The Voice Australia - Should Professional Singers Be Allowed To Compete?

24 April 2013

Viewers of The Voice Australia have been complaining at the amount of established singers that have been allowed to audition this year.

Take 40 have received countless social media posts and emails regarding this topic, so we thought it was time we shared our opinion on the matter.

The Voice Australia has been under attack particularly this year for allowing artists with pre-existing musical careers (and success) to audition for the show.

Who will win The Voice? Our top 7 picks to win!

Michael Paynter and Abby Dobson are probably the two that have attracted the most criticism, but singers like Simone Stacey and Luke Kennedy have all had a taste of a music career before their audition on The Voice.

If you weren’t aware, Michael had a top 20 hit with the song ‘Love The Fall’ back in 2010, and signed a record deal with Sony. He has also been lucky enough to support artists like Miley Cyrus, The Script, The Veronicas and even The Voice’s own Seal on their Australian tours. Yep, when he mentioned that he’d watched Seal from side of stage before, that’s because he’d supported him!

Abby Dobson was the lead singer of Leonardo’s Bride as most people now know. The way she has been described by critics makes her sound like she has dozens of ARIA awards under her belt and an overflowing bank account, but in reality she only had one hit single ‘Even When I’m Sleeping’, and that was back in 1997.

Simone Stacey was part of mildly successful duo ‘Shakaya’ back in the 90s, and Luke Kennedy was one of the Ten Tenors. Even Caterina Torres has been signed on a label before, but they dropped her.

So let’s look at the different arguments flying around

1. Professional artists lose credibility by auditioning for TV reality shows

Many people have claimed Abby “lost her credibility” simply by auditioning for the show.

Firstly, why does auditioning for something commercial equate to losing credibility? If Abby wants to earn money for her music (like all other musicians do) then she shouldn’t be described as ‘selling out’ or ‘desperate.’

She was invited to audition for The Voice, unlike other reality TV shows which allow all levels of talent (or lack thereof) she was asked to appear on the show because she’s a beautiful singer. Shouldn’t that gain her some credibility instead of lose it?

We for one are very glad we don’t have to sit through the terrible novelty singers that shows like American Idol give 15 minutes of fame, and we like the fact that The Voice takes the time to source really talented performers.

It’s not like Abby and Michael were being splashed across every newspaper prior to audition. No-one had written about them for a very long time, so the show should have only brought positive attention to their voices, not detracted from them.

2. Professional singers get an unfair advantage over other contestants

Secondly, none of Abby’s commercial success mattered when she sang her song to the coaches, because it was a blind audition and they could only hear her voice and make their decision based on that.

It’s not unfair to allow established singers on the show because as we saw when Abby didn’t get any of the chairs turning for her – it doesn’t matter in the end.

Some of the most inexperienced singers in a commercial context (like Harrison Craig) have been singing since they were children, and are not at a disadvantage just because they don’t have industry experience. They are also no less popular on the show than the contestants with previous musical careers, because as we saw through the blind auditions, some of the most inexperienced singers became crowd favourites... perhaps over and ahead of the professionals. 

3. If they’re already successful they shouldn’t take up a spot on The Voice that could be filled with someone new.

Thirdly, it’s not as if Abby has been sitting at home on a pile of money living off her residual profit and was doing The Voice just for a laugh. She’s probably been singing in bars and pubs since the end of Leonardo’s Bride, and was looking for another chance to get her music out there again.

Should she be denied that second chance? We don’t think so.

She has never actually had commercial success as a solo artist, and has been trying since Leonardo's Bride disbanded in 2001. 

As we’ve seen countless times in the very small Australian music industry, reality TV is definitely a successful vehicle for getting artists the exposure they deserve.

Even previous reality TV show winners Samantha Jade from The X Factor, and Andrew De Silva from Australia’s Got Talent have had music careers prior to appearing on TV, but they still won their relative competitions fair and square.

Australian artists like Lisa Mitchell, Matt Corby, Jessica Mauboy, Guy Sebastian, Reece Mastin and Ricki-Lee all started from reality TV shows, and we think they are still credible artists, and our music industry is all the better for having heard their voices.

The Voice battle rounds begin - recap here!

What do you think? Should established artists be allowed to audition for reality TV shows? Vote below!


Comments (2)

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Posted by buyme153 on 24 April 2013

This thread has been dead for a while... but I have to say: It is ridiculous that 'established'/'professional' artists would not be allowed to compete on the show for 2 reasons. 1. They are the ones that have dedicated themselves to their art, their whole lives, and worked hard, to achieve even mediocre success. They have worked at their voice, their writing, their craft, their contacts. This, vs. a good looking young tradesman, a singer with a disease, or simply, someone who is wide eyed, and has woken up and thought 'i'm going to audition for tv, i've always wanted to be a singer'... who has NEVER done anything about it, or to try and achieve success.. If they are to go through, above 'professionals'.. THAT is what loses these shows their credibility. 2. If the 'professionals' were selling millions of albums, they would not need the show. No-one currently auditioning for a show, is selling heaps of albums, or sold out national tours.. and with the state of the music industry (diminished sales, in the digital age).. it is unfair NOT to give these hard working people, a chance to achieve success, through a format that is objectively about discovering and exposing talent. Granted, these shows can create a story, or ratings, out of nothing, but if these shows thought they could CREATE talent and birth the next big thing.. that is misguided. Reality tv is geared toward commercial pop success. The labels that classically have exposed and marketed such artists, are major record labels, who do not have the $ to put as much behind these artists anymore, and thus, are doing a huge % of their signings from TV (especially pop). Without labels willing to use their leads to media and marketing avenues, due to $, to expose 'professionals'.. this is one of the only avenues for them to expose their talent, and music. In conclusion, I think i've made my point.

Posted by mad_ass_whooper on 04 June 2013

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