There's nothing like American Idol. Sure, TV is brimming with successful talent competitions, many of them with rabid fan bases. But ten seasons into its run, even when its ratings are down, that old work horse Idol still beats the competition by a mile.
So it's not surprising to hear that The Voice, NBC's upcoming singing competition (and latest stab at Idol-like supremacy), has taken the Idol-like step of casting pop stars as judges. According to EW.com, contracts are being negotiated for Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine to join the judging panel. A third, unconfirmed female pop star (possibly Christina Aguilera), is also in talks.
Is this a good move? The Voice producers no doubt hope that plugging in some high wattage pop stars will help to ensure success. Will it? That's impossible to say. Sure, Idol's choice of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler was an unpredictable gamble that seems to have paid off. But is it because these two are pop stars? Or because they are these two particular pop stars? Might it have worked simply because Tyler is a rocker so utterly off his rocker that no one wants to miss the next words that trip off his gigantic lips?
The Voice will have its own twist, of course. Its gimmick, based on a Dutch series, involves turning the judges' backs to the contestants while they perform. This ensures that the reactions are purely based on the singer's musical merits alone. With a premise like that -- judges assessing singers without considering their looks -- we'd rather see someone like Bret Michaels in the judging chair. Imagine the Rock of Love star praising the talent of a female contestant who's, say, grossly overweight, and then turning in shock to see that she doesn't resemble the doll-like party girls who regularly vie for his attention!
On second thought, scratch that. The Dancing With the Stars cast is being announced next week, and we're hoping Michaels is on that list!