“The Voice” continues to make unexpected changes

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Admittedly, some audiences were a little bit jaded after “American Idol.” Season 15 of the vocal performance show finds the contestants and setup a little bit different. The subtle changes might be what makes “The Voice” different from some of the other shows. It also seems as though the powers-that-be at “The Voice” have listened to criticism. There are more people of color, and more body types that reflect what some viewers actually look like. By challenging audiences’ ideas of what a good singer “looks” like, “The Voice” lives up to its name.

“The Voice”:  What audiences expect versus what actually happens

This season, there is not a great deal of hype surrounding teenage wunderkinds. Sure, there are teenagers on the show, but their ages will not be what gets them from one round to the next. If this week’s latest episode was any indication, people are getting through with “flaws.” Coach Adam Levine (of Maroon 5 fame) took on one singer to help him with falsetto.

Then, there was the child of a famous musician. Madison Cain, daughter of Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain. During Madison’s introduction she states how she doesn’t want to essentially benefit from her father’s famous name. She performed a version of Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” that for the judges’ taste (Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson) was a bit too tame. But there was no way a contestant of Madison’s pedigree was going home. More than likely, she will head to the Comeback Stage, where those who “almost” made it can standby and wait for an opportunity to perform for a spot on a team.

Arguably, this week’s highlight came in the form of an electric guitar-playing veteran named Cody Ray Raymond. His rock and soul mix was a hit with the female judges. He is now on Team Kelly.

While it didn’t happen this week, it is no less important to note that there is a duo competing among all the solo voices. And, not only are they a duo, they are a couple. Their bio on the show’s website notes that while their relationship is not necessarily accepted by their families, “The Voice” gives them the opportunity to show the strength of their talent and their relationship.” The duo, Aaron and Jerome, both in their 30s, perform as OneUp, and are on Team Kelly.

Thus far, few voices seem too different from those on past seasons of “The Voice.” However, that the show has changed its approach and seems as honestly as a television show can, to want to give the right singers a shot, is something to be applauded. Will the competition heat up once the singers from the Comeback Stage begin to vie for coveted spots? Possibly.

Audiences who have been watching “The Voice” from its first season, or even one or two seasons ago, are no doubt excited about the changes. The familiar representations of country, soul and pop will grace the stage in the form of a hopeful young or young-ish singer.

After few singers from “American Idol” launched lucrative careers, and even fewer have from The Voice, some have wondered what is the point of the show. One possible answer is “hope.” The singers come from major cities and tiny towns and all points in between. They have nothing in common except for this dream of singing, of making music as a profession. “The Voice” is that opportunity, that giant maybe, and millions of viewers are here for it.

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