Dave Gleeson, frontman for The Screaming Jets and The Angels, has criticised the Nine Network junior reality singing show The Voice Kids. Gleeson says the show, a spin-off of popular singing contest series The Voice, could potentially be damaging to the young performers who compete.
Speaking to News Limited, the rocker said that despite the Nine Network’s best efforts, there is no way to completely shield the contestants from hateful comments inevitably posted on the internet by trolls, and that the show puts too much pressure on the young performers, whilst giving them unrealistic expectations of the music industry – an issue previously raised by musician Dave Grohl.
“I’m not anti-competition at all – I hate the fact that they’ve taken scoring out of junior sport and things like that – but you couldn’t get something more fraught with danger than this show,” Gleeson said. The father of two young children said the show has been banned in his Adelaide Hills home.
“I’m a fan of The Voice, but those people are old enough to have some experience, and they go into it willingly,” Gleeson continued. “I’m sure that the kids on the whole enjoy it, but it’s those poisonous and malicious people out there.” The Nine Network has attempted to shelter competitors from internet trolls – banning them from using Twitter and pleading with trolls to leave the children alone.
But Gleeson said that there is ultimately no way to completely protect them. “I think kids are generally supportive of each other’s success, but these people [on the internet] could be in their 30s and 40s. Who knows?” he said, while raising concerns about the pressure placed on contestants.
“I’m sure the parents have the best of intentions, but there are so many pitfalls,” he said. “Anyone who has made a living in the entertainment industry knows that it’s a difficult path.” According to Nine, the show doesn’t aim to create pop stars and performers compete for a music scholarship.
Earlier this month, Australian rock legend Ross Wilson hit out at the contestants on the regular edition of The Voice, saying they “smack of desperation” and that the format of the show inherently produces inexperienced performers who have little to offer the industry besides their singing abilities.
Watch: Dave Grohl South By Southwest (SXSW) 2013 Keynote Speech