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“The Voice” vs. “American Idol”

Singing competitions have been a staple in TV lineups for years. Aspiring performers faithfully tune in each week, dreaming of the day when it could be their shot at stardom. Some of these competitions fail to gain much traction. One of the more recent examples is “The X-Factor USA,” which only aired for three seasons before being cancelled. Some, however, gain quite a following and dominate the ratings. Of these competitions, the two that are most-talked-about are Fox’s “American Idol” and NBC’s “The Voice.” Each one offers something different for contestants and audiences alike. Still, the question remains: of these TV titans, which is better?

The answer to that is in the differences between them. For many years, after airing in June of 2002, “American Idol” decimated the competition. This show has produced multiple superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who, together, have won 29 Billboard Music Awards. Over the show’s 15 seasons, many big names in the music industry have signed on as judges.

The popularity of this show even reached beyond ratings. After each season, the top 10 contestants hit the road on the American Idol Tour, visiting cities across the country. Also, the rush of the “American Idol” experience became accessible to everyone with the introduction of multiple karaoke video games and even a temporary attraction at Disney World.

Despite this momentum, Fox announced that this will be the final season for Idol. Why? After 2011, the show’s ratings significantly declined. What else happened in 2011? The first episode of “The Voice” aired. Following its initial air date, “The Voice” has consistently outranked “American Idol” in the ratings. So, what is it about this show that has audiences switching camps?

A big factor is the format of the shows. When contestants audition for “American Idol,” they are judged on all aspects of performance, including appearance. However, with “The Voice,” the judges have their backs to the contestants and thus, judge them based only on their voice. This has opened the door for many musicians who don’t fit the typical mold of a current recording artist.

Another major difference between the two is the involvement of the judges. On “American Idol,” the judges offer the contestants advice only after they have performed, remaining very hands-off for the remainder of the competition. With “The Voice” however, judges are referred to as “coaches.” Once a contestant is on a coach’s team, that coach gives them advice and guidance before each and every performance. The coaches are very invested in their contestants, which comes across in the caliber of the performances.

Like with “American Idol,” “The Voice” has changed the judging panel a few times through the years. Still, there are two coaches who have been there since the beginning: country superstar Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5. Their silly antics and good-natured wisecracks have delighted audiences. However, these coaches also put in hard work to help their contestants. Their fun “bromance” and work ethic make the show both fun and serious at the same time.

With two Emmy Awards under its belt, “The Voice” has been capturing audience’s attention for the past few years. Its new season began on Feb. 29, and from the look of things, it doesn’t plan on slowing down.