Entertainment TV The year ‘The Voice’ broke: Why ‘nice’ doesn’t work
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The year ‘The Voice’ broke: Why ‘nice’ doesn’t work

The Voice
Nine Network
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We’re often told nice guys finish last, yet talent shows often prove the reverse. But one thing is for sure: Nice shows finish unnoticed.

Last night’s finale of The Voice was a nice-off. The contestants all adored each other. The judges all loved each other. One got the impression that everyone would have been equally happy no matter who won. Team bond replaced heated competition. That’s great for community values but it makes for terrible television.

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While we can’t take anything away blonde bombshell Anja Nissen’s win – a clear showing of the blind selection on the show – the most exciting moment in last night’s final was Will.i.am’s performance of It’s My Birthday with Cody Wise. Social media went into meltdown as people queried how it worked. Fantastic. If only half as much curiosity had been engendered about the result Nine would be laughing.

It seems no amount of Kylie spinning around could save season thre of The Voice. Photo: Supplied
It seems no amount of Kylie Minogue spinning around could save season threeof The Voice. Photo: Supplied

Unfortunately for Nine, it seems the two to three million people who usually jump up and down when a reality TV show ends were watching something else, with only 1.66 million watching the finale .

Worse, fewer (1.58 million) tuned in for the result. The final announcement is traditionally separated as a stand-alone show for ratings purposes because it’s meant to be significantly higher.

So what happened to the show’s once almighty winning formula?

Celebrities reveal their true (too normal) selves

At the dawn of the season, the addition of Will.i.am and Kylie Minogue as judges to replace Seal and Delta seemed a master-stroke. In terms of star-wattage both were distinct steps up.

In a show that focused heavily on the judges’ personalities though, there was one problem. They were both lovely, genuine people. It was like a grown up Charlene and her geeky but loveable friend popped over from Ramsey Street. It was intimate but there was no drama.

By this time last year Seal was telling anyone who would listen that the Australian press hated him while Joel Madden faced questions about a substance found in his hotel room. That’s not nice. That’s rock’n’roll. That’s drama.

Even loveable Delta served a dramatic purpose. A vocal minority spent two years debating her legitimacy and capacity as a judge.

As the bland 60 Minutes specials of the last four weeks have shown, these judges are stars one-and-all but between them there was zero drama.

All Icing, No Cake

To be clear, Nine had a free swing last night. Seven rolled over, airing The Avengers, which came 21st with 563,000 viewers. Ten were the big beneficiary with MasterChef starting its run to next Monday’s final with 1.16 million viewers. The cooking show this year had a revolution, focusing on food over personality.

The Voice went the other way. But if you’re going to chase personality over talent you need a variety of personality and one champion who has both.

Were any of these rock stars? Jackson Thomas is one of the sweetest guys you could have the pleasure of meeting. ZK are lovely but their backstory was mostly in their family. Johnny Rollins is a drummer, by nature a support act. Even Frank Lakoudis is known as the nice rock star with the fun surname.

Anja is the young innocent but, of any, she had the – say it quietly – ‘X factor’.

The Voice this year yearned – as all talent quests do – for its Susan Boyle moment. A huge Cinderella story with a big viral song. Last year they had a winner with a stutter and a runner up who had battled depression. Both are serious afflictions, but they make for good stories.

This year a blonde 18-year-old won. Talent overcoming her tragic lack-of-tragic-backstory. Congratulations to her. It’s nice to see it happen.

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