ELMS: ‘The Voice’ is what matters

I don’t really watch a lot of TV – aside from HGTV, which I feel should be a staple in everyone’s life.

This summer, however, I became addicted to a reality dance competition called “So You Think You Can Dance.” The talent displayed on the show was incredible, and I was hooked from day one.

Every week, my roommates and I watched together as the hopeful dancers were narrowed down from 20 finalists to one reigning champion. Ever since the final episode aired back in August, I’ve been searching for a show to fill my newfound interest in this brand of reality television.

I think I’ve finally found it. I can’t get enough of NBC’s “The Voice.”

I had been looking for a show that was artsy, entertaining without being overly dramatic and featuring contestants I could relate to. I knew I couldn’t jump on the “American Idol” bandwagon at this point in my life – after all, it is currently in its eleventh season – and I can’t relate to the billionaire has-been celebrity contestants on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“The Voice” is the perfect alternative.

Like much of the U.S., I watched this season’s first episode when it aired right after the Super Bowl. I was intrigued by the show’s concept, and I wanted to see more.

If you are not familiar with how “The Voice” works, I’ll fill you in. The first portion of the season consists of blind auditions where contestants take the stage before a cheering audience and sing to the backs of four coaches: Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton. If the coaches like what they hear, they push their big red “I WANT YOU” button, and their chair swivels around so they can see who is performing.

In the second phase of the competition, the coaches teach their teams their musical ways to help them improve in their craft. However, teammates are then pitted against each other, and the coaches are forced to eliminate some of their own contestants in preparation for the final live performance round.

The last portion of “The Voice” is where all of the coaching and practice is put to the test. The remaining vocalists from each team compete to win the vote of the public and the approval of their coaches. Only one vocalist and coach pairing will remain as champions, and it is up to the viewers to decide.

The blind auditions are what really got me hooked on this show. It is such a smart idea to have the coaches judge the contestants based solely on what they sound like. Whether we like it or not, people judge one another on their looks, but the voice is what truly matters on this show.

I think the fact that the coaches don’t see the performers until after they have put their bid in to get them on their team makes this show much more objective than other talent competitions on the air. It is also fun to see the reactions of the coaches when they are met with a face they did not expect before turning around.

Another reason I enjoy “The Voice” so much are the coaches. I respect them all immensely in terms of their music, and they make a great dynamic for the show. Levine and Aguilera are constantly bickering – there’s more than a little sexual tension there – and Green and Shelton’s quirky personalities make the show even more fun to watch.

I hope “The Voice” stays true to its meaning and selects a winner who truly has the best voice, not the best looks. It’s up to the viewers to vote for whom they think is best, so I encourage you to listen more than you look.