NBC's smash hit The Voice ends its first season this week, and I, for one, am bummed. Over ten weeks I've found many reasons to call this show my favorite on television. As we get ready to crown a winner and say goodbye (for now), here's a list of the five things I'll miss most about The Voice.
5. Learning to love songs I used to loathe. The show has finally made me "get" why everyone else loves music so much. I've gone from the person who had little more than a passing interest, to somebody who is counting down the days (twenty-six) until I get to see one of my new favorite bands in concert. In fact, I'm not just a fan, but I'm also now a musician: I went out and bought not one, but two guitars. I've really had a complete eye-opening experience when it comes to music, thanks to this show.
What's really neat is that the Voice artists have performed songs I've hated - not just disliked, but actively turned off the radio to avoid, or started groaning at, really hated - and, to quote Adam Levine, "forced me to like" them. Vicci Martinez did Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Casey Weston performed KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." I would rather have thrown my stereo at someone than have to listen to REM's "Losing My Religion" again, but Dia Frampton sold me on it. All three songs used to drive me nuts, and all three Voice versions are now on my iTunes.
4. The banter. The Voice has more quotable lines than many scripted shows. Almost every week I come away with something that I repeat. Most of it comes from Adam (with classics like "I thought you were a chick") and Blake Shelton ("Was it your idea to have the mimes?"), but really, there's no shortage of laughs on this show. The contestants are equally funny (Jeff Jenkins is probably still "waiting on that legal Thompson sister") and even host Carson Daly has brought his deadpan sense of humor.
It's not that forced kind of "we're trying to be funny" humor, either. These people are having a good time, and we get to share that with them. In fact, they have made me choke on my soda on more than one occasion. Someone owes me a case of Dr. Pepper.
3. The irrepressible positive energy. I think I've said it a dozen times over my previous columns, but it really is true. There is so much love, joy, and generally good vibes going through this program that it's ridiculous. There's laughter, tears, and far more - and we get to see it every week. I am not ashamed to admit that I've shed a few tears and cheered out loud a few times along the way.
A prime example of this is Blake Shelton. I don't listen to country music, but I listen to his music now, because I am so impressed with how he's treated his team members. In particular, I love how supportive and protective he has been of Xenia. When I was her age, I had authority figures telling me everything I wasn't or couldn't do, including derogatory language and put-downs. I always wished somebody would support me. It's too late for me, obviously, but it's so awesome to see Blake be what I always hoped for.
In a TV world that's saturated with groups of "real housewives," Kardashian sisters, Jersey Shore, and more Paris Hilton, it's terribly refreshing for me to show up on Tuesday night and watch something that not only isn't vapid or negative or vain, but actually adds something to my life. This show actually sticks with me after it's over, and I'm all for any television program that is meaningful.
2. The new friends that I've made. Over the last few weeks, I have been incredibly blessed to welcome new people into my life because of The Voice - not just passing acquaintances, but people who have become good friends of mine, and who've brought some love and support into my life when I've needed it. It's been a joy to get to know them and for them to get to know me.
First and foremost, I want to give a shout-out to two members of my team, Team Adam, who are not only talented artists but whom I am now lucky enough to say that I know. Both Tim Mahoney and Casey Desmond are not just great singers, but they're wonderful people. I connected with both of them within minutes of meeting them, and I still keep in touch with them to this day. Before the show, I didn't know them and they didn't know me, but Casey was the first person I told after I met Adam, and I just tweeted Tim last night. I'll consider them friends forever.
I've also met a number of great Voice fans. There are the lovely people behind the @TeamAdaam Twitter account, whom I banter with on a regular basis - as well as a number of other people (I'm sorry that I can't remember everyone's names!) that I chat with on Twitter about the show all the time. We've come together because of it, and I think that's pretty neat.
1. Finding (and meeting) a new hero. Even if you got rid of everything else, I'd be grateful for The Voice for the rest of my life - because not only did it give me a new hero, it also allowed me to meet him. That's an experience that I know I'll be looking back on decades from now as one of the defining moments I've had on this planet.
Last week, I told you the story of what Adam Levine did for my life, and how much of an honor and a pleasure it was for me to get to meet him. I'm not sure that column did it justice, but I don't think any words ever will, because even now I still can't believe it happened. I've had to check the pictures on my camera just to remind myself that I didn't make it up.
I've met a lot of lovely people through this job, but it's very rare and very humbling to meet someone that you can say for a fact fundamentally changed who you are. Especially when that person is a hugely successful musician with hordes of screaming fans and plenty of other people vying for their time. No matter how rough things get for me, I can hold on to the fact that Adam knows I exist, and not only that, he saw me as a normal person. Sometimes I can't even do that.
(Sidenote: To that end, I want to thank not just Adam, but the other people who made that moment possible. I will forever be grateful to Adam's assistant Shawn, who noticed me first, and my assistant Lisa, who stopped to help Shawn set the whole thing up while I was busy trying not to fall down stairs. Oh, and Shane and Co. at 1iota for not letting me fall down the stairs. Couldn't have done it without all of you.)
As I head off for the final two shows of season one, I'm actually sad. At the beginning of this, if you'd told me I would be upset at the end of a reality show, I'd have laughed at you. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if I get a little emotional. Too much has happened for me not to appreciate it.
At the same time, thanks to this show, I feel like I'm a better person, who's about to kick in the door and start a whole new journey with music, and I'm beyond excited. Stay tuned, dear readers, because I'll be here to take you to the end of season one...and we can start looking forward to January and season two!
The Voice airs its final performance show tonight at 9 PM ET/PT, with the live results show Wednesday night at 8 PM ET/PT, on NBC.