The Voice

Now, The Voice, about this Las Vegas nonsense …

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Matthew Schuler, Michael Sanchez, Alisan Porter, Chris Mann, Matt McAndrew and Mary Sarah in a publicity photo for The Voice Neon Dreams.

Matthew Schuler, Michael Sanchez, Alisan Porter, Chris Mann, Matt McAndrew and Mary Sarah in a publicity photo for The Voice Neon Dreams.

Sometimes when I watch The Voice, I wind up shaking my head in bewilderment.

Last night produced one of those moments.

It happened when Reba McEntire popped up on my TV screen, flanked by former Voice standouts Matt McAndrew, Mary Sarah, Alisan Porter and Matthew Schuler.

It was time for a big announcement: The winner of Season 13 will join those former contestants on stage every night next spring in a Las Vegas show called The Voice — Neon Dreams.

Huh? Say what?

A ton of questions came whizzing to mind. First among them: What if the winner doesn’t want to?

I mean, let’s pretend for a moment you’re a singer hoping to launch a solo music career and have decided the best way to do that is auditioning for The Voice.

You battle your way through the competition trying to put your own stamp on other people’s songs, in some cases singing songs you’d probably rather not.

You’re dreaming of the day you can record your own original music — maybe even under a record deal — and release it into the world, capitalizing on the momentum from your time in the show.

Then The Voice steps in. Nope, they say, we’re whisking you off to Vegas to sing more covers.

Huh? Say what?

Look, I criticize The Voice all the time for not doing enough for past contestants. Good for the show for providing a high-profile gig for Alisan, Mary Sarah, Matt and Matthew. Chris Mann is part of the show too. Great for them; they’ve decided Neon Dreams is something they want to be part of.

Given the singers involved, I’m sure it will be a great show.

But if Chloe Kohanski, Addison Agen or Noah Mac wins Season 13, I’d much rather see them whisked off to a recording studio where they can start working on a solo debut album. I can’t wait to hear what they’d deliver. I’d include Red Marlow in that group too if I was a bigger fan of his brand of country music.

Lord knows, given The Voice’s history with albums from past winners, Chloe, Addison or Noah would have enough of a fight on their hands releasing the type of album they want without the distraction of performing in what I’m sure is a money-making venture for The Voice brand in Las Vegas.

Alisan would know something about that struggled. She decided to go independent rather than have her voice stifled. Oh, and where that’s debut album from Sundance Head? Remember Sundance? From Season 11? We’re about to crown the second Voice champ since his coronation and all his record deal has yielded so far is two very lightly promoted singles?

And what if the winner of The Voice is a minor? Like Addison? Or Noah?

The show has already uprooted them from home for months at a time. Now you’re going to ship them off to Vegas? Rip them out of whatever schooling situation they’re in? Force at least one parent to relocate with them? I mean, surely you’re not going to ship a minor off to Sin City alone? Right?

And, again, what if they don’t want to go?

Here’s how it should work. The show should promise that a standout from the Season 13 cast will perform as part of Neon Dreams. The winner should get first dibs. And then the show should offer the gig to the other finalists in order of their finish until they find a singer who thinks Neon Dreams is the right destination for them at this point in their career. No pressure to accept either.

Isn’t that simple?

But that’s not what Reba promised. She promised the winner will perform in Vegas. Every night. Next spring.

Maybe the show has already picked a Season 13 winner who thinks this is a great idea, a great opportunity. One who would be a perfect fit for Neon Dreams.

Given the way Season 12 ended, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

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