrade, only partial. It’s good to see Usher is ready to take it all this cycle. Considering how quickly CeeLo lost all his contestants last fall, and with a trial coming up, how long is it until Usher replaces him full time?