Image via an episode of 30 Rock
I do not watch shows like The Voice or American Idol. I think they are lame. I’m all for entertainment and shit, capitalism is whatever, but the false hope that these shows instill in the thousands of forgettable people who are featured season after season makes me sick.
It’s true that SOME people have come out of singing competitions like American Idol with a successful singing career. Kelly Clarkson had a good run. That bald guy from American Idol is doing okay I guess. Clay Aiken was on an episode of 30 Rock once. Out of the 13 seasons of American Idol, Carrie Underwood is by far the most successful. But that’s 13 seasons and only 4 people that are only kinda-maybe culturally relevant today.
As for “The Voice”, I can’t even tell you one person who has had mainstream success. That’s because it’s a pretty transparent vehicle to launch the stagnant careers of its already famous, millionaire coaches.
Exhibit A: Gwen Stefani’s new single “Baby Don’t Lie”
As you may or may not know, Gwen Stefani is a coach on the current season of “The Voice.” Which is weird, right? Because she hasn’t been relevant in the music industry since her solo albums in the mid 2000s. Sure, No Doubt tried to come back in 2012 with their album “Push and Shove” but it didn’t really land anywhere mainstream.
But wait! Today (October 27) she just released a new solo single called “Baby Don’t Lie,” while she is currently serving as a coach on “The Voice.” What a coincidence. Where does she find the time?! I mean, when’s a better time to try and restart your music career than when you’ve been hired to “coach” a “singing competition” on network television?
Exhibit B: Rotating judges on “The Voice” and subsequent releases
Christina Aguilera? Dead career. Usher? Pretty sure dead career, but maybe I’m just not aware of his phantom hits somewhere. Cee Lo Green? “Fuck You” was cool 4 years ago. Shakira? Released a song with Rihanna called “Can’t Remember to Forget You” in between her season 4 and season 6 coaching duties.
Don’t even get me started on Maroon 5. (PLZ for the love of god stop howling at the moon on the radio) I don’t even know what a Blake Shelton is so I won’t go there.
In addition to using the show to promote their own music careers, the fact that the coaches actually perform on “The Voice” chaps me to the core of my chapable human parts. It’s not about you, famous people. JESUS.
Take this video, for example, of Gwen Stefani performing her biggest solo hit ever “Hollaback Girl” on “The Voice.” I love Gwen Stefani, really. But she is not a singer that I would regard as being able to give anyone a whole lot of singing tips. Especially when the song she chooses to perform on the singing competition show is one where she is talk-singing over backing vocals. Which is totally fine, I ain’t no vocal performance snob. But it’s a singing competition show. The point of it is singing well, not getting by with what ya got. That’s called real life.
Exhibit C: The music industry has been wearing sweatpants in its mom’s basement for over a decade
Look, we all know the music industry struggles everyday to make money. Small artists definitely struggle, and big artists struggle to make millions off of their music, not including the 7 perfumes they launched this year and a fucking clothing line at Kmart.
Blame it on Napster, blame it on people not respecting time-based art, blame it on the rain. Probably blame it on MTV somehow too.
Let’s not be idealistic idiots. Money is fun. These coaching gigs pay a fuckton of money, so I understand why someone would want to be a coach on a huge show like “The Voice.” They not only get a sick paycheck but they also get to promote their brand. Neat. But taking advantage of these idiot nobody singers (I say with love!) trying to make it big in a show that will never make them big is fucking rude.
Let’s get real: most of these nobody singers are not going to have a singing career after their stints on “The Voice.” They are used as props to fuel viewer engagement and promote the artists telling them they’re “great” and they “love what ur doing” and “ur gonna b a star.” As sickly entertaining as it is to watch people’s dreams get crushed on shows like these, can’t we find another way to promote music on primetime TV that doesn’t involve monetizing false hope in the hearts of starving singers?
COMMENT BELOW and tell me what you think.