All 4 The Voice coaches sat down last night with BuzzFeed before the performance episode for a live stream chat. When the group was asked the inevitable question about the show failing to produce a Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood level superstar, Blake Shelton had an interesting answer:
“I think mostly because people like that are one in a million,” Shelton told BuzzFeed News. “The odds of American Idol having done that are astronomical. I don’t think it’s … because of that show — it was just luck of the draw that those two girls came strolling through those auditions. If it was just the result of a show, then there would be 30 superstars right now that have come out of all these shows. But it’s not. It’s just people, whether it’s on one of these shows, or YouTube, or somebody who got a record deal and got on the radio. You never know where they’re going to come from, and it just so happens that they had a couple.”
Hey Blake. You might want to ask your pal Kelly Clarkson about her pre-Idol struggle in Los Angeles, where she could get no show business traction at all. Or ask your fellow country music star, Carrie Underwood about that label deal that didn’t work out. Being part of a show that becomes a CULTURAL PHENOMENON matters! Carrie had more than 30 MILLION VIEWERS watching her march to the crown. Why can’t you just acknowledge the contribution American Idol has made to the television and music landscape, thank them for your JOB and then revel in the fact that The Voice has prevailed in the ratings? Honesly guys. Ya’ll are going to smash Idol in the ratings again this year, even with your own diminishing ratings. You really are in the position to be charitable to the show that STARTED IT ALL.
“I think we have developed a very skewed sense of what success is, because the people you mentioned are mega superstars, and that, like you guys were saying, is one in a billion,” Levine said. “We definitely provide the platform for that to happen, and it may or may not, and we’re all hoping that it will. But let’s not forget that these people are so much better off after they’ve been on The Voice than before. There’s forward movement and there’s evolution and there’s progression. As far as we’re concerned, that’s amazing. And if we keep churning out people who are less successful, do The Voice and now they’re more successful. So we win all day long. And … I know that eventually it will translate into what is now called, I guess, a ‘superstar.’ But until then, we’re just going to keep plugging away and it’s going to happen.”
Actually, I agree that The Voice–and singing show contestants generally–are better off after the show. The Voice wins whether they find a superstar or not. It’s an entertaining reality show that earns solid ratings for NBC. It’s not going anywhere. But I’ll be surprised if it ever produces a superstar. The era of the singing competition as an important cultural force in the music business is over, at least for now.