We sincerely hope that Katy Perry and Adele don’t watch The Voice, because practically every week their poor ears would be forced to listen to mediocre versions of their hit tunes. It seems that in the course of four seasons, the hundreds of contestants who have graced the stage have failed to think outside the box when it comes to song choice.
After speaking with several previously eliminated contestants from The Voice, one common theme became clear — restrictions in song choice and lack of original tunes hindered certain artists’ chances in the competition.
Singer-songwriters were forced to sing “I Believe I Can Fly” or “Teenage Dream” with lackluster results. So should the artists be allowed to sing their own music? It certainly would be a new way to weed out contestants who might fail to move forward after the show ends.
The perfect example is the juxtaposition between Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul and Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope.
Jermaine was a former backup singer with a rich voice who shocked America when he stole the title from front runner Juliet Simms. After the show he released a single, “I Believe in This Life,” which he performed on The Voice and in Samsung Galaxy commercials (only when The Voice was on).
He supposedly has an album coming out this year, though no release date has been set and we’ve heard no other music from him.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Cassadee Pope who had already gained a bit of fame as a singer-songwriter with her band Hey Monday. Going solo for The Voice, Cassadee won America over with her impressive range and ability to emotionally connect to song lyrics.
Her cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You” reached No. 1 on the iTunes charts, breaking records for the show. But perhaps even more important are Cassadee’s post-Voice plans. Despite wrapping her season more than six months after Jermaine Paul, Cassadee’s album is much closer to a release date than his. The singer has spent her time following the show in a Nashville recording studio.
She signed with Republic Nashville Records and we’ve already heard some great new songs from her.
The difference between these two winners shows the importance of weeding out the non-singer-songwriters on the show. And a great way to do this would be to showcase the artists’ original work.
Unless NBC plans on hiring the best in the business to write the winners' albums, artists who can write their own music are their best hope at producing a radio-worthy winner.
American Idol’s ability to create future superstars is the show’s only leg up on The Voice. From Season 1, Idol has produced chart toppers like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. The novelty of the first season of Idol may have helped Kelly’s rise to fame, but the show has certainly adapted in order to give its artists the best post-show experience.
This season’s surprise was Angie Miller, who was given the opportunity to sing her original song, “You Set Me Free,” during Hollywood Week. After a series of average performances from the contestant, this standout tune may have been what catapulted her to the Top 3 on the show. And her post-show career seems even more promising, and all because she had her moment singing her original work.
This comes in addition to the show’s tradition of writing a post-Idol single for the winning artist (Kelly Clarkson’s was “A Moment Like This”). That way they’re able to get their first single out there quickly for America’s eager iPods.
The Voice would do well to create their own variations of these practices if they want to move their contestants past the show and onto the charts.
What are your thoughts? Should contestants be allowed to perform their original work? Tell us below!