‘Reality Check’: Does Adam Need a ‘Voice’ Break? + ‘Idol’ Final Season Wishlist (VIDEO)
TVLine.com‘s resident reality TV expert Michael Slezak is back with American Idol 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle for the SEASON FINALE of Reality Check, as the duo gives their thoughts on the finales of American Idol XIV and The Voice 8!
This week, Michael and Melinda look at the finale of The Voice 8 and explore not only why Sawyer Fredericks won the competition, but why he DESERVED to win. In addition, there’s an in-depth discussion about The Voice’s inability to make stars, and the possibility that Sawyer and Koryn Hawthorne could be the first two contestants to really become huge if the show gets behind them. It’s all fascinating stuff, but the big headline is their discussion about Adam Levine, and how it might be time for him to finally take a season off. Why do Michael and Melinda feel Adam needs a season off? And which three singers do they feel should take his place?
The pair then transitions over to American Idol, as they discuss their wishlist for the final season of the show. On the one hand, the items on this wishlist are things that many Idol diehards have been wanting for years on end. On the other hand, the fact that Michael and Melinda need to repeat themselves illustrates a fundamental failing on the part of the show. There’s no reason that, at Season 15, Michael or Melinda should still have to put “CLEAR MORE SONGS” on their wishlist, other than the show being obstinate to change. On the plus side, the talk of themes and song clearances does lead to Melinda briefly reprising a moment from one of her best Idol performances. This was a terrific way to close out the season for Reality Check, and it might just be the best episode of the season (if nothing else, it’s the longest).
You can watch the season finale of Reality Check below:
While I agree on why Sawyer deserved to win The Voice, and while I also think the show could get TONS of mileage out of all three of Team Pharrell’s finalists, I don’t expect that the show will cash in on the potential they’ve shown. And here’s why: NBC isn’t invested in a show that creates stars. They’re simply interested in a show that creates good television that brings in ratings and drives up ad rates. That’s it. Of course, this isn’t to say that American Idol isn’t after the same thing. But here’s the difference: American Idol’s first season became such a sensation, and resulted in Kelly Clarkson (eventually) becoming such a big star that star-making simply became a part of the show’s brand. Before long, FOX attempted to use that branding to drive ratings, to convince people to watch less on the notion of the show serving as good television, and more on the idea that we were seeing tomorrow’s stars for the first time. And while not every season produced superstars, and the ones that did took a while, the show still gave these people a start, and a real foothold in the industry that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. American Idol became a television phenomenon that fed into the music industry in a way that, for all of its talk of real musicianship and artistry, The Voice never has.
Now, does that matter to whether or not The Voice is a good and successful show? Not really. In fact, does it even factor into whether or not Sawyer Fredericks will be a star? Of course not. I don’t expect the show to get behind him, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’ll be a star. If anything, I think he’s well on his way to getting there already. From selling nearly one million singles on iTunes, to having Pharrell’s full backing as a mentor, a producer/songwriter, and a connection in the industry, I think Sawyer could be huge with just Pharrell on his side. Hell, Koryn too. And he’s already started with Mia Z! So while I don’t think the show will throw its weight behind Sawyer, I’m not entirely sure he’s going to need it.
On the subject of coaches, I’m kind of surprised Michael and Melinda think Adam is the one who should take a break, considering that simply by being Blake Shelton, Blake almost has an unfair advantage. I can’t even count how many contestants got to the end that probably shouldn’t have, simply by virtue of being on Team Blake. It goes back to Melinda’s observation last week about how being on Team Blake serves as its own “vote multiplier,” since Blake’s country music friends tweet out to their followers on behalf of Blake’s contestants. One tweet from, say, Reba McEntire or Luke Bryan, and a contestant on-the-bubble could suddenly find himself coasting through to the next week, while bigger talents go home. Of course, Blake taking a break likely wouldn’t solve anything since:
1) It’s as much about Blake being a country artist as it is about Blake being Blake. Country music has a very active voting fanbase on shows like these, so if they replace him with another country artist (as they should, for balance and equal genre representation), we’d be right back where we started. Then again, I can’t say how much Jermaine Paul’s victory had to do with country fans, people liking Blake, or people liking Jermaine himself. I was probably a fool to be shocked that he won, but man, I was stunned that Jermaine Paul took that season.
2) Blake is one of the few coaches this show has had who actually shows a vested interest in his contestants when the show has ended. Maybe it’s not true for all (or even most) of his contestants, but there’s a pervasive feeling that once you’re Team Blake, you’re Team Blake for life. And that’s a sentiment the show needs to cultivate more among its coaches and contestants. Pick coaches who are as invested in these contestants’ journeys, both on the show and beyond, as Blake and Pharrell appear to be.
3) Getting rid of Blake would probably hurt ratings, considering the country music bloc he brings to the series. Maybe replacing him with Reba would mitigate the damage somewhat, but I’m not sure how much. Then again, I feel like ditching Adam has the potential to do just as much damage. Maroon 5 is arguably at the height of their popularity, so losing its frontman as a coach sounds like a no-win proposition for NBC, even if Adam seems bored to be there.
Ultimately, I don’t expect NBC is going to want to get rid of Blake or Adam for the foreseeable future. If either gets a season off, it’ll only be because they ask for it. But now I’ve gone and ranted on Blake leaving when the topic of conversation was Adam getting a break, so I guess I’m becoming as burned out on singing shows as those two. Time to recharge my batteries for the summer!
But what do you think? Do you agree with Michael and Melinda? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
Also, if you missed any of the shows discussed in this week’s Reality Check, check out the links below for recaps with relevant videos in each post:
Nick Fradiani wins American Idol Season 14 (VIDEO)
American Idol XIV Finale: Live Blog and Recap With Performance Videos
The Voice 2015 Finale: Live Blog and Recap With Performance Videos
Kelly Clarkson and Meghan Linsey sing ‘Invincible’ on The Voice 2015 Finale (VIDEO)
Kelly Clarkson and Koryn Hawthorne Sing ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ on The Voice 2015 Finale (VIDEO)
Sawyer Fredericks Wins The Voice 8 (VIDEO)
Sawyer Fredericks Sold Nearly 1 Million Singles On ‘The Voice’