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How The Voice, American Idol Became Guilty Pleasures

Hi, my name is Alexis Getscher and I’m addicted to The Voice.

I blame the Super Bowl. If the game wasn’t on, the television wouldn’t have been tuned into NBC. Truthfully, the TV wouldn’t have been on at all. The game ended and before I knew it, I was watching The Voice. Looking back, I feel tricked. Like a bait and switch. There’s no other explanation.

At first it was meaningless, merely background noise to my writing. My desk is set up in such a way that in order to be on the computer, my back has to be to the TV. But I have a swivel chair and I began to swivel. I swiveled to watch the performances, then I swiveled to watch the judges’ comments. Before I knew it, there was no swiveling at all. I sat still, facing the TV. Next, I grabbed my laptop and moved to the couch.

But it gets worse. I found myself verbalizing which judge’s team the contestant should join.

Oh, she has a crush on Blake Shelton? She definitely shouldn’t go on his team, he’ll only make her nervous.

Christina is best for singers with raw talent. She’s had to make that talent marketable her whole career.”

So, here it is, the top five reasons why I like The Voice:

1. True to the show’s name, contestants are judged solely on their singing capability. Judges cannot see the contestant during their performance.

2. No gimmicks, stupid costumes, William Hungs. Performers are invited to compete on the show, each one has at least some talent.

3. Judges are vying for the performer, not the other way around.

4. The judges are current music stars, not washed up celebrities.

5. No age limit. Anyone over the age of 15 can compete on the show.

Two weeks ago I had never heard of The Voice and now, here I am, writing the reasons I believe this show is better than American Idol or any other reality show that involves a singing competition. I’m still not sure how this happened. Is this a gateway drug to bad TV? Only time will tell. Until then, you know where I’ll be every Monday night at 7 P.M. No shame.

My name is D’Aundra Wallace and my guilty pleasure is American Idol.

I hate to say it, but this all started with Zola Jesus. On Feb. 2, the day after watching the brilliant, opera-trained Nika Roza Danilova perform at Crescent Ballroom, I was inspired.

I wanted to be in a band (for the  fourth, or fifth, or sixth time)! I wanted to follow in the steps of performers such as Andrea Estella (Twin Sister), Alaina Moore (Tennis), Alexei Perry (Handsome Furs) and even Danilova (Zola Jesus) as the petite lady in the band who owns the stage. I wanted to sing!

Next, I asked my mum to teach me (she’s had formal training). She agreed. Overwhelmed with the possibilities of what I could become, I daydreamed like Precious.

Now, I wanted more inspiration. As the sometimes-out-of-touch, 20-something year old who doesn’t watch TV, I didn’t know where to turn…except American Idol.

In my defense, this show has been around since 2002. It’s 11 seasons in. And Ryan Seacrest is virtually everywhere, a constant reminder that the show still exists.

When American Idol debuted, I watched it for one reason: auditions. I wanted to see people with horrible voices try out. I relished in the frankness of Simon Cowell. I waited for the repetition of “yo” and “dawg” from Randy Jackson. I understood Paula Abdul’s gentle approach. But when auditions ended a couple episodes in, I was over it. I couldn’t be bothered with the talent, or lack thereof.

By the time Friday, Feb. 3 rolled around, I had resolved to spend the entire weekend at my abode. Resting. Catching up on hobbies. Spending time with myself. Watching American Idol, season 11. WHAT?

The old me would say it was a weekend-long lapse in judgment that I spent most of my free time in a makeshift bed cocoon watching the first seven episodes of season 11, each having a run time of an hour or more. Almost immediately I noticed the evolution of the show. No longer did bad auditions and freaky people rule the first episodes. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still sprinkled on top for good TV. There is storytelling (a love of mine), people with character (an interest of mine) and talent (what I was watching it for).

Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since. And yes, I will be auditioning next season.

To vote for D’Aundra Wallace, call 1-866-IDOLS 01. Phone lines open at the end of this article.

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