I love The Voice (the reality competition) auditions. It's appealing, the thought that only talent matters. My entire body tightens in anticipation, waiting for that first chair to turn.
I admire the contestants. The amount of hope they carry and confidence they have to have is incredible. I can't imagine feeling that way about any part of myself. The look on some faces when their ambition is rewarded speaks to me.
The singing is now the only portion I watch, and not just because I love music (and truly enjoy singing). The banter and "fighting" between judges for the decision of a singer is often more cringe-worthy than legitimately funny. There is also a little too much filler.
But, the part that bugs me more than any scripted jab between the "pros" are the backstories of our starry-eyed songbirds.
First, it bothers me that a fair amount of these singers are (at least) semi-professional. Some spent time as background vocalists for famous recording artists. Others have had songs on the radio (and some "top chart songs") but are between contacts so it's okay that they audition. I know everyone can/should be able to sing well if they have a chance on The Voice, but there are many artists who are amazing and would almost kill for the chance. The producers have to try harder.
The other thing about the show (and I can't tolerate) are the sob stories. Nearly every person trying to make it on the show has tales of heartache and woe. Sick grandfather? Let's exploit that. Your mom left when you were a baby? How did that make you feel? You beat cancer, incredible! Do you have any photos of you in the hospital? Everyone has had something in their life that's disturbing, sad, or difficult and I'm not suggesting they're telling lies, but I am sick of executives playing on people's pain for ratings. I know hearing what happens to someone else can (possibly) help someone in a similar situation, but (I feel) the way it's packaged only leaves the audience with some vague pity and ensuing barren feel-good thoughts at the "positive turn".
Still, there is something irresistible about a new season and new chances. Maybe the whole thing is, indeed, scripted like most reality television. Regardless, it lets me believe in brighter beginnings, at least for a few episodes. And... that's worth it to me.