I am not necessarily hooked on or an avid fan of the show- but I do catch the odd episode of “The Voice” now and then- when my schedule permits. Among all of the reality talent shows that exist in this day in age- from American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor and more- “The Voice” brings a unique twist to reality TV- the blind audition. From what I know- this is not a new concept in music and auditions for orchestras have been using this format for years. But in a day where appearance and stereotyping is so prominent, it is interesting to see a reality tv show that operates on the principle that it is only the voice that matters.
For those who have not seen the show, the judges are turned around with their backs to the singer from the time they walk on stage, until the time they finish singing- or the judge dings them the let the singer know that they “want them”. It is only then that the judge is able to turn around and see who it was who was singing.
I think that this method of auditioning is great for the initial audition because it avoids stereotyping and biases to come between the singing and the judges decision. It protects against things like what I might call the “Susan Boyle” effect- think back to a couple seasons ago when she took the stage on America’s Got Talent and everyone- judges included- immediately thought she was going to be a joke simply because of her appearance and attitude. But then she began to sing and everyone was shocked.
What I wonder though, is that once the judges have made a decision based on the blind audition and then they turn around- they then can immediately form a bias or stereotype. Hearing one blind audition is not enough to prevent this. Now for the rest of the show forward- that bias or judgement can still play a part in any judge decision or assessment of the singer.
Blind auditions may be great at the start- but that “blindness” needs to stay present throughout the whole show or competition to be fair.