Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Voice

Are you watching The Voice? I'm sucked in already. It was interesting to see the guy on last night with a stutter.

It always feels empowering for me, seeing other people with the same struggle, stepping outside their comfort zone and doing big things. The majority of stutterers hide away a bit, and there can be a tendency to under-achieve. So it's great to see a young guy up on stage like that.

On a cynical note, they really milked it for all it was worth though.. he was right at the end of the episode, yet they played snippets of him 'coming up' every two minutes, with little heart-string tugging clips of him stuttering.

I find it hard to eloquently put into words what I mean, but it would be cool if it was more of a non-issue, rather than a thing for producers to latch on to in order to make him likable and unusual. I'm sure that kid really wants to be seen as a singer who also happens to have a stutter, not as a stutterer who sings well. From where I'm standing there's a big difference.


Alistair Bain said...

I didn't see it. But I'm kind of glad I didn't now.

Did it seem exploitative?

Ben McLaughlin said...

Exploitative might be too strong a word.. but something about it made my eyes roll a bit. It may be that I'm overly sensitive on the topic, I don't know.

Nathan said...

I saw it. I thought they held him off to the end at least in part because he was the best singer of the night. They could've exploited the story of the guy whose parents died every bit as much if they wanted to tug the heart strings - but the kid could sing.

Laetitia :-) said...

It's like the legacies of Margaret Thatcher and Julia Gillard - what will they be remembered for? Their politics or their gender? For MT, her politics were so divisive that they seem to have edged out her being Britain's 1st female PM; we're yet to see about JG. I expect both women would prefer to be known for their politics.

And I expect that Barak Obama would prefer to be remembered as a wise President of the USA (not actually commenting on USA politics here - no opinion on his wisdom or otherwise, just speculating on what he might like) who happened to be black rather than the first black president who happened to be wise.

Anonymous said...

It does seem exploitative; a contestant can choose not to tell the producers that his parents died in order to avoid them milking that and gaining sympathy votes, but you can't hide a stutter. It seems unfair to make a big deal out of something the contestant doesn't have a choice about... it would kinda be like emphasizing someone's weight and making them the 'oooh, he's overweight, but he can sing really well!' guy (except that no one would ever do that - weight is a no-go area, but stuttering, apparently, is not). Maybe? Maybe not. I don't even know if any of that makes sense.

There's a guy in the top 6 of American Idol this year who stutters, too (although he really should have gone home WEEKS ago). I did find it amazing to watch him speaking versus singing - how crazy is the human brain?!

Kutz - (Peter Kutuzov) said...

Hey Ben,

Yeah, I'm hooked too mate. As of the end of the blind auditions last season, I was watching and ending up crying at some point in around 40-50% of episodes. #emo

For me personally, they've *just* overstepped the sweet spot of telling people's stories and helping you engage with them as people, and moved into a fake feeling. It's working too hard so that you can't miss it, rather than allowing you to naturally connect with them. I think it's counter-productive for feeling engaged with the show.

As with you, I don't think I'd say it's exploitation, and great observation from Nathan as well. His voice was enough of a showpiece to warrant his position in the show.

Also, as the show goes on it'll get tired if they keep trotting out his stutter as his main identifier, so I suspect/hope that they'll tone that focus down as time goes on.

The thing that's been annoying me is some of the tricks from other shows that have entered that spoil it. Ie, showing stuff from the next show that totally ruins any tension so you know what's going to happen, putting ad breaks before choices of choach, etc...