The Voice is a bullshit vehicle for stars with dead careers

image from an episode of 30 Rock
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

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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.

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Television: The Mindy Project

Image via fox.com

At first I was not that interested in The Mindy Project, because I’m one of those bitches that judges a book by its cover. The name of this show screams reality competition for people named Mindy. It would be filled with people who have frivolous pill addictions, leave their husbands for a middle aged guy with frosted tips, and dream to someday be on the cover of People Magazine. Also, the idea of ANOTHER medical show (In The Mindy Project, Mindy is a doctor. Doctor office hijinks ensue)? Good god. I’d rather get a yeast infection in my butt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Mindy Kaling and all of her wonderful work as a writer on The Office when it was still good. But going purely off the title of the show and the premise, I was definitely underwhelmed. And I was totally wrong.

Mindy, in the show, is obsessed with romantic comedies. She’s a little like her character Kelly from the Office: obsessed with pop culture, girly things and a little nutty about dating. But this time she’s a doctor. She’s got her professional life together, but she just WANTS A HOT, GOOD DATE GOD DAMMIT that turns into the love of a lifetime. And shit gurl, we all know how hard that is to find. The Hugh Grant we want IRL is not the Hugh Grant that actually exists IRL. Sometimes charming, cute, successful dudes like transvestite prostitutes. These are the days of our lives.

Image via wetpaint.com

After watching the first episode, I have to admit that there is something endearing about a successful woman like Mindy’s character Mindy who, despite society and everyone she knows saying “ROMANTIC COMEDIES ARE NOT REAL LIFE, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN,” is still hoping for that special meet cute with the perfect man. I have friends like that. I’d like to think that even in the deepest, darkest shell of a human being, there still lies hope for the greatest meet cute of all time. It’s something that lies in all of us, despite our moments, weeks, months or even years of relationship cynicism. We all want our lobster.

Anyways, the show is a funny and light-hearted take on girls obsessed with finding that perfect meet cute followed by a lifetime of happiness. You watch the show “knowing” it won’t happen, but kind of hoping it does, just like real life! Besides, after you watch the first episode and hear her drunkenly yelling “I’M SANDRA BULLOCK!!” and then getting arrested, you’ll be into it. Plus, Mindy Kaling is writing and starring in this show. What’s up with all these talented hunnies getting tv shows (Yo Lena)?! So fucking cool. At least Hollywood is doing something right with TV.

TV: Why Smash is better than Glee

Image via nbc.com

I’m not a huge fan of theater shows on TV, because I’ve never watched one that seemed anything more than an overblown and out of proportion take on how people in theater act in “real life.” It’s also almost always done in a really campy, not relatable way that people who have never been in theater don’t understand.

Of course I’m sure we’ve all met people who have been in or are in theater. Sure they are a little quirky, but isn’t anyone in a creative industry quirky? However, not ALL of them are crazy weirdos like those creeps on Glee. (Read a good explanation as to why Glee sucks here) Don’t even get me started on the absolute shit hole that is GleeSmash is nothing like Glee. 

Hahahaha. Image via sodahead.com

First of all, I’m surprised at how well casted this show is. Anjelica Houston, Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and the whole gang were all really good choices. It seems at any moment if you were to run into one of the characters in real life, that they would actually exist as human beings and be believable. Rachel Berry and company on the other hand…

Second, the show takes musical theater on Broadway to a more human level. None of the characters are decidedly so far off the spectrum quirky or “too” theater, whatever that means. The actresses vying for the role of Marilyn on Smash are hard working gals living in NYC who are immersed or trying to break into the acting world. That sounds realistic. And the writers, choreographers and producers seem relatively honest portrayals of professionals in the theater biz as well. They aren’t trying to ruin each others lives (yet) in what seem like cheap and easy, not to mention repetitive, story lines with horrible acting. (I hate Glee.)

All in all, Smash is the least self indulgent theater show I’ve ever seen on television. They’re not (yet) selling an album full of songs that are shittier than the original to everyone with too much expendable income. Basically, Glee is sloppy television and product marketing at its absolute finest; Smash is a tv show (with less obvious marketing) about musical theater in NYC. If I have to pick a show about theater on TV, Imma go with the latter.