Reality with a whole new spin
Why is Seal on The Voice? Not even he knows, but we love him anyway.
WELL, isn't The Voice a breath of fresh air? Let's face it, the singing competition format had become stale. We'd seen it all before. It was a big yawn. But suddenly, our horizons have been opened, thanks to the visionary who had the courage to see the future of the genre, who dared to dream of a singing competition that, instead of simply putting a person on a stage to sing in front of judges, put a person on a stage to sing in front of judges, who are sitting on chairs that spin around? Wow - just blew some minds, didn't I?
I make fun, but there's no arguing with numbers and the show has been a huge hit. The swivel chairs must take a lot of credit for this. There's something about seeing Delta Goodrem rotating that gets the blood pumping in a way that stationary Delta Goodrem just doesn't. And of course it adds layers of suspense: first, the suspense of ''will they hit the spin-button?'' And then the suspense of how they'll react when they see who they've hit the button for. Because that's the point of The Voice, of course - it's about the voice, not the look. Only after judging the voice can the judges see the face, which means there is wonderful potential for that moment where the judge spins around, going, ''Wow, your voice is so beautiful I just had to OH MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE YOU LOOK LIKE A DECAYING NEWT''. It'll be TV gold.
But it's not just the chairs that make The Voice so compelling, or the music, or the tragic lives/disabilities/haircuts of the contestants. It's the casting. The judges have been selected with the utmost care and discernment. There's Delta, of course, filling the valuable ''grandmotherly Celine Dion'' role. There's Joel Madden, filling the "Why would anyone want him to help teach them to sing?'' role. There's Keith Urban, filling the ''I'm pretty sure he's got enough money that he doesn't need to do this'' role. And then there's Seal. And it is Seal who puts the … something … on this show's success. Because Seal fills that most vital of roles, the ''what in holy hell is this dude smoking?'' role.
You wouldn't have guessed it. Before The Voice we thought Seal was just the guy who sang the Batman song and was way out of Heidi Klum's league. We had no idea he was the yellow nail-polish-wearing, mysterious hand gesture-making, gibberish-babbling force of madness that he's turned out to be. To watch Seal in action is like being seduced by a suave continental playboy who is learning English on tape and has recently taken powerful muscle relaxants.
And that's where The Voice is really taking us in exciting new directions. Cruel judges are the oldest of hats - we're now in the era of weird judges. We don't want humiliation and abuse - we want vague sleaziness and inexplicable uses of the word ''gestalt''. It's only fitting, given that so many viewers have been asking, ''What the hell is Seal doing here?'', that Seal himself doesn't seem quite sure where he is, let alone why.
This is the new era of reality - ambitious youngsters being mentored by ageing lunatics. I can't wait to see where it goes. May those chairs spin for many years.