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What I learned from “The Voice” (hint: it doesn’t involve singing)

April 23, 2013

So, I hate American Idol.  I realize this is shocking coming from someone who regularly watches shows about 6 Year Old Pageant Queens with spray tans and people who live on mounds of their own filth…(I mean…”clutter”…).  However, it’s true.

I find reality singing competitions, in general, demeaning and I think they cheapen what we do as artists by essentially making it seem like any person singing to Katy Perry in their Prius can do what we do (maybe they CAN do what Katy Perry does but…that’s a whole different blog).  Don’t get me wrong, I watched the first season of American Idol and may or may not have seen “From Justin to Kelly” IN THEATERS in high school… However, for the most part, I’ve stayed away.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t loved certain performers on these shows.  Kelly Clarkson is amazing.  I love Ruben (wherever he may be) and I think I saw Fantasia: The Concert…I mean, The Color Purple like 5 times.

I stay away from the show, however; partially because (like I said) It cheapens what we do, and partially because “singing” has little to with it.  I mean, I’m a sucker for a sob story…but,  losing an arm from rescuing a kitten from the burning LGBT orphanage that you grew up in, doesn’t make you a good singer.  It just makes you sympathetic to the viewer at home.   I just find the whole thing pandering and feel like it completely caters to the least common denominator.

So, when The Voice came along….needless to say…I was skeptical.  However, I’ve caught a few episodes and… while I’m not hitting my button just yet…I think I can learn a lesson or two before the song’s over.

Now, at first…the Idea of Shakira…as in THIS PERSON…

…telling Sasha Allen…as in…THIS PERSON

how to sing…was PREPOSTEROUS to me.   I mean, 90% of contestants on The Voice actually sing better than the judges.  In fact, A lot of them have had successful careers on stage.  It’s like watching an acting competition where Selena Gomez judges up-and-comer,   Dame Maggie Smith.

On the British version of The Voice, Kerry Ellis…as in the West End Star…as in THIS PERSON

was actually NOT PICKED;  NOT PICKED for a singing competition, when she just played Elphaba, Fantine, and Nancy in the West End!  However, once I stopped screaming at my TV “SASHA ALLEN WAS ‘DEE’ IN CAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SHE DOESN’T NEED YOU TO TELL HER SHE IS GOOD, ADAM LEVINE!”, I had a very important realization…and that is…I don’t need Adam Levine to tell me I’m good either (unless he is shirtless…I do, in fact, need him to tell me I’m good while he is shirtless.)

Seriously though, this business is 98% luck…and 2% talent.  It’s sad but, it’s true.   The Voice exemplifies this.  I mean, Shakira (in my humble opinion) sounds like Kermit the Frog crawled in her throat and died, BUT she is a multi-platinum artist/ international star.   Conversely, Sasha Allen sings like an angel and this silly show is the first time most Americans have ever heard of her (despite the fact that…in my mind…Camp is an Oscar-Winning, Box-Office hit).

Let’s say you are super talented like Usher or Christina Aguilera…What separates them from the contestants on the show (other than millions of dollars and billions of fans) is not talent…it’s luck.   I don’t say this to make you feel like it’s futile.  I say this because too often, we try to validate ourselves as artists and as people through our “success”.  How many times have you talked to a family member or a friend back home and found yourself spouting off your resume?   I’m definitely guilty of it; not because I JUST LOVE to talk about myself, but because we live in a society that assumes that success is the result of skill and hard work.

I hate to break it to you…but that just isn’t necessarily the case in our business.  I mean….I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard and hone your skills…you should.  However, If they don’t turn their chair around for you or if you don’t book the show…it doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.  Apparently, even Elphabas strike out sometimes.   You are an artist.  Always remember that.   I realize that I’m starting to sound like Stuart Smiley but…it’s true.  YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, YOU AARRRE SMART ENOUGH, and DOGGONIT…PEOPLE DOOO LIKE YOU.

So, next time you get that death knell “Thank you for your time!” just remember that it’s just one person’s opinion…and not having THE voice for this particular project doesn’t mean that YOUR voice isn’t special and beautiful.  It is.

Now, back to staring at Adam Levine’s abs…


4 Comments leave one →
  1. rachelmakingthings permalink
    April 23, 2013 8:43 am

    Beautifully illustrated point. It seems like if you pursue art only for the sake of being recognized, you won’t have the fortitude for the rejections you are bound to encounter. Thanks!

  2. April 23, 2013 2:34 pm

    So beautifully written. So glad you’re part of the blogging team!

    • The Mothering Actor permalink
      April 23, 2013 8:40 pm

      Yes, Love! Great Post

      • The Growing Artist permalink
        April 25, 2013 10:08 pm

        Agreed! Wonderful post!

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