The Voice: A New Twist for Television Singing Competitions

Talent is more important than beauty; despite that, performers are often judged by their appearances. Age, body type or the way they dress can influence whether the public likes or dislikes a singer. The Voice introduces a new twist for television singing competitions: The contestant's appearance is concealed from the judges during the audition process.

How it works

Contrary to other singing competitions such as American Idol, The Voice's four judges (Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine) can't see the singers for the "blind auditions" because they have their backs turned to the stage. Only when they like what they hear and push a red "I want you!" button does their chair turn to face the performer.

If only one judge turns his chair, the performer automatically joins that judge's team, but if several of the judges turn their chairs, the singer gets to choose whose team they want to join. This decision is made difficult, as the judges vie to be selected by the contestant as their coach.

Unlike American Idol, where hopefuls flock to mass auditions, contestants on The Voice initially audition in more discreet venues or even on home video and only make it on the show when they receive a call back (invitation) from the producers. Though there are some novices, many contestants are street performers, others have gigs in clubs and one or two have even performed on Broadway or as backup singers on tour.

Instead of criticizing or critiquing contestants as the judges do on American Idol, judges on The Voice coach and encourage their team members. They share their expertise and experience and bring in star performers, such as Lionel Richie, Jewel and Kelly Clarkson, to help bring out the best in each contestant.

Elimination round and live performances

No judge wants to say goodbye to his or her contestants, but for there to be a winner, contestants need to be eliminated. In the first round, singers of each team are paired up in a showdown duet. The contestant's coach has to make the agonizing decision of who stays and who goes home, although he or she receives input from the other judges.

After the elimination round, the remaining contestants are at the mercy of the American public, who votes for its favorites. However, the judges aren't completely helpless. While the three singers with the most votes automatically go through to the next round, the judge of each team can save one contestant of the remaining three who have the lowest votes. This step helps to prevent eliminations that are appearance-motivated instead of being based upon talent.

In the end, only four singers will remain standing. The public will vote for its favorite, and the coaches will add their votes, which can tip the scale either way. The winner is awarded a recording contract.

After the show

The first season of the show proved that even though certain singers were voted off, they are not necessarily losers. They go on a The Voice-sponsored tour throughout America, hoping to catch the attention of other record labels.

In the case of Dia Frampton, country music star Blake Shelton saw potential in the young singer and took her under his wing. Her first music video, "The Broken Ones," is well on its way to a million views on YouTube.

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