I call the guy on the left ‘Urban Warfare’
A quick note on the Australian television juggernaut that IS ‘The Voice’, and in particular this week’s Battle round, where contestants will battle one another in a series of head-to-head battles in a battle to see who can use the word battle more in their allotted 8-10 minute segment.
Noun A sustained fight between large, organized armed forces.
Waterloo. Gettysburg. Normandy. Gallipoli. Thermopylae. Helm’s Deep. These were battles. Two back up singer’s doing shitty covers of Rihanna songs I don’t even want to hear Rihanna sing? Meh… notsomuch.
I have to assume that the whole ‘battle’ concept is the red-headed stepchild of what ‘The Voice’s producer’s think a ‘rap battle’ is.
“I got the moves like Jagger, I got the moooooooooooves like Jagger… OK, now your turn!”
But… rap battles (as far as I, the whitest man in Melbourne, am aware) stereotypically consist of 2 angry young men dropping tasty rhymes about their own incredible sexual prowess and penis size whilst simultaneously denigrating the prowess/penosity of their opponent. There’s an innate sense of aggression and conflict there. Two middle-aged guys over-singing the shit out of Coldplay? Where’s the conflict in that?
For the record, Chris Martin ranks a zero on the Penosity Scale
As part of my job I’m privy to the primetime ratings of Australian free-to-air TV every morning, and ‘The Voice’ is managing to sustain a huuuugggeeee audience night after night. Basic rule of thumb is that if any show in the evening time slot has a million viewers, then it’s doing well.
‘The Voice’ is doing more than double that. Every. Single. Episode.
And once again, I don’t get it, and I wonder how much longer it can continue to draw such a large audience. Because once the novelty has worn off (Spinny chairs! Seal! Maybe Delta Goodrem’s a robot!), aren’t you left with the same Achilles heel every show of its ilk has?
That essentially you’re just watching amateur musicians sing adequate live cover versions of songs you can watch the original artist sing much better anytime you feel like it on Youtube?
But what about the human drama of it all, Monkey?
Ughhh… all just so much artifice. When ‘human drama’ consists almost exclusively for every contestant of either:
- i) They’re chasing their dream, one they’d almost given up on before kids / marriage / a serious accident,
- ii) They, or a close relative (ideally a parent), are dealing with Cancer, and they’re doing it for them, or
- iii) They need to learn to believe… (wait for it) in themselves…
Then you can count me out.
If I’m going to force myself to watch any reality television show at the moment, it’ll probably be ‘The Block’, purely because it’s managing to combine the perils and everyday nightmare of home renovation with a degree of cruelty and Phillip Zimbardo-esque psychological trauma that you just don’t find in scripted drama these days.
Sure you have to rebuild this entire house in 5 days with your bare hands and go 60 hours with no sleep, but it could be worse… you could have to compete in a ‘battle’ with the couple next door and sing “Lady Marmalade”…
Side note: As I’ve said before, I work in and around the periphery of television drama. And you have no idea how much the viewing habits of most of the people responsible for scripted drama in this country seems to exclusively revolve around shows like ‘The Voice’, rather than ‘Mad Men’, or ‘Breaking Bad’, or ‘Game of Thrones’.
I guess if I really want to be able to discuss whether Stannis Baratheon is the man for the Iron Throne, or the sense of morality of a Don Draper, I’m going to have to try to finagle my way into working on a reality television show instead.
God help me…