Depending on how much of a conspiracy theorist or, perhaps, realist you are will skew your view on reality TV and their subsequent voyage into game show like competitions. The case for music competitions is one that can be hotly debated by many as there are probably more than a handful, outside of myself, who feel that the participants in these shows are rarely of the off-the-street variety. I will hand it to The Voice as they don’t hide the fact that some of their contestants have had record label deals or interest which, for whatever reason, fell apart and they are here to redeem themselves or take another shot at super stardom. The other shows don’t venture into that territory, supposedly - although I am inclined to believe it as I’m sure there are some people out there who would bring any other facts to light. I cannot be convinced that singing/music/talent competitions don’t go out and scout certain performers to make absolutely sure their shows are packed with talented worthwhile people. Sure there are a handful of those who do legitimately come to the audition days to get in but only a small, minuscule percentage make it to the actual live shows.
Which brings me to Trevin Hunte, who is my pick to take the win of the 3rd season of The Voice. Despite my belief in his ability to win the competition I still feel, be me wrong, that Mr. Hunte will still have the most successful career out of the entire cast and the two previous winners of this show, Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul. The fundamentally wrong function in these shows is the fact that they force their contestants into small boxes where they get a chance to sing :90 seconds of a song and let “America” decide on who the winner of these popularity contests are. However bad this inherent problem is there is no solution as Platinum Hit - a songwriting competition - showed us when original music is put to the test the audience always prefers a trumped up version of karaoke.
Real tangible success is hard to come by after these shows. If I listed the names of the winners of American Idol over the last, what has to be close to, decade I’m sure your response would be “what ever happened to them?” I can’t explain why, probably the sense of what they accomplished during the show, all their highlights and shinning moments were all built up to a song they can call their own that fell flat and eventually got pushed to the “play once a month” list on all the radio stations. Even someone as talented as Phillip Phillips, who I personally feel has a bright future, could fall victim to immediate radio success after his triumphant American Idol win.
So why is Trevin Hunte different and should you really compare him to arguably the most successful American Idol winner of all time?
First let’s talk about something obvious. Trevin Hunte will be filling a void that the music industry has been looking to fill since the irreplaceable Luther Vandross passed away. A young male who can belt out notes in any range and hold them with perfect pitch that lifts any song into the stratosphere. In watching this past week’s episode, which aired on 11/12/12, Trevin dug his heels into “When a Man Loves a Woman”, a song that has been sung by many. The issue I have with most performances is that it’s an exact copycat rendition of the popular cover by Michael Bolton. Mr. Hunte on the other hand made this song his own while not compromising the integrity and thoughtfulness behind the meaning of it. His range is absolutely spectacular, not to mention he is 18, who can sing cleanly in high falsetto and low baritone and bounce between the two with such effectiveness that Mariah Carey can take lessons from him.
His approach to songs are to keep them his own while allowing himself to have that moment where everything stops and his voice is all you can hear and the reason he will be a star is because everyone listening to him is waiting for that one moment. And what they are waiting for is that long flight, much like that of a firecracker, that sours through the air leaving a trail behind it building to the climax where an explosion of sonic proportions lights the surrounding area and sprinkles down pure, raw emotion that everyone can relate to. Having that ability where everyone hangs on every word is what makes a star. Trevin is the next Luther Vandross and I hope that The Voice doesn’t ask him to sing “Dance With My Father” as, despite how great of a song it is, it would ultimately lead him to comparisons that would only hurt his chances at super stardom in the very near future.