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Most impartial industry observers believe the troupes of wedding singers the shows trot out are all but devoid of the qualities that distinguish exceptional recording artists.
BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS
As the Once-Dominant American Idol, Upstart The Voice and the Struggling X Factor Continue to Tweak Their Recipes, the Judges Drive the Shows While the Contestants Weigh Them Down
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the three big prime-time music shows. NBC’s The Voice came out ahead in its Sept. 12 head-to-head ratings battle with Fox’s The X Factor, which is getting off to a slow start despite the presence of presumably youth-appealing new judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.

The need to lure younger viewers was also behind American Idol’s tapping of Nicki Minaj to join Mariah Carey, incumbent Randy Jackson and newly named Keith Urban, with real or manufactured fireworks between the two diva judges sure to follow leading up to and continuing after the Fox show’s return early next year. 

In the latest reported game of musical chairs, The Voice will reportedly shuffle its own lineup for next spring’s fourth season when Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green are replaced by Shakira and Usher. NBC is developing a new show for Green, while Aguilera will be committed to promoting her upcoming album Lotus. Fellow mentors Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, whose banter is one of the show’s hooks, are expected to remain, but the network thus far has been mum on the news.

The blah ratings for season two of The X Factor are making the show’s long-term future in the States look iffy. At this point, it certainly appears that The Voice’s four judges possess more star power than those of The X Factor, which is also being dragged down by the widespread public perception that the show is merely a spinoff of American Idol following Simon Cowell’s migration from one to the other. Nonetheless, Cowell’s U.K. machine continues to be a force, yielding Syco/Columbia’s One Direction and Syco/Epic’s Cher Lloyd.

Will Idol’s new judges panel—which boasts star power of its own behind Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban—resonate with the audience as have The Voice’s foursome, who have collectively reset the talent bar, while also igniting or reigniting their respective music careers? And what, if anything, will these three shows be able to do with the generally amateur talent level of their contestants? Will any of the shows throw off another A-level artist on the order of Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood?

Most impartial industry observers believe the troupes of wedding singers they trot out are all but devoid of the qualities that distinguish exceptional recording artists, starting with the ability to write songs, which is not part of the process on any existing televised musical competition. Instead, it’s essentially a prime-time ratings game predicated on nothing more ambitious than playing the hits.

HARLOW TAKES
OVER WARNER U.K.
Max names his heir. (12/9a)
SPOTIFY U.S. DAILY: HARRY DEBUTS #1
It's "Adore"-able. (12/9a)
TAYLOR LIGHTS HER "CHRISTMAS TREE"
With lots of shiny tinsel (12/6a)
THE HAPPY WARRIOR OF THE RECORD BUSINESS
What a great guy (12/6a)
GRAMMY CHEW: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, ANYWAY?
Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it. (12/9a)
EGGNOG!
Ours is mostly bourbon.
MISTLETOE!
Delicious in salads.
CHESTNUTS!
Ours are roasting, but it could be these slim-fit jeans.
WEED!
An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want for Christmas.
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