Thursday, 6 September 2012

NBC Thinks It's 2002

Christina Aguilera at the 'Blind Auditions' for The Voice Season 3
and Britney Spears at the first open auditions for The X Factor Season 2
Two of the most eagerly anticipated reality television shows will be making their return when the US TV season kicks off next week, and dirty tricks are being played before either show has even aired.

News has recently arrived that those at NBC have decided to air its sleeper success 'The Voice', with judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee-Lo Green and Christina Aguilera directly against the second season of Fox’s 'The X Factor', with judges Simon Cowell and L.A Reid along with new additions Demi Lovato and Britney Spears. Originally, the former was to reappear on Monday the 10th over two nights, but a third has now been added, airing on Wednesday 12th at 8pm. The same as The X Factor. Although it still remains unknown whether or not further episodes will air against each other, I think it's safe to say this won't be the last time either.

Those that are pretending that NBC did so because of the similarity between the two shows can drop it, as it’s a move that has obviously been calculated because of who is sitting in the judges seats this year. It also ties into age old conflicts of women being pitted against each other unnecessarily within the music industry...and the media industry in general. NBC is embarrassingly trying to reignite an old tabloid rivalry between Aguilera and Spears; one that hasn’t existed for years and one that neither star pays attention to. Both 'The X Factor' and 'The Voice' could easily have co-existed together on separate nights which would have meant that both networks, as well as the fans would win. 

l-r: Reid, Spears, Lovato & Cowell at the
Fox Upfronts in May 2012
'The X Factor' debuted last September with just over 12 million viewers, falling drastically short of Simon Cowell’s original statement that anything under 20 million would be “disappointing”. Meanwhile, 'The Voice' which is entering its 3rd season has continued to grow since its inception, with its Season 2 Super Bowl lead-in watched by 37 million viewers, and subsequent auditions averaging at around 15 million viewers an episode. Cowell has spoken out against the move, reportedly stating that "this is a cynical, cold-hearted, unprofessional way of doing business", calling out NBC as being unfair towards judges on both sides, as well as its viewers.

While I remain doubtful that this kind of sudden move would’ve occurred between two male judges that have had a long history, the final thing I will point out is that NBC could’ve potentially shot themselves in the foot with this. The buzz of Britney Spears joining the panel for The X Factor seems unprecedented, as interviews and fluid promotional material from the artist has been few and far between since 2007, and to see the star on unscripted (and later) live television is a huge deal for many people. Only time will tell which show this season has fared better. But I know what I’ll be watching more of. 

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