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story.lead_photo.caption The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson (right) performs with Team Kelly member Brynn Cartelli this season. The finale performance show airs at 7 p.m. Monday on NBC.

The Voice is finally getting down to the nail-biting big finish. The live semifinal results air at 7 p.m. today on NBC and that will leave only next week to wrap things up.

The final performances air at 7 p.m. Monday and the winner will be crowned at 8 p.m. May 22.

I confess that I haven't watched this season, so I don't have a favorite. I've been concentrating on the rebooted American Idol on ABC instead.

It's not that I don't find The Voice singers entertaining. Talented performers seem to come out of the woodwork these days. But for me, The Voice is and always has been about the coaches and not about the budding talent. After a few seasons, a little bit of the coaches' quips, ribbing, jibes and teasing goes a long way.

Backing up my opinion is that in 13 seasons, only a handful of Voice contestants or winners have ever been heard from again. There has been no comparable mega-careers launched as those of Idol's Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson (three Grammys) or Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood (seven Grammys; 11-time Academy of Country Music Award winner).

Granted, winning American Idol is no guarantee of success. Who remembers Trent Harmon of Season 15, or Nick Fradiani of Season 14?

But even Jennifer Hudson, who inexplicably finished seventh (!) in Season 3, has a couple of Grammys, an Academy Award for Dreamgirls and starred in the recent Broadway revival of The Color Purple.

Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee has a successful TV career with CBS' Scorpion. Even Season 5 sixth-place finisher Kellie Pickler won Dancing With the Stars in 2016, hosts a daytime talk show and has three CMT Music Awards.

Name one success story to come out of The Voice.

If you said Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope or Season 2 runner-up RaeLynn, congratulations. You are a true fan. There have been a couple of others, but nobody is a household name like those mentioned above.

The Voice's gimmick is the so-called "blind audition," where team coaches allegedly don't get to see the contestants before they walk out on stage. Theoretically, the hopefuls are chosen by a mentor/coach based solely on their voices. That way, if someone is not particularly telegenic, his singing ability may get a coach to hit the button and swing his chair around.

This season the coaches are the perennial Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, along with Alicia Keys and first timer Clarkson.

After the blind auditions there are plenty of opportunities in the battle rounds and knockout rounds for the coaches to cull their teams based on a contestant's realistic potential for winning the season.

All the contestants can sing, but they seem to have been chosen for the blind auditions more for their dramatic backstories that have been artfully crafted by the producers to tug at the heart.

It seems hopefuls must have a sympathetic "hook." They are singing for their recently departed grandmother who is cheering from heaven. They are singing for their inspiring autistic little brother who is their biggest fan. They're singing to inspire other former homeless folks, or for their mama, who gave up her own music career to take six jobs to support her child's dreams.

Their drama may make compelling TV, but sometimes it gets wearisome.

All that said, The Voice has won four Emmys for outstanding reality-competition series, the last three in a row. In addition, the ratings have held steady with around 10 million viewers each week -- almost 3 million more than the Idol revival.

SEASON FINALES

blackish closes Season 4 at 8 p.m. today on ABC.

Rise ends its first season at 8 p.m. today on NBC.

Chicago Med brings down the curtain for Season 3 at 9 p.m. today on NBC.

NCIS: New Orleans has a two-part Season 4 closer today. The action kicks off at 8 p.m. on CBS.

New Girl wraps up Season 7 and the series with two episodes beginning at 8 p.m. today on Fox.

The Blacklist ends Season 5 at 7 p.m. Wednesday on NBC.

SEAL Team's first season wraps at 8 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.

Riverdale ends Season 2 at 7 p.m. Wednesday on The CW.

Comedy. The entire Wednesday night comedy lineup on ABC closes out beginning at 7 p.m.: The Goldbergs (Season 5); Alex, Inc. (Season 1); Modern Family (Season 9); and American Housewife (Season 2).

Designated Survivor survives Season 2 at 9 p.m. Wednesday on ABC.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Style on 05/15/2018

Print Headline: Silly coaches, fleeting fame in The Voice semifinals

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