We’ve said it before, but probably never publicly. In our opinion, "The Voice" is the only singing competition show that still matters.
As it moves into its fifth season, the series continues to impress with both its viewership numbers and the talent that it attracts, often besting its Simon Cowell-helmed season rival, “The X Factor.” Hell, even the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has taken notice of the impressive show.
On Friday, Stereotude was invited to an advanced screening of the first episode of the new season, which starts today. Here are some initial thoughts:
- Adam’s in over his head. The Maroon 5 frontman’s charm has a history of nabbing top talent in the competition. But, those wooing skills also attract their fair share of doters, too—which often leads to the coach having his hands full (literally).
- Team Cee Lo’s off to a good start. The tattoo-crowned coach returns to the series with a vengeance. So far, his team is stacked with some of the more memorable hopefuls to make it through blind auditions.
- The show is its own worst enemy. In the premiere alone, there are several occasions where the coaches did not turn their chairs, only to be deflated at the end reveal. “He had a great look,” Christina Aguilera quipped to her fellow judges at one point, referring to one particularly eccentric performer who fell victim to the blind audition handicap.
- Christina looks great. But you already knew that, right?
- We might be in for a twist. Blake Shelton is used to winning the competition, which he’ll remind you of several times throughout the premiere. But he’s having unprecedented trouble convincing contestants to step over to the winning team. Sure, there’s plenty of time left to play, but has the country champ finally lost his magic touch?
- Most importantly, it’s about the people. What “The Voice” manages to do better and more honestly than its competitors is build an immediate audience-contestant connection. The series invests valuable screen time on backstory, often sending a camera crew to the far reaches of the country for B-roll, even if the contestant doesn’t make it through the blind audition round. That commitment to storytelling, especially when it’s not particularly necessary, is admirable; it might even be the reason for the show's consistent success in the ratings.
Check out this clip from the two-hour season premiere, including a blind audition from one of the more promising contestants to come along in a while, Matthew Schuler: