I hate to disappoint you, but it is a business and it is about making money, not finding the best talent. As a voice specialist, it is disappointing to see the “talent” that is put on the television screen. In my own small community, I can name at least 5 singers who have far better voices, technique and stage presence than the “Winners”. This makes me not even want to watch these shows. I think the biggest mistake is in the audition process. I know a few people who have tremendous voices who auditioned for American Idol and The Voice, many of whom never even had the chance to sing! They were eliminated before they even got to show off their vocal ability.
Since the first few seasons of American Idol when they DID showcase some quality talent such as Katharine McPhee, Mandisa, Clay Aikin and other talented individuals, these shows have resorted to highlighting the judges, not the performers. I can’t even figure out what America is voting for, but it is certainly not the best singer. Some of the contestants have interesting life stories; others are so out of the box that they attract the unrefined crowd. But it is as if the voters are not listening.
Analyzing the top three vocal “talent” shows, this year, The Voice produced the most highly qualified potential star, in my opinion. The only reason Cassidee Pope won the prize was because she was a professional before she even auditioned. I thought these shows were designed to give unknown amateur artists the opportunity to launch their career. But that being said, she did deliver consistently good performances, looked good even in some of the most awkward of costumes, and had personality. And like it or not, looks and personality do mean something, but if you are going to call yourself a singer, you need to be able to sing!
On to the X Factor. They bill themselves as a sort of “training camp” to study with the pros. But can’t they find better performers than Tate Stevens and Carly Rose? Country singers like Tate are a dime a dozen and though Carly was unique in that she was so young, she was barely audible in her chest voice range and there are far better young singers than her in the world. The cute little group Fifth Harmony was just that, cute, but not spectacular in their vocals. As a judge, Simon is my favorite, but even he has become so “kinder and gentler” that he has lost his spunk.
American Idol, the longest lasting of the “talent” shows, has declined at the fastest rate, in my opinion. I have not consistently watched it since the 3rd season. I can’t stand to see the people that they end up choosing as finalists. When they don’t put up on the stage any GREAT performers, it doesn’t matter who wins—the real winners are not even on the show! I have seen the audition shows and they eliminate some spectacular vocalists and end up selecting many with substandard ability. I have yet to figure out what America is looking for.
Throughout the years, Randy has penned the popular term “pitchy”; although pitch is exactly what Jessica Sanchez appears to have trouble with. As for Phillip, maybe his raspy voice is his “style”, but it makes my throat hurt to hear him.Let’s talk vocal health, I am not a classical music-only snob, but when I hear singers trashing their voices, it is distracting and not entertaining. This is a prevalent quality in these shows.
My true favorite program that showcased REAL talent was The Sing-Off. Ben Folds really understands true vocal ability. ALL of the groups that made it on to the show were properly trained, unlike ANY of the previous shows I have mentioned. When the audition process is done well, the winner really deserves it! Each member of Pentatonix are all star vocalists, far more talented than any of the “winners” of the rest of these shows, at least in recent episodes. But, unfortunately after 3 seasons on NBC, this show was cancelled.
I think my real beef is with the voters…America. We don’t even know what a truly good singer is anymore. This is a depressing truth. Wake up viewers and demand better quality—you deserve it!
Who is more “talented”?