The Voice’s first results show: between Idol’s tedium and SYTYCD’s awesomeness

The Voice aired its first real results show last night, and the result was something in between the tedium and awfulness of American Idol‘s typically bloated results shows and the entertaining hour of television that always is So You Think You Can Dance‘s results shows–although I should have written “was,” since SYTYCD’s results have been cancelled.

I was worried about how The Voice would do with its extra hour, considering it aired just one night a week last summer up until its final two weeks, when it did a results show and the finale, but as it found its way into regular season results shows, the NBC series definitely proved that it has learned from American Idol. (In fairness, the Fox series’ results shows have been slightly less horrible this year, though they still drag.)

The Voice began with the requisite recap and then dispensed with the guest performance quickly, meaning the results themselves actually arrived early in the show. Incredible! Following a pre-recorded package with each team, we learned the bottom three; Carson Daly didn’t channel Ryan Seacrest and screw with the contestants, he just gave the results, albeit sometimes with an overly dramatic pause.

However, the show almost lost me when it trotted out that hack Jay Leno, credited as a “special guest star”; I get that it’s NBC synergy, but still, he’s the opposite of the relevance and relatively young vibe that this show has. Then again, maybe it’s a good lesson: In your singing career, you may have to sell your soul to sell records.

The bottom three on each team were able to pick their own song to convince their coach to save them, which is reminiscent of SYTYCD‘s solo performances before the judges picked who was going home. (How much freedom the contestants had to choose songs was in contention; questioned about song choice by Blake Shelton, Naia Kete said, “They wouldn’t let me, honestly … there was only so many songs, Blake, I swear.”)

The public’s vote was still responsible for sending people home, however; of the three people to get the lowest number of votes, the two team members who weren’t saved went home immediately. Christina Aguilera saved Ashley De La Rosa, while Blake Shelton saved Jordis Unga, thus cutting Sera Hill, Naia Kete, Charlotte Sometimes, and Moses Stone. I like that brutal efficiency; it’s better than the tedium of one–perhaps none, with the judges’ save–per week for 12 or 13 weeks.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.