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Singing competition showdown

Courtesy photo
"American Idol" judges (from left) Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson with host Ryan Seacrest (second from right).

Nowadays, singing talent can be found on many different reality shows, such as "American Idol," "The Voice," "America's Got Talent," "The X Factor," "The Sing Off" and more. The two most popular of these are "American Idol" and "The Voice," both of which are on the air right now. ("American Idol" is on at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox; "The Voice" is on NBC at 8 p.m. Mondays).

But what do teens think of them? Would they rather watch "American Idol" or "The Voice"? What aspects of the shows do they like?

Scott High School freshman Hannah Chapman prefers "The Voice."

"Showing the face of a singer versus not showing the face causes a major outcome [influence]," she said. "Showing the face of a contestant is like judging a book by its cover. They put it away if it doesn't look good.

"'The Voice' is a more fair reality talent show," she concluded.

Sophomore Brittany Whitt disagrees. The show choir member said, "'American Idol' has been around for [a long time], and every year the show produces a fantastic singer, so even though it may not be fair, it is still accurate."

 "American Idol" began in 2002, based on the British show "Pop Idol." Created by Simon Fuller, it's a yearly competition that attracts thousands of people from around the United States, who test their voices in front of judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. (In the past, judges were Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.)

In the audition round, singers must get at least two out of three votes to receive the golden ticket to Hollywood that they all dream about. In Hollywood, contestants are tested by singing individually and in a group. The judges decide who will stay and who will go home.

If they're lucky enough to make it past all that, then they go to the main stage to perform live each week. That's where episode to episode a contestant is picked off -- based on voting from viewers -- until a winner is chosen.

"I watch 'American Idol' for the sake of hearing good music that the participants share," junior Ashley Johnson said. "But the judging isn't fair because the contestants are judged by their looks."

So how do you fix that?

How about singing to the judges' backs? That's what the contestants who enter 'The Voice' do.

"I prefer watching 'The Voice' more, mainly because the people who sing it aren't being shown," senior Jessie Smith said.

"The Voice" premiered in 2011. It's based on "The Voice of Holland," created by Dutch producer John De Mol.

On it, when a contestant tries out, the judges, who are called coaches, are facing away from him or her. They listen to the song, and if they decide they like the singer, they press their buzzer and the contestant becomes part of their team. If no one rings their buzzer, the contestant does not proceed any further. If two or more coaches ring their buzzers, the contestant gets to pick who he or she works with.

After the audition round, teams are cut in half; their coach picks who goes on and who goes home. Then, the contestants who are left sing live each week until there is a winner. The winner receives $100,000, and a record deal with Universal Republic.

The coaches are phenomenal representatives of their genres. They are pop singer Christina Aguilera, hip-hop singer Cee Lo Green, country singer Blake Shelton, and singer Adam Levine from the pop rock band Maroon 5.

The judges are why freshman Savannah Skipper likes the show.

"I like 'The Voice' because the judges actually have experience in music, whereas in 'American Idol,' they aren't that professional," she said, explaining that for example, Randy Jackson is a music producer not an actual singer, but on "The Voice," all the judges can sing.

 "I just watch 'The Voice' because Christina Aguilera is a judge," said freshman Zack Lester. "But the singers are picked fairly."

Whichever show teens like better, they both have one thing in common. Each season, they bring an amazing star into the world.


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