Ouellette’s reading of American Idol calls my attention to The Voice, another singing competition show which aired its twelfth season on February 27th. I’ll try not to go too far off topic, though I make no promises, because this is a series I follow with much passion. In the realm of paralleling this competition show to a democratic election, the “electoral” process of selection on The Voice reveals deeper levels of complexity than American Idol. The Voice is a five-stage competition between not only the vocalist contestants but between four celebrity coaches who pick twelve vocalists to be on their team. The winner of the voice also determines the winning coach. Prided on selection by voice not looks, the show does a good job at veiling the work of commodified “trauma” as MCarthy highlights in her reading of Random 1. During the Blind Audition of The Voice, the spectator at home watches a short clip about chosen contests before they audition. Oftentimes the clip highlights a traumatic event that the contestant has had to go through before obtaining their opportunity to be on the show, whether it be the loss of a family member, a drug addiction, having kids at an early age, being bullied, or growing up in a single parent household. This means, that from the start of the show, potential voters know more about and actually “see” the contestant before they audition, unlike the coaches who are the only ones kept blind. Though it’s an admirable thing to believe that someone is chosen simply for their talent, the fact that the audience is the ultimate determinant of who wins the competition, not the coaches—the informational clip negates the premise and promise of the show. Unless there’s a way to disguise each contestant throughout the entire process, the winner is unfortunately never determined solely on their voice. But what I think this show unveils about a democratic process is the way in which our freedom to choice is complicated by our own agendas and desires, by manipulation, by our influences from popular culture, by comparison of each contestant amongst the group of contestants, etc. The reality of the show is obviously not in the spectacle of each vocalist and the dramatization of their story, but of the insidious manipulations at work during an election process.