22 Apr Happiness & Positivity…that’s why we like The Voice
by Nui Te Koha for the Herald Sun (HERE)
THE Voice has spoken. Inspiration, hugs and tears of joy are back. Humiliation, rejection and shame-related blubbering are sacked.
Elimination, the staple of the reality television talent search, and a guilt-free excuse to air a medley of woeful contestants, have been eliminated.
These so-called X factors, and a coaching panel with more chemistry than a science lab, has given Channel 9 a runaway hit.
The debut averaged a huge 2.177 million viewers across the five capital cities.
The show's second episode did even better – 2.541 million. It went through the rafters, out-danced the stars, and wreaked the most revenge over three nights.
Experts say The Voice – which begins as a blind audition judging vocal talent only – proves the power of positive programming.
Media buyer Harold Mitchell says: "It picks up entirely on the current mood of people. They don't want to be negative. They want to see winners. There is no doubt that, in television, the cycle has started to swing towards a positive view of life."
The format originated in the Netherlands. Creator John De Mol wanted to build a show that celebrated singers, not ridiculed them.
Nine, as with the De Mol formula, scouted for professional and semi-professional singers – 121 in total.
Then the real magic happened.
In the first episodes, coaches Seal, Joel Madden, Delta Goodrem and Keith Urban sat with their backs to the singers as they performed live.
Each coach is building a team of 12 singers. If a coach likes a voice, they spin their chair around and commit to mentoring the singer. If several coaches turn, they must vie for the talent.
This, in itself, has already resulted in television gold.
Goodrem stormed off the set sulkily when Chris Sebastian, the brother of her friend Guy, didn't elect to go with Team Delta.
Seal – posh, multilingual and wearing bright nail polish – does swoony sophistication against Madden's inked-up, yet unpretentious, rock-star swagger.
Urban is the dark horse – no flashy words or flailing arms. He's a little bit country, but Urban is clearly a tactician, too.
So far, the contestant triumphs include a legally blind young woman, Rachael Leahcar, 18, who almost gave up on music after being rejected by Australia's Got Talent and X Factor.
Casey Withoos fought weight and self-esteem issues to get the courage to sing.
Paula Parore came to Australia with her three girls, a backpack each, and a dream.
Clinical and coaching psychologist Timothy Sharp says: "We love to see those feel-good stories. Somehow, it makes us feel good about ourselves. We see so much negativity in other areas of our lives. I think people are thirsting for something positive."
Dr Sharp, of the Happiness Institute, is enjoying The Voice, but fears it may veer into ruthless competition once teams are chosen.
He said: "I find the culture of nasty judges nauseating and despicable. But I know why people watch it. They like sensationalism.
"It's like when we slow down to look at a traffic accident. We half turn away, but there is that voyeur within all of us."
However, former Australian Idol judge Mark Holden argues the changing culture is yearning for a nasty-free show.
"There is no negativity on The Voice because the negativity has been quashed," Holden says.
"The negativity is you don't turn around."
Holden was a kooky Idol adjudicator with his own language, a perfect foil to Marcia Hines' empathy and Ian Dickson's bluntness.
He says: "We would go for four or five days in a row, seeing people, and waiting for a Guy Sebastian to turn up. We don't see that elimination process on The Voice.
''It was novel when Idol did it, but with all these other shows doing the same thing, it's no longer novel. We're bored with that."
Keith Urban has said the show taps into something nostalgic, a time when a listener fell in love with a voice without on-demand video or a viral marketing campaign.
Holden says: "It's the way most of us in the past were introduced to artists – we heard them on the radio. We didn't see them.
''You probably had to buy a magazine to get a picture of them. I think the dynamic of that is refreshing."
For now, like the rest of the nation, Holden is enjoying the purity of a voice.
"It's such a dynamic moment, listening to the voice and not seeing the person. To be released from seeing somebody, only to hear them, is fabulous," he says.
But The Voice is only about a voice to a point. Then looks and back story are factored in.
Holden agrees: "The Voice is really only different in the first moment. Once that moment is over, it's X Factor.
''But so many people have bought into it already, I think we'll stay to see if this young blind woman has the chops, or if we've been charmed by a very powerful television production."
Read the full and original article HERE