NBC's 'The Voice' vs. Fox's 'American Idol'
You may have noticed I'm not consistently blogging on American Idol anymore. Prior to this season, negative feedback from some of the judges was often times confusing for the singers and viewers, so I attempted to bring more clarity and practical advice into the conversation. I’m glad to see that now, with the addition of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and a few changes in its format, American Idol has taken a much more positive and constructive approach to grooming empowered singers.
Reality TV is often accused of choosing its stars by appearance rather than talent. Have you seen the new NBC show, ‘The Voice’, where the judges can't see the contestants in blind auditions? ‘The Voice’ promises to spotlight singers solely by the power of their pipes. In other words, the coaches can't favor contestants because of their age, looks or style.JUDGES VS. COACHES
The first thing I like about the new show is the fact that there are no "judges", but rather “coaches” who create teams of singers. This is a more constructive and less threatening approach to working with talent than American Idol. For the first time, we get to see singers where they deserve to be: in DEMAND! At the end of the day, singers like to feel appreciated, not judged. When a singer is chosen by a Celebrity Coach (music industry idols: Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton), viewers at home get to share that amazing feeling of getting discovered and valued. It gets even better when the Celebrity Coaches actually compete to persuade a singer to join their team!
After the blind auditions, the singers within each team will compete with one another, which I’m still not thrilled about, since I believe great singing should be a celebrated gift to the audience, not a win/lose contest. However, there has to be some method to advance the singers through a vocal journey. I believe if it’s done right, 'The Voice' could prove to be a very entertaining and informative show.
I give the show two thumbs up for being the first to celebrate the SINGER from the start! We'll see how the celebrity coaches of 'The Voice' continue to empower the singers on their teams in spite of the competition.
THE EMPOWERED SINGER’S SECRET
The best part of NBC’s new show, 'The Voice' and its blind audition process, is that since the coaches are competing to build a team of talent, they're listening during the auditions, for what's “right” about the singer, not what's wrong with them. Many singers don’t realize how powerful this is.
For example, after the first contestant, Tarralyn Ramsey, was so obviously overwhelmed and overjoyed to be chosen by her lifetime idol, Christina Aguilera, she stated, “I’m so excited to work with her… she could tell me what I’m doing wrong.” Most singers are still brainwashed to think they need to be "fixed", but the truth Tarralyn overlooked is that Christina chose her because she did something RIGHT.
If you want to learn how to sing BETTER, focus on what you do RIGHT and make that stronger. Focusing on what you do wrong will only give you more of that, which is why when singers worry about hitting the wrong note or cracking, they usually do.
AN EXAMPLE OF A “WEAKNESS” MADE STRONG
Being nervous can mean you experience rapid heart beat, sweaty palms, butterflies in stomach, and shakiness. Is being nervous a weakness, or a label given to excess energy? Nervousness is simply your amazing energy not working the way you’d like it to because you haven’t told it what to do yet.
It’s not a bad thing, unless we feel bad about it. We call this same energy “excitement” when we’re about to go on a roller coaster ride and we label it as fun. Beverly McClellan used her nervous energy to fuel a powerful performance of “Piece of My Heart” and the judges raved about how passionate she was. This is an example of an empowered singer who knew what to do with her energy. Many other singers may have felt weak while experiencing the same symptoms, while McClellan turned them into strengths and landed a spot on the show.
‘The Voice’ is a great show to watch because its viewers are invited to listen in a more empowered way, thinking about who they might chose for their “team,” rather than who deserves to be kicked off. If I were to personalize this premise to become a more empowered singer, I would ask, “How can I build upon my vocal strengths”, versus, “What are the bad things about my voice that I need to fix?”
Some might feel that noticing vocal strengths is too risky for the artist and might lead them to become blindly overly confident, but my two decades of teaching successful singers has taught me that most people are better singers than they realize, and are not objective about their voice. The singers who make the fastest growth have a positive attitude. They are people who want to build upon their strengths. As they focus on these and trust me, their coach to give them appropriate exercises, their weaknesses fall away and the voice transforms itself.
Hollywood Vocal Empowerment Coach
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