The Voice is one of the many reality television shows I have just recently started watching. It started with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Millionaire Matchmaker. Then I moved on to Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Sing Off, and currently The Voice, The Glee Project, and my favorite, The Bachelorette. Until about three months ago, I had never watched a full episode of any reality TV program, and now I can’t stop! And aside from The Bachelorette, most of the shows I am into now revolve around singing (though I cannot handle American Idol mostly because of the mean spirited judging/hazing). I loved The Sing Off, plus the University of Oregon men’s acapella group On the Rocks was on it for a while, and I do love my Ducks. And The Glee Project is pretty fun so far. I really only watch these shows for the singing.
For some reason, even though I don’t really like The Voice, I keep watching it—maybe because I am still waiting for summer premiers or more likely because I love Cee Lo Green. But since I can’t stop watching, what I’ve noticed recently is that The Voice has some of the most interesting racial and sexual politics on television. And perhaps the most liberal. Unlike American Idol, where the last four winners have been white men from the Midwest or South, on The Voice the final eight contestants were one of the most diverse casts I’ve seen on television: people of all shapes, sizes, styles, sexual preferences, and races.
The final four—Javier Colon, Beverley McClellan, Vicci Martinez, and my favorite Dia Frampton—are most certainly the best singers from the show, but they also reflect the diversity of the show. Three out of the final four are women, two of them are openly gay, and only one of them is white. And the best part is (for me at least) that “America” voted for all of them, and I think that is cool and exciting. For example, “America” voted for Bev the badass, beautiful, and bald rocker, and Bev is not a type we normally get to see on network television. In my last post, I wrote that it feels like there is only one option in the way of female role models on TV, but on The Voice there are so many different kinds of interesting, successful, and bad ass women.
So maybe I watch for Cee Lo (I do adore him), or maybe I watch for lack of something better, or perhaps I watch because The Voice presents options not available on regular network programming. At the end of the day, I would like to think it is the latter.
PS After writing this post I found out that both Cee Lo and Blake Shelton have gotten into trouble recently for homophobic tweets (both apologized profusely). However, I just think this adds a strange (and upsetting) twist some of the cool stuff I see happening on the show.