I am about to admit something I never thought I would admit, but I just can’t help it. It’s how I feel. During last night’s season 4 premiere of The Voice on NBC, I missed former judge Christina Aguilera. There, I said it. It wasn’t because new judges Usher and Shakira were so terrible or offensive. I just found myself missing that little dose of crazy during the judges’ comments.
When Christina and Cee Lo Green left the show to focus on their own careers — and probably to spend time with their wigs — they were replaced with Shakira and Usher. I didn’t really know what to expect from either of them going in, because I’m not that familiar with them as artists or pop culture personalities. But I did know that neither of them had cockatoos on their shoulders, and they were both wearing full pairs of pants. So right away it was a little difficult to get used to them.
The new judges are already trying to find their “things.” Usher spent the entire show sitting back in his chair with one leg up, sweet-talking contestants and playing the Justin Bieber card. He also made the mistake of calling Nashville a state, which the other judges will never let him live down. I could have done without Usher’s “I’m so cool, I don’t even have to sit up straight” attitude, since I already have to deal with Adam Levine’s cockiness and Blake Shelton’s creepy finger-pointing habit. I wasn’t actively offended by Usher’s presence, but it didn’t really do much for me, in terms of entertainment value or convincing me that he would be a good mentor. But it was only the first episode of auditions, so there’s a chance his mentoring skills will surprise me.
Shakira doesn’t seem to have a “thing” yet, but she’s already trying to fill Christina’s platforms by arguing with Adam. I’m all for people calling Adam Levine out on his douchey behavior (Stop standing on your chair! This is not Dead Poets Society!), but like Usher, it didn’t do much for me. Again, nothing terrible, just blah.
Which brings me to the reason I missed Christina. Like Cee Lo, Christina always brought the crazy, usually through her outfits and her habit of breaking into song at the drop of a hat to demonstrate how the contestant could have changed his or her song. Sure, it could get annoying sometimes, but looking back on Christina’s comments, she would do more than just beg the contestants to be on her team. Yeah, she did some of that, but she also gave constructive criticism that showed she knows about singing. There’s no denying Christina has a killer voice, and while she might not have been my favorite judge personality-wise, if I were a singer I’d probably feel pretty confident being trained by her.
That said, when I watch The Voice, I watch to hear the singing. (Gasp!) However, since I have to sit through ten minutes of the coaches fighting over each of the contestants, I might as well enjoy that part, too, right?
Maybe Shakira and Usher will turn out to be better at mentoring than they are at entertaining. But for now, I wouldn’t object to Xtina and Cee Lo returning. And Cee Lo’s cat can come, too.