Thursday, December 18, 2014

In my head, I am the all-time champ on ‘The Voice’


From page A10 | March 16, 2014 |

It’s my dirty little secret, and yeah, I know you’ll respect me a little less when we’re done.

I love “The Voice.”

I don’t mean random, casual love, like “I love these shoes” or “I love tacos” — I mean I love “The Voice.” Pure, crazy infatuation “love.” The last time I was loved something this much, I married it.

I would marry “The Voice.” I’m not sure how that would work, exactly, but if someone can sketch it out, I’d give it a go.

And, right about now, I know some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, because you never watch (ewww) television. It’s so crass. So average and middle class.

Middle crass.


Sorry to disappoint, but there it is: I watch TV. The only mitigation I can offer is that I watch mainly via the DVR, skipping the commercials, and I’m choosy about what I record. The local and national news, for example, which is on Channel 3 in this area, and which is how I discovered “The Voice” in the first place.

You see, when you finish watching a recorded program, the DVR returns to the last channel recorded. One night after my one-on-one time with Brian Williams, I was about to turn the TV off and I caught a glimpse of this huge, gaudy red and black stage, just as four huge red chairs swung around. On the base of each chair, flashed “I want you” in big, white letters. As the audience went nuts, the coaches beamed at a giddily nervous nymph on stage, clutching her microphone to her chest as if for protection, and then the four celebrity coaches began wooing her to join their teams.

The coaches were Christina Aguilera (Hey! I love her!) and CeeLo Green (Hmmm … loved that song “Crazy” so much that I actually bought the CD), some big gorgeous guy named Blake Shelton (Wow! Hello Handsome! No idea who you are, but c’mere!), and Adam Levine (cute enough, but… Adam who?). As the overwhelmed singer stands there, the coaches start verbally slugging it out, begging and pleading for her to pick them as her coach.

And here’s where it gets weird. Forget the stellar singing —  the exchanges between the coaches are hysterical! Oh, the histrionics and angst, and quicksilver alliances and betrayals!

OK, I’ll bite.

I kept watching. And watching, and watching. Next thing you know, I’m hopelessly hooked.

“Why,” you complain in that sad, tired, condescending, slightly nasal tone. “Isn’t it just another variation of ‘American Idol,’ where some shiny singer is pre-packaged as the next superstar and forced down our throats by tallying the most texts and phone calls from the same public that buys Taylor Swift CDs by the truckload and can’t tell that her voice is flat and thin as an ironing board?”

To which I reply, “No, good friend, it is not the same thing!” “American Idol” is so contrived and polished, and, well, just … yawn. Pretty people always win.

Here’s the big difference: People who audition for “The Voice” aren’t blond supermodels like Carrie Underwood. They’re just average people with big dreams who work in donut shops and gas stations, or maybe play in a bar band, and they walk out there in their average clothes and sing their souls out, hoping one of those chairs will turn. The coaches can’t see anything, and must judge them purely on what they hear. This results in some interesting surprises: “What? You’re a dude?”

After the coaches fill their teams, the gritty competition begins, and there’s real strategy involved. The coaches pick songs they think will best highlight each singer’s abilities, and must then pit their own singers against each other to narrow down their teams. They perform together, and then the coach must send one home and keep the other. Ouch. It seems to hurt the coaches almost as much as the singers, because they’ve developed relationships. After the teams are whittled down, the show goes “live” and the Taylor Swift-lovin’ public takes control, and, well, all bets are off at that point.

Even though I clearly have better taste in music than the public, I’m still a fan because the singing is mind-blowing and it’s very cool to see a potential superstar blooming before your eyes. But mostly, it’s all about the coaches. They’re a hoot. The love/hate bromance between Levine and Shelton as they try to one-up each other is worth watching. (And yes, I know who they are now … I’m a total fan of Shelton now. My first iTune download was “Boys ‘Round Here.” And Levine — ah. Lead singer for Maroon 5. The one with that gymnastic falsetto. Cool beans.)

Every other season, they swap out Christina and CeeLo with Shakira (she’s amazeballs!) and Usher (who I’d also never heard of before, but invented the word “amazeballs”), and the show takes on a kinder, gentler and definitely sexier tone. Whichever tone, I’m still head over heels in love.

How in love? I’ve actually dreamed about auditioning. Standing backstage in that dark blue light. Of being BFFs with Aguilera and Shakira … and also about sitting on Shelton’s lap.

Hooboy. That one was a keeper.

When I’m driving, I pretend I’m on the show and flip through channels until I hear a song I know. That’s the one my coach has picked for me. If I can sing it, I stay on the show. If not … buh-bye. In my head, I’ve already won on “The Voice” like, 17 times.

I imagine auditioning and all four chairs turning, and having to choose … Blake — I’d be too smitten to learn anything. Christina/Shakira — We’ll set the stage on fire! CeeLo, you wack-a-doodle, yeah — let’s do this! Usher, you smooth, sexy thing — I can’t say “no” to that face. Adam — you could teach me to do those vocal cartwheels.

But… I gotta go with Blake.

Can I sit on your lap now?

— Email Debra DeAngelo at; read more of her work at and



Debra DeAngelo

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