Are ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’ Judges Lying to People About Their Singing Abilities?

Idol judgesApparently, we’re a shockingly talented country with incredibly lousy television sets.

Pictured: ‘Idol’ panelists Steve Tyler, Jennifer
Lopez and Randy Jackson have decided that judging means limiting their
comments to song choices and that all-too-common criticism, “pitchy.”

How else can you explain the great TV
singing-contest disconnect? In their comfortable studio seats (some
spinnable, some not), the judges on Fox’s American Idol and NBC’s The Voice hear nothing but an unbroken parade of “magical,” “amazing,” “beautiful,” “perfect,” “best-ever” singers — all of them, as Voice‘s otherwise purposeless host Carson Daly told us Monday, “incredible artists.”

Whereas
at home, most of us generally hear one or two promising talents who,
with training and guidance, might develop into popular performers,
surrounded by a few contestants who never should have made it this far
and a vast majority with the kind of pleasant voices you’ll find singing
in any local choir or — as Simon Cowell might have said before X Factor dulled him out — working the lounge at a nearby Holiday Inn.

Really.
Two shows, seven music-industry pros, and the best they can do for
criticism is “pitchy,” which apparently is now modern talent-show code
for, “Wow, what were we thinking when we picked you.”

There are many reasons Idol and The Voice, despite their spots near the top of the ratings, routinely reach about as many viewers combined as Idol
did alone at its peak. Exhaustion and oversaturation are no doubt
factors, but part of the problem is that we can’t understand what the
judges are hearing or who they think they’re fooling.

If
every singer involved is a great “artist” (the most abused, overused
word in the TV vocabulary), then we should all be able to name every
finalist from every Idol and Voice season — a tough task, seeing as many people probably can’t name The Voice
winner from last year. Yes, these shows can create stars, but if
they’re all stars at the start, if none of them can benefit from
criticism and competition, then the shows really are just popularity
contests — and what’s the point of watching?

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SOURCE: Robert Bianco, USA TODAY