Back in the day, I was a pretty consistent American Idol viewer. I’d watch the auditions (mostly for the memorable personalities) all the way through the finale, where I’d use my dad’s phone to spam the phone lines at the end of the show. I vividly remember the voting process to this day. My dad would write down the voting line number, as well as the number codes for each contestant on a piece of paper. Then, as we watched the show, we’d circle the two or three singers we wanted to vote for. Finally, once the show was over and Ryan Seacrest announced that the phone lines were open, I’d punch numbers in as fast as I could. You knew your contestant was doing well if the phones were so busy you couldn’t get a vote in. If you got in right away… you might want to really make sure you use all 10 of your allowed votes.
Thinking back now, it’s amazing how willing I was to stay up 30+ minutes after a show aired to call a phone number multiple times only to get a busy tone. I could never imagine myself doing that now, even with a later bedtime- if I don’t get my vote in within my first few tries, I’m done. I’m not trying again. Sorry, Sanjaya. Not even your Ponyhawk would motivate me to keep trying.
This fall marks the first TV season with the American Idol powerhouse since 2002. And while nothing will able to completely fill the void that is horrible singers thinking they’re the next Whitney Houston, at least we still have The Voice. Yay.
I’m not that big of a fan of The Voice– I think my ‘singing competition’ phase, well, phased out after 2008. But I have to give it to NBC as the show’s entering it’s eleventh season this fall. And after what I saw on Snapchat ahead of last night’s premiere, it looks voting possibilities have extensively evolved since jammed phone lines.
Leading up to last night, NBC ran ‘The Voice on Snapchat’ story where users could watch exclusive content and vote for a contestant to make it on the show. It’s an interesting push to cater towards a Millennial audience, AKA the people who don’t watch traditional TV, are cutting their cords, or are never getting cable in the first place. Live events used to be thought of as immune to ratings dips, since they’re marketing as must-see-live events. And since The Voice has live components, it could be assumed that those may help boost L+SD ratings. But now, that’s not always the case. The same argument could be made for the Emmys, also a live broadcast, that had the lowest ratings ever. Ever. Even MTV’s VMAs, a live show catered towards a young audience, didn’t make it out unscathed. The reason this advantage has waned is simple: the Internet. You don’t have to waste two or three hours of your life watching awards given to people you don’t know. You just have to find a recap article. This is the same problem plaguing The Voice– immediately after a live show, we’ll see the same sort of recaps.
I hope the best for The Voice because, y’all, this Snapchat voting is awesome. One of my biggest pet peeves from Idol was that once the show was over, you couldn’t re-rewatch a contestant’s song. This wasn’t a huge problem later in each season when there were fewer candidates, but when there’s 24, you had to take notes. My dad would quickly jot down anything that could be a reminder- songs sung, outfits worn, even comments Simon made. Voting on Snapchat allowed me to replay and compare all 4 contestants so I could figure out who I truly wanted to vote for. It’s a great way to vote in the digital age- easy, convenient, and practical.
Now, if only we could incorporate something like this for November… But that’s another story.