Let the inevitable comparisons to American Idol begin! NBC announced today that it is developing a singing competition dubbed The Voice of America for spring 2011. The show, from uber-reality producers John de Mol (Big Brother) and Mark Burnett (Survivor) is based on De Mol’s successful Dutch format The Voice of Holland that just launched in September. Viewers will have a say in determining finalists, who will compete for a recording contract. Four celebrity artists will head up teams of singers and provide coaching and mentoring throughout the competition.
Participants are eliminated until each celeb has only one team member left who will compete in the finals, when a winner will be named “The Voice of America.” To guarantee that participants are judged on their talent only, the celebs will have their backs turned during the initial auditions. In all, the show features three stages of competition - the blind audition, the battle phase, and the live performance shows.
There have been numerous attempts by competing networks over the years to steal some of Idol’s thunder. (Remember The One, Nashville Star, Rock Star and Duets?) But no competition show has managed to last as long as the Fox juggernaut. Still, NBC is bullish about its new show because of the success of all music-based programs - not just Idol. “There seems to be a real demand for music, between Glee, The Sing Off and Idol,” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s executive VP, alternative programming, tells EW. “People are consuming more music than ever before. There is room for all the shows.”
And Telegdy insists that Voice is a far different format from Idol or even The X-Factor. Unlike those two shows that go out on the road to find good, bad and - yes, even ugly - talent, Voice will recruit budding singers from talent schools, clubs, colleges - you name it. As for the mentors, Telegdy said “household name” recording artists are used in Holland, and that American audiences will be “pleasantly surprised” by who NBC selects to serve. The gig will require a huge time commitment, given the amount of mentoring that’s required for the show.