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There’s this singing competition. It airs on a major network, two nights a week. There are four judges, and each will coach and guide a team of contestants in the hopes that one of “theirs” will win the big prize. One of the judges is a former 90s teen pop star.
Get it? It’s both shows! Whaaat?
But which should you be watching? Read on to find out…
The Talent: Both shows are still in the preliminary rounds… too soon to tell who’s got the better set. I’ve already fallen in love with singers from both (hi Collin McLaughlin and Jannel Garcia).
The Judges: “I pushed the button first!” “No, I did!” The Voice’s judging panel (Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine) has a fun, light sense of competition. The fight to get singers on their teams, the sly glances to see who’s going to turn their chair around, the Blake and Adam bromance for the ages… it’s the best part of the show.
The X Factor also has a great group. L.A. Reid is sassy, Demi Lovato is damn mature for however old she is (I forget), Simon Cowell is… Simon Cowell, and Britney Spears is much more fantastic than I ever could have dreamed. Maybe it’s because this is their first year together, but unfortunately they just don’t have the chemistry of The Voice crew.
The Hosts: Sorry, Voice, but it’s just disconcerting to see Carson Daly and Christina Milian on TV again… they’re both charming, but it’s like opening up a People magazine from 8 years ago.
X Factor doesn’t even have hosts yet (though Cowell says there will be two). I’m hoping for the return of Brian Dunkleman.
Humiliation factor: The X Factor’s made a really interesting choice this year, editing the waiting room footage to show as many wannabe popstar rivalries and side-eyes as possible. There’s also a “American Idol”-esque tendency to include some crazy/ridiculous/horrible singers. The Voice doesn’t really go down that road, keeping each contestant’s story isolated. Also, everyone put on The Voice stage seems to at least have a shot at getting through the next round - no one’s up there just for the audience to boo. Personally? I like that it’s much more about the music than the spectacle. (CeeLo’s pink parrot is all the spectacle we need.)
Verdict: Why choose? The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC, while X Factor is on FOX’s Wenesday and Thursday lineup. You can spend your whole week watching people add crazy high notes to last year’s top 40.
But if you have to choose… The Voice. Until we get down to the final few, there will be too many contestants to keep track of - so you want the most entertaining judges possible. The X Factor, while great, has no bromances nor pink birds. But if you want your judges to stay out of the artistic picture? X Factor’s your show.