Credited to rickey.org Credited to jayblessed.com
In recent years, the most prominent reality singing show has either been Fox’s American Idol or NBC’s The Voice. Fox’s other singing import; The X-Factor tried to join the party too but was sadly stopped before even entering. So while American Idol is seen as the dominant reality show, over the years since being aired 12 years ago, its appeal has dropped among the general public. This is because of its status as the aging reality singing show, its rotating judges, lack of chemistry between the judges, producers’ hand in contestant selection, and overall quality of contestants.
On the other side of the fence, The Voice meanwhile is seen as the rising new kid on the block. With seven seasons already under its belt (thanks to its twice-a-year schedule), The Voice is seen as a breath of fresh air. Having a slightly different concept than American Idol, with singers auditioning based on their voices (hence the title), not on by their looks. With no age limit, The Voice attracts various contestants with different levels of experience (professionals are allowed on), thus, the quality of the contestants are slightly a head and shoulders above American Idol.
Never has this held true than this season’s crop of contestants on both shows. I will not do a side-by-side comparison of every contestant or the judging panel, but merely a simple analysis on both. The first to be noted would be that even before American Idol Season 13 aired, it underwent some massive changes, starting with the firing of its long-time Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe. Out with Nigel, in comes Per Blankens, all the way from Sweden as his replacement. You can definitely tell with the aesthetic changes made by Per, from the first episode of this season with the split screens and all, and overall, much cleaner editing. There were more changes but enough of that, let’s get with the real analysis. However, to be fair, The Voice slightly altered its format by letting the coaches determine the Top 12 instead of America voting them in. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I also noticed more number of ‘steals’ allowed during the Battle Rounds process and beyond. As usual, there were cases of letting go of some truly talented contestants too early.
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Onto both the judges panel on American Idol or the coaches panel on The Voice. On American Idol, the judges’ panel definitely had more chemistry than the mismatched panel of Season 12 when you could tell that Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were definitely not BFFs and poor Keith Urban was forced to sit in between, acting as neutraliser between the pair. Though Idol did recycle their judges panel (excluding Harry Connick Jr., even though he was a mentor for last season), me thinks it is the best judges panel since the glory days of Simon, Paula, and Randy. This panel genuinely like each other and the audience can tell and feel that. However, Randy Jackson really needs to be fired as the in-house mentor. Somebody, please speed-dial Jimmy Iovine ASAP (now impossible with him working for Apple) or get someone that is a more effective mentor. Could David Cook be hired on a part-time basis perhaps? Someone other than Randy, please. Now to the coaches’ panel on The Voice. The thing about The Voice’s coaching panel is, since the beginning, they’ve always had chemistry. Whether they rotate between Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green (ex-coach), Shakira, Usher, and soon I’m pretty sure Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani, they’ll always have chemistry. It’s like Executive Producer Mark Burnett managed to find the magic ingredient when it comes to putting together a panel. They all genuinely appear to really like each other and get along well judging by their joint interview appearances. Their lively banter is refreshing to watch and make the audience enjoy their interactions when they are on screen.
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We now come to the quality of the contestants of the current seasons of each show. Let’s compare them all as a group of their respective Top 12/13s or whatever. When you look at both contestant groups, I’d say that the more talented singing group is definitely The Voice’s batch. Can you even recall the Top 13 of American Idol? Granted, there are several contestants who stand out such as Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene, Alex Preston (Yeah, they’re in the Top 3), and several others, but can barely recall any of the others. But over on The Voice side, you’ve got Sisaundra Lewis, Kat Perkins, Christina Grimmie, and Josh Kauffman for example. Both shows did eliminate some good contestants before revealing their top total whatever and if American Idol had actually replaced some of their Top 13 contestants with the eliminated contestants, maybe there’d be a better pool of talent. Same thing goes with The Voice, there were contestants with potential who sadly had to be let go, due to the show’s rules. Now on American Idol, I’m aware that there were contestants who were voted in by the American Idol, but I wonder, after seeing Dexter Roberts, MK Nobilette, and C.J. Harris, why again? Admittedly, the country fan base is strong but, C.J., pitchy, I rest my case. These are just some of the contestants I would like to single out for being slightly below average than other contestants.
Another comparison would be the system of elimination, favouritism, popular voting, and rigged results. Some of the aforementioned points are pretty much the same regurgitated points but there are some differences. On American Idol, it’s a little straightforward with voters calling and texting in the good-old fashioned way for their favourites. Nowadays, they’ve even added in online votes. The Voice is way ahead with its voting system being the traditional text and call, there are also iTunes votes, Facebook votes, and Twitter Instant Save votes (with Twitter being the most controversial). The Voice’s Team Adam’s Christina Grimmie is a YouTube star and has many followers on Twitter so the Instant Save gives her an advantage? But what about those who don’t have Twitter accounts and want to vote for their favourite contestants? Then, there is always the good-old favouritism present on both shows. On American Idol, there’s the obvious sabotaging of Jessica Meuse and the favouring Sam Woolf saga, just some examples. While on The Voice, coach Blake Shelton’s picking of Jake Worthington as a finalist on his team instead of other deserving talents (just my opinion) amounts to favouritism. However, to be fair, Jake did prove himself, just that I thought not at the level of more talented contestants. As mentioned earlier, popular voting does play a part like the previously mentioned Christina Grimmie case and her Twitter votes, as well as the show’s obvious favouritism towards Christina Grimmie herself. The judges on American Idol constantly pimping out Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene (they are good, but still; don’t go all out on showing it). As for rigged results, the ever changing rules by the The Voice producers as I have addressed earlier in the beginning.
As the results would show on both shows, the unexpected happens. The Voice ended up having Team Usher’s Josh Kaufman as the winner but not without controversy after eliminating the iTunes votes when Josh’s song could not be voted on when it never appeared on the chart. The Voice did however insist that didn’t affect the results tally and Josh Kaufman would’ve won regardless. American Idol, seemingly the fairest show now, crowned Caleb Johnson as their winner, which is not unexpected, because we kind of predicted that’d both contestants would be in the finals. Besides, it really doesn’t matter who wins on Idol nowadays, but more who can have a long-lasting musical career AFTER the show.