My classmates have often asked me how I learned English. My answer? Before I came to America for graduate school, I watched American TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, and The Big Bang Theory (with Chinese subtitles, of course) to get familiar with the culture and conversational pace. While this is true, I also simply enjoyed American television. The sheer entertainment value is superb and “The Voice” is one of my favorite shows.
My roommate and I bought a TV this spring. Once I learned that Adam Levine (@adamlevine) and Christina Aguilera (@TheRealXtina) would be on a singing competition show called “The Voice”, I knew I would be a fan. What also caught my attention was the “blind audition”, which meant that the coaches couldn’t see who was singing until they pushed the button to turn their chairs. The coaches could only make their decisions based on the contestants’ voices. Here’s a video of how the blind audition works:
With a fantastic performance stage, “The Voice” not only provides musical entertainment, it also incorporates heart-warming stories about the contestants. During each audition, contestants desperately hope their voice can turn a chair. Brian Scartocci, a single working parent, auditioned with a song meant to prove to his children that they should never give up their dreams. He sang “Isn’t she lovely”(a song that Stevie Wonder dedicated to his daughter). Brian’s song choice connected with his personal history, with his relationship with his own daughters–a magical combination.
I began watching the show in Season 2. During the show’s commercial breaks, there were banners telling people how to download the contestants’ songs from iTunes, and there was a social media correspondent Christina Milian (@CMilianOfficial) who told people how to engage on social media. During the show, I also saw the coaches Twitter feeds. I wasn’t active on Twitter when Season 2 was aired, but I did ”like” the show’s Facebook Page to get more information and to watch exclusive interviews with the coaches and contestants. The winner of “The Voice” Season 2 sang “I believe I can fly” on the finale. The next day after the finale, #Ibelieveicanfly was the top hashtag on Twitter.
I immediately signed up to be an audience member for the Season 3 taping once I found out they were giving way free tickets. The taping was in early August, and Season 3 wasn’t aired until September. I don’t want to be a TV spoiler, but there was a prestigious singer who joined the taping on that day–and I was sitting right behind her. I overheard a staff member asking the singer if she had a Twitter account and if the staff could post a picture of her. The staff also asked permission to @connect on Twitter and suggested that she tweet about the show when the episode was aired. I was pleasantly surprised to be in proximity to the singer and interested that the staff was trying hard to engage a larger audience by leveraging the celebrity’s fan base.
During Season 3, I’ve become more active on Twitter and I’ve noticed how much the show tries to reach out to the audience–connecting to the coaches or tweeting about contestants using the team hashtag. Unique hashtage like #PUSH and #Blakesfinger are also used to further engage the audience.
It is certain that social media is still evolving and no one can say where it will end up. With more and more new social media platforms popping up, it might be easy to lose the target audience. However, if we can find unique ways to engage the audience, the future of social media looks promising.
Are you a fan of “The Voice”? Do you relate to the show’s presence on social media?