In going blond this week, Adam Levine illustrated the central problem with "The Voice." The NBC singing contest is, and has always been, more about the big-name coaches than the unknown singers struggling to win.
Levine's new hair shade made more of an impression than most singers this week. The Levine-Blake Shelton "bromance" is more crucial to "The Voice" than the contestants. The hopefuls' singing often is overshadowed by the judges' reviews, which are usually raves that turn repetitive.
You don't get tough love on "The Voice" that Simon Cowell and Harry Connick Jr. have administered on "Idol."
"The Voice" on Tuesday lost this season's best singer, Orlando's Sisaundra Lewis. These contests are for young people; at 44, Lewis was evidently too old for the public. Still, it's hard to take seriously a singing contest that drops the strongest performer. She had "the voice."
Is it any wonder that "The Voice" hasn't created a singer to rival Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or Phillip Phillips from "Idol"?
In television terms, "The Voice" is more smoothly produced than "Idol," has an Emmy to prove it and posts stronger ratings these days.
"Idol" has lost megahit status and the old mojo. Despite all the problems, "Idol" remains the better singing contest because the focus is on the singers and because the judging has edge.
This season "Idol" has been a better showcase for finalists Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse and Alex Preston than "The Voice" has been for its finalists. When Jennifer Lopez got up and danced briefly on Wednesday's show, she was trying to make a point to Irene.
"Idol" isn't what it was, but it was always more than a TV show. And Fox has renewed "Idol" for a 14th season.