Voicing Support For “The Voice”

June 13, 2011

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for reality TV. I don’t go for the “Housewives” franchise, “The Bachelor(ette)” or anything starring a Kardashian or a Hilton.

Competition shows are my guilty pleasure. I’m a die-hard “Survivor” fan, I get giddy over “Road Rules” and “Real World” challenges, and sadly I can even get wrapped up on “Big Brother” on a slow summer night.

But my newest obsession might be the best yet: “The Voice.” Have you seen this show? It’s awesome in so many ways. The judges are perfect. I wasn’t aware of who Blake Sheldon was a few weeks ago, and now I’m a moderate fan. Somehow Christina Aguilera has even redeemed herself in my eyes.

Sure, you might brush this show off as an “American Idol” knock-off, but look a little deeper and you’ll find actually talented contestants who are “coached” by compelling (read: not washed up just yet) artists on a weekly basis. But beyond the chemistry between the judges and watching the development of their protegees lies what might be the most interesting part — the blatant incorporation of social media into the workings of the show.

Before almost every commercial break, Carson Daly (blech) throws the camera over to some chick who hangs out in the “V-room” (don’t ask…I don’t know) and gives updates on who’s tweeting what about a contestant, and whether any of the judges is “trending worldwide!” It’s all a bit much, but it’s part of a formula that has made this show a big surprise success.

The judges each have between 250,000 and 550,000 followers on Twitter, and all of them (allegedly) tweet throughout the airing of each show. Whether they’re sending their own tweets or if an assistant’s fingers are hard at work, it actually adds a compelling dimension to the show. I counted at least 65 tweets during the two-hour show from the “V-correspondent” (again, don’t ask) on @NBCTheVoice, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Follow Cee-Lo, Adam, Blake or Xtina and you’ll get running commentary from each of them. And if you’re REALLY into it, join the thousands of followers each contestant has amassed and check out THEIR tweets throughout the show.

I’ve seen TV shows tack on social media elements… seemingly as an afterthought. But “The Voice” appears to be different in its approach. And the show is here to stay – it’s already secured the post-Super Bowl time slot next year (assuming there is a Super Bowl), so NBC is banking on it to succeed. What will be interesting to watch is how “The Voice” evolves not only as a TV show, but as a presence online.

Can you name a TV show that has done a good job at effectively integrating social media into its content? Was it better or worse than “The Voice?”