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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Voice is a singing competition that places more importance on vocal talent than image, unlike the popular American Idol. The show's overall messages are positive and encouraging, but there is the occasional bleeped language (with mouths blurred) and some flirtatious references.
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What's the story?
In THE VOICE -- a reality singing competition based on the Dutch series The Voice of Holland -- celebrity singers select and coach talented vocalists in hopes of helping one of them reach musical stardom. Hosted by Carson Daly, the show follows singer Shakira, R&B sensation Usher, country singer Blake Shelton, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, as they blindly choose eight contestants each to mentor based on their vocal abilities alone. (Previous coaches have included hip-hop artist Cee-Lo Green and pop singer Christina Aguilera.) If more than one coach wants a particular competitor, the contestant gets to choose who s/he wants to be mentored by. Each coach works with their team of contestants to develop their singing and offers them tips and advice intended to help them build their careers. They also pit team members against each other in singing competitions to determine who will advance to live stage shows, where audience members will vote on who they want to advance the finale. The singer who impresses the most during the big live performance wins a recording contract and $100,000.
Is it any good?
This series matches the musical competitiveness of American Idol but attempts to do so by underscoring the importance of vocal ability rather than looks and image. Part of this is accomplished by showcasing legitimately talented singers who successfully make it to the final on-camera auditions, rather than highlighting lackluster and/or musically challenged hopefuls for a laugh.
Much is made about the coaches' talent and celebrity status, but their primary function is to mentor the new artists rather than amuse viewers by insulting contestants and/or creating tabloid-worthy drama. Their ability and desire to constructively critique contestants in a way that's both honest and encouraging also creates a lot of positive energy. Overall, The Voice has a formula that successfully creates an entertaining viewing experience that feels genuine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to be successful singer on The Voice and in the music industry as a whole. Is having a great voice enough to make it big? How much attention should be paid to a singer's image?
How can critiques be helpful to those who want a career in the music industry? What's the difference between constructive and destructive criticism?
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