The Voice, broadcast on the BBC, is a clone of X-Factor with a twist: the judges don’t see the contestants before voting on them based solely on their performance, which means that their back-story apparently doesn’t count. This isn’t wholly true. It means that the contestants get to clear the first hurdle without relying on their appearance and back-stories but I feel sure these will become more important as the show progresses.
Each judge apparently has to choose ten contestants for them to mentor. When more than one judge wants to mentor a contestant they then compete with one another for the contestant, trying to convince them why they would be the best person to show them how to perform and get the best from them.
Both these are nice touches, and the fact that the judges don’t have artificial and disparate categories to put their charges in is also refreshing. The problems creep in when the show doesn’t go far enough: although the judges may be making their initial choices based solely on performance the audience is privy to the back-story of each contestant before they appear on stage and the appearance of the contestant will obviously become an issue as the show goes on because the judges see them as soon as they select them to be on their team.
The judges are an interesting group. Apparently they have sold in excess of 140 million records between them. That is a ridiculous number and suggests they must all be heavyweights. Until one of them turns out to be Tom Jones and he has managed over 100 million of them all by himself. Suddenly, 40 million between 3 seems far less impressive. Factor in the fact that one of them is the main creative force behind the Black Eyed Peas and I begin to suspect that the other two judges probably managed about 5 million between them. Certainly more than I would manage personally but it does diminish their relative worth.
Of course, if you’re a musical act on the show and interested in your career as opposed to your ability (I would rate Tom Jones as easily the best singer of the group but probably not the person who is going to be best placed to help you with an assault on the modern pop charts), then you will probably look at who has sold the most records recently and has the strongest track record in helping other people achieve success. Jessie J has written hits for other artists, the Irish lad who isn’t Daniel O’Donnell but I am going to keep confusing with him as his name is too similar is apparently a songwriter in his own right and Will I Am manages to regularly produce and guest on songs for a variety of other artists. I would immediately want to be mentored by either the Midas like producer or the great singer with knowledge of the Vegas circuit. I do wonder if the results and careers of those involved will bear this out.