‘The Voice’ nears finale as season four of ‘The Sing-Off’ premieres

Does anybody know what reality even is anymore? Photo: NBC

WASHINGTON, December 9, 2013 –“The Voice” will be wrapping up another successful season when it announces this year’s winner on December 17. But Mark Burnett, the power behind “The Voice,” has yet another singing competition ready in the wings and hankering to pick up where “The Voice” leaves off.

On Monday night following “The Voice,” we will be force-fed yet another competitive reality show when “The Sing-Off” airs the first episode of its fourth season.

Yes, you heard that right. Always searching for an angle, Mark Burnett has scheduled “The Sing-Off” to follow that final episodes of “The Voice.” No doubt he has done this in hopes of holding onto his audience in the hour following “The Voice.”

The question is: just how much belting can we take on any given night?

Right after world peace and an end to poverty on my Christmas List, I have been pining—pining, I tell you—for yet another competitive reality show featuring a cappella acts only. So thank you, thank you Mark Burnett for beating a dead horse just to please me. This is so much better than 15 minutes of fame.

Added bonus: In my dreams, I also wanted only D-list celebrities participating in this show, another wish Burnett has granted. Is this guy a mind reader as well? Does it get any better than this?

The host Burnett chose for the show is none other than previous boy band member Nick Lachey. He is joined by judges Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Jewel. The “popular” guests enlisted for season four include Bobby McFerrin, Natasha Bedingfield, Jay Sean, Smokey Robinson, Neil Diamond, Boyz II Men, and Sara Bareilles. Boy, is that a star-studded cast or what? “Mine eyes dazzle!” as Jacobean playwright John Webster once observed in another time and another context.

Okay, granted there are a few names we quickly recognize in this bunch. But Burnett must have used up his obviously limited operating capital on their salaries. That’s because the rest of this anemic roster consists either of wash-ups, washouts, or one-hit wonders who’ve long since been forgotten and who might even be paying Burnett in a desperate attempt to resurrect moribund careers long ago eclipsed by the latest antics of the latest entertainment twerker-jerk.

Bobby McFerrin? Seriously? Were the people behind “The Sing-Off” on an Acapulco Gold vintage high when they were developing season four? Has legalized reefer madness gone entirely off the rails already? Or are dreadlocks still fashion-forward?

Then again, McFerrin materialized in DC not all that long ago conducting the National Symphony Orchestra in a pops program. Heaven forefend! These D-listers, they stoop to conquer as Oliver Goldsmith once astutely observed. So what’s next? Miley Cyrus and friends join Andrea Bocelli in singing old faves from the Elvis songbook while twerking in Italian—with subtitles—on location in Tupelo?

But we digress.

The reason “The Voice” works is largely due to the participation of the show’s very successful, very well known and very happening now judges. Without Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, “The Voice” would be just another annoying reality show among the teeming legions of them that seem to spring up as fast as those splintered baby brooms overwhelm Mickey Mouse in Disney’s cartoon take on “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

At any rate, because Burnett has taken a frugal approach to hiring judges and guests for “The Sing-Off,” this particular pit in Dante’s “Inferno” will turn out to be just another entry in the growing pantheon of annoying and increasingly phony and rigged reality shows. Fortunately there are only seven episodes of “The Sing-Off” to endure. We could almost hold our collective breath and just wait this one out.

But na-a-a-ah! It’s too much fun to rant about it.

Anyhow, tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC, millions will tune into “The Voice” because it has perfected the formula behind competitive reality shows. But in the hour that follows, look for a mass exodus from NBC to networks airing better, fresher shows, leaving NBC’s 9 p.m. Nielsens suddenly flatlining in a most alarming fashion.

We report. You decide. (Hopefully, with your remote).

Fortunately for most of us, “Mike & Molly,” “Sleepy Hollow” and the finale of “Bonnie and Clyde” all air at 9 p.m., giving us greener, fresher pastures in which to graze until our LED-etched eyeballs self-eject from their sockets in a final, desperate act of total capitulation and brain death.

Truth be told, anything beats watching yet another tedious reality show that lines the pockets of Mark Burnett or encourages him to assume we hunger to consume even more questionable examples of his “genius.” 


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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