Ratings Don’t Lie: The Voice Finds Success with Shakira and Usher

The Voice Shakira

The Voice may have barely begun its fourth season, but it’s already proving to be a stellar one. Sure, NBC’s reality talent show has never quite matched the success of its forerunner, American Idol. But, with the additions of international superstar Shakira and R&B sensation Usher, this might be the season that finally comes out on top.

There is no denying the influence and success that American Idol has in both the television and music industries. The show’s producers probably won’t ever let us forget that Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and, most recently, Phillip Phillips all have American Idol to thank for their success. And since its debut in 2002, it has managed to stay at the top of the singing competition game.

But American Idol‘s ratings have started to take a downturn lately. Now in its twelfth season, Idol‘s latest performance and results shows have averaged between 3 and 4 million viewers, compared to The Voice‘s 13.9 million viewers for its April 2nd blind audition episode.

What factors have contributed to this trend in ratings? Has the constant changing of judges or Nicki Minaj’s outfits and outbursts on American Idol finally taken their toll? Or could it be that viewers have finally realized that The Voice is the superior singing competition?

One of the features that makes NBC’s show stand out is its blind auditions. Singers perform for 90 seconds in front of an audience and the backs of four judges. If judges like what they hear, they push their button and turn around. Thus, the show really is all about the talent, not whether the judges think they can market someone’s “look.” How many times have you been frustrated—perhaps even throwing a lamp against a wall—because a judge on American Idol allowed a horrendous singer in a bikini move onto the next round?

And as far as judges are concerned, those on The Voice are much more invested in their singers, and it shows. This season should prove to be amazing. Shakira is a fantastic addition to the panel, as she herself has experienced the benefits that come from having a mentor (Gloria Estefan, no less) in the music business. If anyone doubts Usher’s capability, we need only say two words: Justin Bieber.

Yes, The Voice would not exist if not for American Idol—there’s no denying that. The automobile would not exist if not for the old horse and carriage, but that doesn’t mean we need to be stuck riding in carriages, am I right? What do you think? Is America ready to admit The Voice is the better TV program?

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