Queen guitarist Brian May has taken no prisoners in his scathing appraisal of televised singing contest The Voice. The critique was published on May’s personal website, where the English musician takes aim at his homeland’s version of The Voice:
“In my opinion, “The Voice” is absolutely the dullest, dumbest, most depressing programme on TV. It’s also the ultimate insult to music and to performers.
“Young singers busting their guts trying to win somebody’s attention, who is rudely sitting with their back to the singer … It brings singing down to the level of a stupid obstacle course on ‘It’s A Knockout’. This is not – NOT – what music is about.”
May goes on the explain that a singer is more than their voice and a performance needs to be seen in order for it to be fully understood and appreciated. The outraged Queen guitarist also writes that the format of The Voice is damaging to young singers:
“When we sing, or play, for real, we are NOT screaming at the top of our lungs trying to persuade someone to notice us … The performance is all about EVERYTHING the performer gives.
“This stupid, stupid idea that someone can JUDGE a singer by turning his back on him, and missing out on proper contact, is, to me, a fatuous nonsense. And actually poisonous to the growth of young performers.”
The current season of The Voice UK airs on BBC1 and features a judging panel of Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J, and Danny O’Donoghue. In his blog May expresses disappointment that a performer the calibre of Jones has become involved with The Voice:
“I hate seeing the great Tom Jones shoehorned into this scenario … it seems to deprive everyone who takes part of their dignity.
“I hope this vile programme dies a natural death very soon.”
We can only assume that May’s beef with The Voice is strictly concerned with the show’s chair swivelling gimmick and not the overall concept of reality TV singing competitions.
After all, it was only last year that Queen toured with 2009 American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert filling in for Freddie Mercury, much to the chagrin of some critics.