Old Harold is a talent show addict. For the past number of years it’s been to The Voice, and before that American Idol. During the season, on Monday and Tuesday nights I tune into The Voice first for the blinds to see who gets picked up and who’s disappointed, and then to the series of eliminations. The new crop of contestants per season, and roll over of some judges keeps things fresh, as do the increasing variety and severity of afflictions or social stigmas suffered by the contestants in their bid to secure softs spots in the hearts of the public. These days many could be the subject of their own country song, which may explain why coach Blake Shelton has won so many times.
The present season is no exception. Single parents, never knew their parents, only children, home-schooled, never-schooled, grad-schooled, abuse survivors, gays, lesbians, trans-sexuals, artists that moved to the big city ‘to make it’, talented artists that should have ‘made it’ years ago, teenagers, old-agers, too heavy, too skinny, cover models, homely, worldly, never been out of town, sung to thousands, sung only in church, anxious, over-confident and those who seem to be normal except for their voice.
Sometimes the talent is fairly close, and other times the winner wouldn’t have made it through the battle rounds of other seasons. The seasons to tune into, however, are when one contestant stands clearly above all others, and they could just cut the season short and give them the prize…the Tessanne Chin’s and Jordan Smith’s.
Each season is like a new soap opera with lives of contestants being revealed, and gradual exposure/evolution of their talent or flat performances that put them in jeopardy. Sometimes contestants get saved based on past performances, and sometimes they get dumped after giving their best performance. Viewers get to experience joy and disappointment with good and bad performances and resulting wins and losses. Every year, we also get treated to performances by judges, and sometimes it makes you question how they became stars or qualified as judges. The gifted contestants can mostly out sing the judges, except for Kelly Clarkson, who won the first season of American Idol in 2002.
As addictions go, I guess a talent show addiction isn’t that bad. Old Harold could probably find better uses for his time, but these days it’s nice to have something to look forward to in a good way, not like when you were a kid and you knew lunch tomorrow would be a casserole made from tonight’s supper. Like old Harold, many viewers likely dust off their vocal cords and compare their talent to contestants. The sweet-sweet melodies from your voice, which include overtones from your rattling skull often, however, don’t match up to what you’re exposing others to. Christmas requests for sound cancelling headphones go up, you get asked if you can sing low…so low they can’t hear you, or told you’d be a shoo-in for the Klingon opera. But, old Harold’s dog, the only other person that matters, enjoys his singing. She wags her tail and sometimes sings along, but her recent diagnosis of deafness has me questioning my abilities. Maybe it’s time for me to audition for The Voice. As a balding, overweight, reclusive sole caregiver for an adorable deaf geriatric dog, surely I’ll make it to the finale…if I somehow make it past the blinds.