There's something oddly familiar about Channel 9's hit reality TV show, The Voice

(Original blog was written for the 2016 Macleay College Written Communications classes, taught by Emma Marie Horn.)

Two of your favourite shows may be more alike than you think…

It’s just The Voice. There’s something dystopic about it. A feeling that there’s more to this than what meets the eye. Deja vu, maybe?

If you’ve got two thumbs and a satellite dish, you’ve no doubt seen it. But just in case you can’t tell your Australia’s Got Talent from your Great Australian Bake-Off, let us help.

The Voice is Channel 9’s answer to Network 10’s by-gone favourite Australian Idol.  It involves two teams of contestants chosen by judges in ‘blind auditions’, battling each other for vocal supremacy.

Each week, the successful contestants are brought to an arena where they must use their talents – in this case, their voices, as the show’s title might indicate – to appeal to an audience.

The audience then votes on who should be sent back home – to their district, if you will – depending on the reception of their performance, talent, and charisma.

Whoever survives the rigorous popularity battles is crowned the winner – and then sent back before the cycle continues with a new bunch of contestants.

Sound familiar?

Contestants on both The Voice and The Hunger Games are given mentors who have previously survived the cutthroat world in which they now exist, whether that be the music industry or the post-apocalyptic wilderness.

In both shows, the contestants are placed into teams and forced to battle against each other for game domination. Both shows even call this round ‘the battle phase’.

The similarities are all consuming, even down to a very similar signature hand gesture – the two-finger ‘victory’ on The Voice and three-finger salute in The Hunger Games (pictured above).

Previous winners of The Voice are commodified for marketing the show’s next seasons. They effectively become a sort of figurehead for the other contestants to follow. So, once someone has signed onto the show, their life is never again their own. Can anyone say, Katniss Everdeen?

They’re not completely the same, certainly. No, one is an annual televised death match played out for the sadistic pleasure of the ruling classes, and the other is based on a series of bestselling books.

There may be less fantasy in films than there is on reality television.

(Original blog was written for the 2016 Macleay College Written Communications classes, taught by Emma Marie Horn.)