The Voice: a new era for talent shows?
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Last weekend saw the BBC’s answer to X Factor hit the nation’s television screens. Fronted by Reggie Yates and Holly Willoughby, The Voice intends to find a superstar brimming with vocal talent, not a package suited to the ever competitive music industry. The four coaches – they have carefully avoided being dubbed ‘judges’ – have experience from different walks of life. Jessie J holds the position of up and coming chart success; Will.i.am is a vibrant but established talent, while The Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue offers song writing and musical expertise of a slightly different genre. Finally, music legend and Sir Tom Jones has experience like no other – as he emphasised frequently when battling for contestants – and an unparalleled knowledge of the business. The show has a simple focus on the voice (as the name suggests) and each contestant must perform their audition to a line of coaches whose seats are facing away from the stage. At the touch of a button, the coach can turn his/her chair and the words ‘I want you’ become lit at its base. Once the performance has concluded the contestant has the choice of any of the coaches who have turned round as their mentor; if no one has rotated their chair, they leave the competition. The set-up is a world away from the format of long-running talent shows X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. On The Voice contestants have been through audition stages before the live shows but those who progress CAN sing. Weak contestants are not put through simply so the nation can laugh at their severe lack of talent and in this way the programme has a thoroughly positive vibe.
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