vox populi

The End of ‘The Voice of Armenia’

Armenia’s adaptation of the television singing competition series The Voice, the original of which launched in the Netherlands, ended a few days ago. For six months (which is nothing to joke about), the program described as “the main music program of the year” was aired on Armenia TV like an axiom — unconditionally. And with that, it prompted an objection.

Let’s try to understand in what way this contest was better or preferable to such similar programs as Armenian Superstar or The X Factor. In fact, it wasn’t different. All are international formats; in all instances they sing (sometimes it happens, the same people); the winner is chosen by SMS voting; the number of jury members is the same (four); and finally, the aim is also the same (to find the best).

Calling it the “main” program, Armenia TV probably meant its own channel. 

But the structure of The Voice allowed, even required it to be interesting. After all, other than the contest results and the wait for selections, this format allowed the comparing of performances “before and after.” It’s always interesting to see an initially inexperienced talent and to follow how the work and efforts of a coach leads to glaring results. In general, the “Cinderella complex” maintains its magnetic force at all times and all places.

But in The Voice of Armenia, the complete opposite happened: participants shone in the beginning and clearly worsened by the end. 

Why? Was the coach’s efforts lacking or was there no coach? Now you’ll say, the singer isn’t a robot, she gets tired, exhausted really; she doesn’t have time to practice more intensely — and you’d be right. Of course, that’s natural, but to help the performer make mistakes is definitely not necessary. 

Dear coaches, if a participant has an unsuccessful performance, clearly sings horribly, you shouldn’t say ,”A ssspplendid performance! It’s very, verrrry impressive,” “I’m proud of you, thank you,” and so on. With that, you cause a misunderstanding for both the participant and the viewers. It turns out that singing poorly is passable. With that, you don’t do anyone any good, but rather, you pay lip service. You have to work with an inexperienced singer, show her guidance, and also correctly commend and appreciate. This is the only way to become a professional. 

The Voice is both a competition and an educational process, the principle of which is to return to pure live sound, to that point from which the culture of singing begins. And it is here that the Voice of Armenia lost out.

Honorable members of the jury (I’m referring especially to the men), have you forgotten that the program is called “The Voice,” and you have to find a person with a voice who can also sing? If you’re promoting a favorite, expressing the illogical idea that “they have to be given a chance,” then you are contradicting the principles of the program, you’re playing with your reputation, and the most deplorable, you’re preventing and “breaking” those who actually have a chance. We’re not against your taking your favorite participant as a student and coaching them during your free time. 

You shouldn’t underestimate your TV viewer; first, he’s the one ensuring the unbearable thing known as ratings. And second, maybe the viewer is an intelligent person and understands that one of the coaches wants to seem original at any price; the other is impatiently waiting for the end of the broadcast so he can get on with his work; yet another throws himself to defend that which he doesn’t need to; and the last one, from fear of not attracting unnecessary talk about him, gets himself into a trap. 

Those running the program were obliged to explain this to jury members and to warn presenters that in competitions they don’t have the right to express opinions about participants’ performances. It would be good too if editors prohibited writing the profound statement “Life is a stage and stage is life”; otherwise, it turns out that the beads, feathers, swings and outdated dances are not enough for the air. 

If the first brick is wrongly placed, the entire wall becomes crooked. And at the end, we got the result that was predicted from the very beginning. Only we didn’t know that after the program the coaches, sword and shield in hand, would begin a new duel — this time in the news media, blaming each other for being biased and unprofessional (and a thousand other minor offenses).

Channel One Russia Director General Konstantin Ernst has announced that the second season of the Russian version of The Voice will begin in September of this year. Ernst, who’s lived a difficult glamorous life, asked former jury members to come back and assume the accursed jury seats once again. It’s obvious that only one of the four agreed to come back. 

Anita Hakhverdyan
TV viewer

School: No. 8 school named after Aleksandr Pushkin, then No. 30 school named after Valery Chkalov
Education: Armenian State Pedagogical University
Favorite film: If I had to choose just one, it would be The Sound of Music. It was the first film I ever watched and which I’m prepared to always watch again.
Favorite author: Since I grew up surrounded by Russian classical literature, I love Anton Chekhov the most. Chekhov is the source of my meditation.
Favorite sport: all extreme sports, especially windsurfing, which I’ve done for a long time
Favorite music: In music, I place importance not on “what” but on “how”; genres and directions are secondary; what’s important is the performance
Favorite expression: I say all types of set expressions

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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