The Voice series premiere recap: Vocal News

Dueling musicians, confusing rules, and a controversial ex-'American Idol' contestant dominate the debut of the new singing competition
Ep. 01 | Aired Apr 26, 2011

RED ALERT The Voice's most famous judge -- er, sorry, coach -- blends right in on this show's crimson-hued set.

Chris Haston/NBC

The Voice taught all of us a valuable lesson tonight: Don't judge a show by its relentless ad campaign. For weeks, NBC has been irritating dozens and dozens of viewers (and at least one famous person) by running obnoxious, screen-obscuring spots for its new singing competition underneath its regularly scheduled programming. But if anyone didn't tune in to the first episode of The Voice because they were sick to death of those ads, they missed a fun new series that may just have breathed some life into the overly-saturated singing show genre.

It hasn't, however, completely reinvented the wheel. At the top of The Voice's two-hour premiere, host Carson Daly declared the series to be "a singing competition unlike any other, because it puts vocal ability first." Eh... not really. Here's a breakdown of how this excessively complicated show works:

1. The Voice features four celebrity coaches -- Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine, in case their images haven't been burned into your brainstem yet --who must each draft eight singers to form a team. They choose the members of their teams in Round One, the "blind auditions."

2. In this opening round, each judge is placed in a giant, Dr. Claw-esque chair that faces away from a stage. One by one, wannabes come out and try to wow the coaches with their voices alone. These auditioners have all been vetted already by The Voice's producers, so none of them are untalented losers being trotted out solely for our sick amusement -- ahem, Idol.

3. If a coach likes what he hears, he presses a magic button that turns his chair around; if he's the only judge that turns by the time the wannabe stops singing, that vocalist is automatically on his team.

4. But -- and this is where it gets fun -- if more than one coach presses his button, the vocalist who's being fought over gets to choose which coach he or she wants to work with.

5. Once each coach has chosen eight singers, he or she personally trains the members of that team to make them better vocalists. I imagine that this stage will include at least one montage set on an obstacle course.

6. Then comes Round Two, in which each coach is responsible for cutting half the members of his or her team. Here, teammates will compete against each other inside of what appears to be a giant Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots ring. At this point, the coaches will be permitted to watch the contestants as they perform, so that whole "putting vocal ability first" thing kind of goes out the window.

7. Finally, in its last round, The Voice will start to look a lot more familiar. The 16 remaining singers will perform live. Viewers will vote for their favorites, eventually selecting one grand prize winner.

8. The victor receives $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Republic.

Did that clarify things? I'm going to pretend I just heard you say 'yes.' Let's move on.

NEXT: God, I hope I get it!

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