Randy Jackson Calls ‘The Voice’ Gimmicky

Have you been wondering what some of the folks connected to American Idol think of the voice? Randy Jackson offers his opinion to The Hollywood Reporter. He calls it “Gimmicky”:

“It’s a great thing when talent can be simple, honest and revered as opposed to spinning around with gimmicky chairs,” Jackson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Maybe Simon Cowell should have people opening doors. Like, ‘Knock, knock; Who’s singing? I can’t see you!’”

Jackson jabs, but it’s (mostly) in good fun. “Look, none of these other shows could exist without somebody forging the path before them,” he says. “I’m happy to say that Idol did that and paved the way.”

Spinning chairs don’t worry Jackson as much as the glut of competition singing shows coming our way, “”My only fear is that with all these shows coming is that people don’t tire of the format,” he adds. “I don’t know how much singing at you the public can take.”

Do you agree with Randy? Is The Voice gimmicky? I think it is, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as the contestants have talent. On that point–the jury is still out.

  • blmetsfan

    Now these shows need a gimmick to work.

  • http://www.twilightslo.com Mateja

    Yo, Randy, you know what’s gimmcky?

    “You’re in it to win it!”

    And all other crap you spew on the show every week.

  • Valentin432

    ITA with everything that Randy is saying.

    Still want him gone next year.

  • saga

    If gimmicky means fun to watch, then yes. :D

  • CindyM

    I wish American Idol would use the gimmick of JUDGES ACTUALLY JUDGING. Then I think Randy would have room to talk bad about another show.

  • gangreen29

    The show is gimmicky. Idol is pretty gimmicky too, but spinning chairs? Boxing rings where the contestants sing over each other to try and advance? Gimmicky lol. I like the show though, and I don’t think it would ruffle Mark Burnett’s feathers to hear this.

  • soamused

    I’m not watching The Voice because of turning chairs. I’m watching mostly because the four judges/coaches are *awesome*. I haven’t watched Idol the last two seasons, in part because the judges are *terrible*. Make of that what you will, Randy.

    And I read that they did the Huff again last night? Pot … kettle ….

  • yaddabing

    ITA with everything that Randy is saying.

    Still want him gone next year.

    this this this this this this this

  • larc

    And all the games Idol plays aren’t gimmicks? Randy must be a little worried. Otherwise, he could afford to be charitable in his remarks rather than taking cheap shots. The Voice at least doesn’t select contestants based on their schmaltzy back stories.

  • jtgraffix

    “I’m happy to say that Idol did that and paved the way.”

    like how Star Search paved the way for American Idol? okay…

  • OnePlusSix

    I wish American Idol would use the gimmick of JUDGES ACTUALLY JUDGING. Then I think Randy would have room to talk bad about another show.

    CindyM, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. It wouldn’t Randy to look at himself every now and then and get a better perspective.

  • gangreen29

    The Voice at least doesn’t select contestants based on their schmaltzy back stories.

    But the show already aired schmaltzy back stories, and the contestants the judges were seeing aren’t the thousands that auditioned, they are weeded down by producers, where back stories probably did take a high priority. As they should, because it is a tv show and a narrative needs to be developed, which back stories help enhance.

  • Mark

    The show is gimmicky. Idol is pretty gimmicky too, but spinning chairs? Boxing rings where the contestants sing over each other to try and advance? Gimmicky lol. I like the show though, and I don’t think it would ruffle Mark Burnett’s feathers to hear this.

    Yeah, it’s gimmicky for sure. Still, as you say, Idol’s gimmicky as well, so it does feel hypocritical for Idol of all shows to turn around and say that the Voice is gimmicky. Strangely, I haven’t minded how gimmicky the Voice is because these shows are already past the point of being anything but, so it seems if you’re going to do have one of these shows, a few spinning chairs aren’t too obnoxious.

    (That said, I still hate X-Factor’s overuse of gimmicks to make the performances unrecognizable and to value everything that isn’t music, but that’s kinda a different point)

  • Elliegrll

    The chairs are gimmicky, and a way for Mark Burnett to avoid Simon Cowell suing him, but the rest of the show looks like it could work.

    The Voice at least doesn’t select contestants based on their schmaltzy back stories.

    The Voice had back stories, and the producers included them for a reason. I’m willing to bet that we will continue to learn about these people’s pasts as they go through the judges’ bootcamp.

  • Incipit

    Is The Voice gimmicky?

    Sure. Every show needs a ‘hook’. Idol’s hook to start off the show was and is the bad auditions – I think I would take spinning chairs before deliberate humiliation -

    The other Idol ‘hook’ was Simon, and his bon mal mots gimmick – that got so old even Simon was bored of it – and started recycling the ‘cruise ships’ and the rest from previous seasons – while showing an entirely different personality on his XFactor show. Now they have Iovine – with his post show critiques.

    So Randy and his ‘phone book’ gimmick and Nigel and his “Huff” could just sit TF down, Dawg. Pot, meet kettle?

    IMO. Of Course.

  • abbysee

    Of course he’s right. But also a bit insightful and gracious in his other comments. He’s an awful asshat this year after starting off strong, but gonna agree with him here. That doesn’t mean I don’t like watching The Voice.

  • http://MJO judes

    I’m not watching The Voice because of turning chairs. I’m watching mostly because the four judges/coaches are *awesome*. I haven’t watched Idol the last two seasons, in part because the judges are *terrible*

    I don’t watch idol because of the judges -I like to see how the idols develop during the season. We don’t have The Voice here but it will be interesting to see how this show develops-whether it can keep its appeal.

  • Nina1

    Yup, it is gimmicky. At first I didn’t think it would work, but so far it does. As long as everyone is having fun, hey…

  • sandrajane

    And putting people through just because they are bad singers is not gimmicky? Riiiiiiggghhht.

  • Truthiness

    Yes, because the auditions filled with bad and/or famewhore types who get featured, just to get mocked, isn’t gimmicky. All the sob stories, the JOURNEYS, the group sings w/beloved pointy poses, the Huff, and random and sundry crap that Idol drags out each year..not the least of which is the schtick of the judges. Yes, none of THAT is gimmicky. It’s The Voice that is gimmicky with it’s chairs, and even it’s boxing ring.

    Which to be fair, I do think The Voice is gimmicky. But more gimmicky than Idol? I disagree. It’s just differently gimmicky.

    So sit down, Randy. You’re just jealous that one of the best things of The Voice are the judges. People like them. And they can even choose to be really nice…and it’s actually part of their job! Not just them shirking it, as their jobs as they do on AI.

  • hypertwink

    Gimmick? Give me a break. Wasn’t getting Steven & JLo also a gimmick? And that’s just one of the many things that make Randy very much a hypocrite.

    And about the backstories, sure they pick them…but it’s not like what Idol does with dead/ailing loved ones or quirks and ailments. Those things being squeezed for every last ounce of sympathy and drama to boost ratings, that Idol perfected.

  • Lucy1234

    I’m watching it right now and it may be gimmicky but I like it. It has be laughing and crying and that is what they want – I am entertained.

  • tomr

    Didn’t the Gong Show precede Star Search? LOL I agree that if the final result is a new sustainable star, then who cares about the gimmicks. XFactor has its positives and negatives as well. Like Idol, the judges never criticize the people that they are mentoring/pimping. Let’s see if The Voice goes that same route.What Idol had going for it at one time was constructive (and sometimes destructive) criticism. that will prove to be its downfall if that isn’t changed before next season. Constructive criticism can/should lead to growth and improvement. Excessive praise leads to stagnation, over confidence, and a false sense of greatness. Great artists (and others) surround themselves with people who honestly tell it like it is and not just what they think the person wants to hear. These contestants should be asking for anything that they can do better and not worry about hearing everything is great/beautiful/perfect/etc. Stop putting them on pedestals and bring them back down to earth to do what it takes to achieve their best each and every day. That involves growth & learning every single day!

  • jan

    This is going to cut into music sales for all future contestants on Idol, The Voice, XFactor – it will dilute everyone’s sales. Then add in the fascination for all things Glee – and it will cut into sales even further. I expect that sales will get lower and lower until it isn’t even worth that much to sign a winner.

  • Thirsty

    I’m sorry Randy, did you say something? Because when you open your mouth all I hear is “Wah wah wah, wah wah,” like a Charlie Brown adult.

    The chairs are only for the auditions on The Voice anyway. I’m most keen to see how the mentoring sessions pan out. At least the judges/coaches on The Voice have good chemistry, are fun to watch, and actually say a lot that has value – none of which I can say for Randy.

  • kmd

    I really like The Voice. Randy is right to be concerned because all these talent shows will eventually effect AI ratings and sales. Oh well. He and the other AI judges might think about actually giving constructive criticism.

  • brian_ny1976

    randy jackson has the nerve to call the voice gimmicky? meanwhile this season of american idol is full of gimmicks…lets see….hulk hogan coming out beating up ryan seacrest? hulk hogan is the biggest gimmick since the mid 80s that life has to offer…steven tyler himself as a judge is one big gimmick…yeah im sure steven tyler had it planned all along to come out with a solo album before american idol….randy should shut up seriously…the voice to me i think is as pretty damn good show…and xfactor will take care of idol and put it in its grave where it shoulda been since arguably David cook should have been the final winner…or Adam Lambert’s screwjob when kris won…please R.I.P AMERICAN IDOL ASAP!

  • fuzzywuzzy

    meanwhile this season of american idol is full of gimmicks…lets see….hulk hogan coming out beating up ryan seacrest? hulk hogan is the biggest gimmick since the mid 80s that life has to offer…

    Also add the random cooking competition this past week to promote Gordon Ramsey.

  • karenc

    I liked the show so far, even with the gimmicks, but I did see the commercials with them singing in a boxing ring, and I’m not if I’ll like that. I want to see how that plays out, but it doesn’t seem to me that I would take that as seriously as idol.

    Even though the singing is good, the Voice seems more of a game show to me than a talent show. And I think Idol is more or less a talent show.

  • girlygirl

    this is like the pot calling the kettle black. all of these reality shows are gimmicky…Idol included

  • hypertwink

    And I think Idol is more or less a talent show.

    These days, less.

  • brian_ny1976

    amen fuzzywuzzy! randy should just put some duct tape over his mouth along with steven and jennifer and teach them hand signals thumbs up and down…

  • Dakota01

    Sounds to me like Randy is worried about the competition … and with good reason.

  • brian_ny1976

    Dakota yes indeed! i hope the Voice and Xfactor swallow idol alive!

  • brian_ny1976

    and whats the deal with randy adding a “Y” to all his critiques…Pitchy..and Gimmicky? maybe rand”Y” should take his sorr”Y” act to a cemetar”Y” and bur”Y” it. :)

  • Lisa

    AI paved the way for all? Ever hear of ‘Star Search’ Randy? Eh? No? k thanks.

  • Lisa

    P.S. Read the list of folks who competed on Star Search Randy many of whom appeared on AI AFTER their Star Search stint, then tell me who paved the way for who ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Search

    Also dang so many stars were on that show! Sheesh

    Just a few:
    Aaliyah
    Adam Sandler
    Alanis Morissette
    Beyoncé
    Britney Spears
    Christina Aguilera
    David Archuleta (did AI after)
    Destiny’s Child
    Diana DeGarmo (did AI after)
    Jessica Simpson
    Justin Timberlake

    The list goes on……..

  • Valentin432

    AI paved the way for all? Ever hear of ‘Star Search’ Randy? Eh? No? k thanks.

    There’s a huge difference between star search and Idol type shows: The audience votes at home
    That became the stapple for all the shows that came afterwards.

    Also, Idol is arguably the most successfull show in the history of network tv

    Also dang so many stars were on that show! Sheesh

    These people were on the show, but they didn’t become stars after being on Star Search.

    Idol launched people that are associated to their apparition on the show.

  • Lisa

    Sorry I happen to disagree. Star Search paved the way for this type of reality singing show.

    They may not have ‘won’ when they appeared, but they became stars after being on it.

    My point is AI is not the ‘first’. Nor is X Factor or whatever it was called in the UK.

    The same could be said for say Jennifer Hudson to name one, who did not win but became a star after she was on AI……

  • Valentin432

    They may not have ‘won’ when they appeared, but they became stars after being on it.

    They became stars long after being on it and wheter Star Search was a launchpad to their carreers is much more questionable than in the case of AI.

    Carrie, Kelly, etc. all have their names heavily associated with AI, the same can’t be said about Britney, Christina, Adam Sandler, etc.

    JHud is the one contestants whose success isn’t as related to her time on the show but I still think she’s much more linked to the AI brand than any of the singers you named to Star Search.

    My point is AI is not the ‘first’. Nor is X Factor or whatever it was called in the UK.

    I disagree.
    AI has a very original format, the concept of letting the public vote to crown a winner at the end of a season who gets a recording contract was very original at the time and that’s a reason why the Idol format was such an incredible success all over the world.

    I see many more similarities between Idol, X Factor, The Voice, the Star Academy shows, etc. than I see between Idol and Star Search.

    The bottom line is: I don’t believe Simon Fuller was thinking about replicating the success of star search when he conceived AI, I’m pretty sure all those other shows were/are trying to copy Idol and its success

  • thenghreport1985

    It always confuses me to see such Idol hatred on… you guessed it… an American Idol blog.

    The Voice is gimmicky, but that’s fine. My problem with the Voice isn’t the chairs or the sets that look like they are from American Gladiators.

    No, my problem is that the Voice is more about the coaches and less about the contestants. The Idol judges might throw softball critiques, but at least I felt more connected with the contestants. The idea that I have to root for Adam’s team over Blake’s is annoying.

    I love that Blake, Adam, Cee-Lo and Christina seem really excited to coach these singers and they are doing a really good job at it, but in the end, I couldn’t care less about the competition between the coaches. Someone upthread said it best… the Voice feels like a game while Idol feels like a talent competition.

    In other words, I think the Voice is damn entertaining, but it is the Michael Bay of singing competitions. Flashy, exciting, but very little depth.

  • Hazehel

    JHud is the one contestants whose success isn’t as related to her time on the show

    Not true. Jennifer Hudson’s success is entirely due to American Idol. Debra Byrd revealed that when they were casting for the role of Effie they asked her about Frenchie Davis and Fantasia, they apparently didn’t even think about Jennifer Hudson, and she recommended Jennifer to them –
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/accessatlanta/idol/entries/2007/03/15/315_talk_with_i.html

    Jennifer would still be singing in a cruise ship if someone from American Idol hadn’t helped her.

    As for Star Search, they produced only a few “stars” – Rosie O’Donnell, and Sam Harris (although I suspect most people don’t even remember him) , and at a stretch, Tiffany. People like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake didn’t become stars after being on Star Search, few people remember them being on that show. If any show should take the credit, it’s the Walt Disney show The Mickey Mouse Club that made them become known to the public.

    The first TV talent show where the public may choose the act they like would be The Original Amateur Hour -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_Amateur_Hour

  • hypertwink

    No, my problem is that the Voice is more about the coaches and less about the contestants.

    Interesting. But can’t that be said for Idol? Weren’t the judges overshadowing the contestants? Simon’s bitchiness. Paula’s loopiness. Randy’s WTFness. So whatever complaint you have with The Voice, you can also lay on the doorstep of Idol.

    OMG, are we really talking about depth in a reality show competition? Seriously?

  • Incipit

    The first TV talent show where the public may choose the act they like would be The Original Amateur Hour -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_Amateur_Hour

    Hazehell, you posted what I was thinking! Absolutely. Ted Mack – and even that show was biting off of Vaudeville, with the literal hook (more like a giant shepherd’s crook) that pulled people off the stage when the audience was disapproving.

    There’s a long history of talent competitions. Idol’s in the middle, somewhere…and Randy could give himself sciatica, with all those pats on the back. Heh.

  • hcpoirot

    Not only Idol is gimmicky this year but Randy other project Best Dance Crew is a bit too far this year by also including Children dance group. As you all imagine, this group is good (but for children level) and not at par with others adult groups.

    BUt as all of you predict, they never in bottom 2 because voters just love cute children dancing and keep them there and of course boosting the rating.

  • Grammie Kari

    Guess Randy must have heard Adam make those two comments about American Idol, huh? One was, “This isn’t American Idol.” All of these Reality Shows are gimmicky; that’s what makes us watch them.

    Jennifer and Steven have released new music. Does anyone really think they are going to say something that brings about boos? They don’t want the audience against them. It is up to Randy to tell the truth.

  • thenghreport1985

    Interesting. But can’t that be said for Idol? Weren’t the judges overshadowing the contestants? Simon’s bitchiness. Paula’s loopiness. Randy’s WTFness. So whatever complaint you have with The Voice, you can also lay on the doorstep of Idol.

    OMG, are we really talking about depth in a reality show competition? Seriously

    No, the Voice concept actually has “teams” and the coaches spend more time talking about “winning” than the contestants do. Sure, Simon et al were big personalities, but it was never explicitly about THEM winning. It was about them being right, but America was focused on who to give the title too, not which judge to reward.

    And yes, there can be depth in reality competitions. Not much, but enough so you don’t have to create a stage that looks like it’s from Logan’s Run or American Gladiators.

    I happen to LOVE the way Idol auditions, because it’s fairly close to how real world auditions work. You show up at a cattle call with a million other people and pray you get through. If you do get through, you audition again to producers and casting directors. If you get through again, you auditions for the judges. If you get through another time, you go to Hollywood and compete against a couple hundred people for 24/32 spots.

    I hate that the Voice just INVITES you to partake in the competition. It’s like getting a golden ticket to Wonka’s factory. These “Voice” contestants did not have to work half as hard to get their spots as the Idol contestants had to. My friend made top 60 this year, and she was absolutely exhausted by the process, but said it reminded her of the way they hold Broadway auditions. Strict, gritty, like the real world.

    I personally made it to Hollywood S3, and even then I can attest to the fact that they really make you earn it on Idol.

  • hypertwink

    So have you auditioned for The Voice? So Idol makes you earn it. How do you know that The Voice doesn’t make it hard on the contestants too. I don’t doubt your story, but your experience with Idol doesn’t make what happens at The Voice any less valid.

  • thenghreport1985

    The Voice doesn’t audition. The Voice scouts and then invites people to come to the Blind Audition rounds.

  • breakdown

    Oh Randy, there’s been talent shows since the existence of tv.

    On Leno, Steven Tyler said that most of the time the judges can’t hear the contestants singing, which is why he just says they’re all beautiful. What an admission! He and JLo are just there to collect big paychecks and jumpstart their careers.

  • Lock

    This season’s AI has become the biggest Gimmicky to me. Since when the AI judges do nothing but to promo their own products? This season! Since when the AI judges stopped providing any useful and fair and musically professional suggestions/critiques/comments? This season! Since when the AI judges praise certain contestant(s) week after week, no matter how terrible the performances were? This season! What does that tell me? This so hyped show is the biggest disappointment and Gimmicky. I miss Simon Cowell and Paula! So yeah, I totally agree with what breakdown said, Judges are there to collect big paychecks and promote their own products. JMHO!!!