The Voice has taken a mildly entertaining and incredibly worrying turn. For those of you who have never seen the show, it’s part singing competition, part swivel chair advertorial, all sadness. And now, they’ve got the children. Please no, anything but the children. The intake for the show goes a little something like this:
1) Seat a row of washed up musicians in spinny chairs (back to stage).
2) Get a whole bunch of kids to take turns singing on stage.
3) Watch the fully grown adults ignore the singing children.
4) Bring out a child who can sing John Legend.
5) Watch the Madden brothers calculate whether or not the small John Legend will sell enough albums to lift them out of Good Charlotte debt.
6) Watch the Madden brothers spin around slowly like Mrs Bates at the end of Psycho and select the child for several weeks of vocal bootcamp and a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams .
Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that actual reality shows are now the same as parody reality shows? Yes. We definitely have.
The sixth season of 30 Rock opens with desperado D-list celeb Jenna Maroney taking on her new role as the harsh judge on “America’s Kidz Got Singing”. Her feedback includes “go jump back up your mother” and “congratulations- you’re a disgrace”. Although The Voice judge/Australia’s sweetheart Delta Goodrem isn’t quite as harsh, the shows are eerily similar. Do not be surprised if the next season is The Voice: Baby Edition, where Nikki Webster ranks the screams of newborns.
The whole horrible cycle of fame and exploitation is pretty much summed up in a tense exchange between Delta and Mel B (Scary, not Blatt) during one episode:
Delta: “I released my first album when I was 12!”
Mel B (wheeling chair around aggressively): “Well I was 9!”
What a message for the kids out there. Hang in there, sing well, release an album, and 30 years from now you could be in that exact same spinny chair.