'The Voice': Critics Speak Out

10:39 PM PST 04/26/2011 by THR staff
NBC
"The Voice"

NBC's new singing competition, which features Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, was called "fun" in one review and a "garish bore" in another.

NBC debuted its much-hyped singing competition The Voice on Tuesday night.

The Voice features four celebrity coaches -- Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine -- picking aspiring singers to coach from a "blind audition" -- and fighting over them too.

The show, hosted by Carson Daly, instantly became a top trending topic on Google and Twitter, with viewers giving it high praise.

But what did the critics think?

The Wall Street Journal staff argued that a big surprise was how much personality each of the coaches showed, particularly Shelton.

"Mark Burnett, the producer of the show and the executive producer of Survivor, certainly knows how to give a reality show some chemistry," the WSJ staff wrote. "Part of the fun of the show was watching the coaches spar over promising singers."

The critique also said The Voice had "more of a game show quality to it than many other TV singing competitions."

Entertainment Weeky's Ken Tucker, meanwhile, called it a "garish bore over two hours on Tuesday night."

"It was less about the strenuous voices of the singers than the yammering voices of its celebrity “'coaches,'" he wrote, adding that "the problems with The Voice begin with the fact that it exists. By which I mean, TV has just about reached the bursting point of 'discovering new talent'; there’s nothing in this show that you couldn’t have gotten from American Idol, America’s Got Talent or The Sing-Off."

Tucker, who wrote that Shelton and Green were the most entertaining, added that it's tedious in that viewers seem to be expected to root for not just the contestants but also the coaches. He also dismissed the "blind audition process" as a "gimmick."

"I can’t imagine (or hope) The Voice will gather much momentum," Tucker added.

Billboard's Phil Gallo noted the similarities between Voice and Fox’s long-running American Idol.

"Not surprisingly, The Voice borrows more than a few tricks from American Idol, chiefly the stationing of Daly with the contestants' families during each performance so he is there to greet the singers once they know their fate. Lots of tears, lots of hugs."

But Gallo argued that Aguilera was the standout on Tuesday's premiere.

"While America waits to see which singers will quickly emerge as favorites, there's no denying that right now this is Aguilera's show," he wrote. "She takes control whenever possible, blending congeniality, glamour and sass in attractive package. And the cameras can't help emphasizing her either -- her cleavage is given much more air time that any of the men's assets."

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