I’m a fan of The Voice on NBC. I was hooked within 13 minutes, if I am correctly recalling my very first tweet about the show, a year ago. I have something like a half-dozen of my favorite eps saved on the TiVo, and when I need a boost of, “YEAH!” sometimes that’s my go-to. I just really love this show.

So does my friend Helenna. Check out her great blog post, “Ten Things I’ve Learned from The Voice,” here. For a LOT of the same reasons she loves the show, I love the show. It’s positive, as reality TV goes (especially as competition shows of its ilk go). It’s filled with mentorship and encouragement. It’s GOOD.

I was out last night, but when I came home, there was no escaping a social networking feed-frenzy on the abrupt dismissal of “the guy who was picked to win,” Jesse Campbell, from the show.

After a long day of meetings, a lunch, a Skype coaching session, and one huge launch behind me, I settled in to view the show, and then fired up the email account to answer the only tweet that really stirred me, specifically because I know how much my Helenna loves this show… and it seemed her heart was hurting for Jesse. Here’s the tweet.

did u watch #thevoice tonight? I'm in complete shock!

Here’s my email to Helenna, and, well, this became a blog post. 😉 Enjoy!

First, happy United-States-of-Americanhood to BDawg. I’m so happy for y’all!

Second, finally had a minute to watch The Voice, and of course, already saw through Twitter and Facebook what got everyone all upset. As always, I tried to watch the show with an open mind, and go on the journey, even though I knew the outcome, so I could try and SEE how it all unfolded, and why it stirred so many people so completely.

Third, keep in mind that I worked in reality TV for just under a year. I know these contracts the contestants have to sign. I know the producer angle on these things. I know risk management and what actually gets contestants leaving before it makes sense (to the viewer) that they would leave. So, what I’m going to offer you is NOT an opinion as a viewer and fan of The Voice, but instead is a pretty well-informed guess at what actually went on.

Several things.

1. Christina got her ass in the conversation again, and not for her crazy outfits or hats or boobs or fights with Adam. EVERYONE is talking about what a scandal this dismissal was, and how cruelly it was delivered.

2. The Voice will have HUGE ratings tonight, as everyone tunes in to see what is SAID about this incredibly “unfair” and “cruel” booting of the person who was said to be “the one to beat.” The other judges will talk about how THEY would have never booted him. They’ll talk about how they ALL wanted him on their teams. Twitter and Facebook will blow up AGAIN.

3. Jesse was going to win. No question. And back-to-back “smooth, bald, black crooner-slash-loving-dad” winners yields ratings bankruptcy in the red states, sadly. Sure, he could get votes from fans, but viewers who watch for the novelty factor would tune out for a third season, or recruiters would be told not to bring on any more amazing singers who fall into any of those categories, and the accusations of preferential casting would start flying, and that gets into the territory of equal opportunity employment laws, and no one wants that to happen.

4. Unless there is some sort of clause in his C/NDA with the network to the contrary, he will have a record deal before the season ends, possibly this week. BECAUSE of the outcry about his unfair, premature dismissal, his iTunes single will be downloaded more than anyone else’s, in a show of fan solidarity for the ONE person they didn’t even get a chance to save, due to this ridiculous new twist that flies in the face of the whole structure of the show, previously unannounced. His record deal will be great. He will make a lot of money. 🙂 And the show will get more viewers, due to this controversy.

5. Keep in mind that last time there were viewer votes, the SHOW producers could see how broad a gap there is between #1 and #2. They KNOW that Jesse was going to run away with the show (see #3), not only because he’s the most talented singer, but because he had the fans. A more interesting show is one where there’s a horserace. They could already see that this was a runaway train for Jesse, and that doesn’t spell viewership. That doesn’t motivate people to VOTE. That doesn’t drive people to TALK on social networking sites.

Christina kicking off Jesse DOES all of those things. 🙂 Reality Show Producing 101: Increase the drama; protect the franchise; build the ratings. (Make sure it’s a non-elimination leg on The Amazing Race when our favorite couple is last to arrive. Make sure it’s a double-elimination round on America’s Next Top Model when both the gals in the bottom two have no shot, add no drama, and one has such a bad attitude that Tyra can teach a valuable lesson by sending her packing too.) Every reality show contract includes a deception clause. It’s in the fine print.

And that Jesse exited with grace and charm and a humble thank you? That pretty much guarantees he’ll be up for a Grammy probably right around the time Christina gets her next one. 🙂 Plus, she gets producer money. 🙂 And he will be forever grateful.

NONE of what I saw surprises me.

Besides, Helenna, if he had WON The Voice? What would he get? A producer-friendly, network-friendly, brand-friendly right-of-first-refusal deal with THEIR parent-company-owened label; a group tour with the rest of the top contestants; and hopefully some fans who would remember him well when the contract was over and the network was finished making money off him, so he could try to leverage the win… a year later?

It’s no different than Willam Belli being ejected from RuPaul’s Drag Race over some un-named rule infraction (of course, there will be a reveal on the season finale or at the reunion, but you notice his single dropped on the day his removal from the show aired, right?). People who have REAL deals with REAL money behind them, and who can have HUGE careers that can start happening RIGHT NOW? They get ousted in some obscure way that wasn’t in the rulebook the season before.

Reality Show Producing 101, I tell ya.

Of course, this is all just what I’m betting, but I’m feeling pretty confident about the odds on my bet. 😉 Jesse actually has a chance at being famous, not just a winner of a reality show. Christina gave him a gift. You watch.

— End of email to Helenna. —

What do y’all think? Of course, we’ll know soon enough… another episode is just moments away!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Lorene April 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    The voice was a big waste of my time. Although Jesse had my vote, he wasn’t guaranteed a win because there were a few singers on that show that could compete with him. In my opinion, Christina kept Jesse on the show and later dumped him only to get ratings and recognition for her dumb decision. However, I think her tactics backfired. Many people, like me, will NEVER watch that show again because of her dishonesty and vows to watch HER COMPETITOR, Dancing with the Stars.

  2. Bonnie Gillespie April 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Lorene! I’ve never watched “Dancing with the Stars.” I really love “So You Think You Can Dance,” though. 🙂

  3. Confetti April 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Man, I’ve been all over the web trying to figure that one out. Your analysis is the only one I’ve seen that makes sense of it. Sad, The Voice can be a sweet show, and it’s a bummer to need to be reminded that cynical is what money does best.

  4. Bonnie Gillespie April 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Yeah, I’ve definitely found myself a little less in love with it, after this, even though I found nothing that happened surprising, from having been employed in reality TV, years ago. Even though I knew it could happen, I guess I just hoped it wouldn’t, with a show like “The Voice.” It has so much good stuff going on. We’ll see how I’m feeling with this week’s eps.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. tasha April 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks Bonnie great points can’t have the same winner back to back perhap christina needs a lesson of doing things a classy way!!!

  6. Bonnie Gillespie April 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    For sure. After seeing how beautifully CeeLo and Adam handled their dismissals the following week, it was clear Christina could’ve done a better job. (Of course, those guys had the advantage of seeing how extreme the reaction was, the week before, so they could prepare to do better.) Ooh, there still are some great voices on that show, though. I try to stay focused on that! 🙂

  7. Billie Jean April 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Everything you said made perfect sense. However, there is also indication that he was difficult to work with and a male “diva.” If the record deal doesn’t materialize as you have mentioned, I would bet it is a “diva”-like behavior.

  8. Bonnie Gillespie April 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Ooh, Billie Jean, I hadn’t heard about that! I will be *very* curious to see how this all shakes out. 🙂

  9. PattyA May 30, 2012 at 1:29 am

    This blog makes sense. Sadly though a black bald crooner/loving dad won the show anyway. Jeese was the better choice. I mean between him and the guy who actually won (Jermaine Paul).

  10. Bonnie Gillespie May 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, PattyA. 🙂 I was thinking about that and I realize that Jesse’s *story* was that he’s a black, bald, crooner/loving dad. Jermaine’s *story* was that he’s Alicia Keys’ backup singer and this was his time to come out into the spotlight.

    So, yeah, same stuff going on there, but the *story* (from a reality show production standpoint) was a different one, I think.

  11. Gloria johnson June 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    I think a lot of people like myself will never trust Christina Aguilera again in this lifetime. Period.

  12. Bonnie Gillespie June 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Just tonight we (a fellow casting director and I) were talking about Xtina and her M.O. for recruiting the most “Christina-like” gals to her team, building them up, then advising them HORRIBLY by the time they actually have a shot at moving into a position where they could win.


    Is it because they are encroaching on her territory? Does she fear her position? She was cast as THE coach to beat on this show when it first premiered. That she has never had a contestant win says something. She’s NOT letting her mentees SHINE. She’s squashing them once they start breathing down her proverbial neck, let’s say.

    The reason Blake wins a ton? He NEVER worries that he’s less himself if someone else is doing Blake-adjacent stuff. In fact, he encourages it. He *coaches* it.

    Ninja shit!

  13. Caretha August 4, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Now years after I am reading this…never watched the voice, but started this year and enjoy watching the old videos…what happened to Jesse Campbell? Nothing?

  14. mahdi August 4, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    my dear friend
    i am extremely grateful for your Beautiful and super analyzes texts .

    My name is Mehdi from Iran

  15. emmy bonja July 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I still remember Jesse. He did not achieve the success predicted here. Sad story.

  16. Gregory R,Van Leer, February 7, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    If talent was the benchmark there would be a lot more Blacks in the space occupied by lesser talented individuals. I heard Jesse at a church in Cleveland years before the appearance, he was lauded back then. Maybe he had some personal issues but if the reason given red states and fans of the show and ratings BS than the show makes a mockery of it concept; blind appreciation of ones voice irrespective of race, looks, etc. Hence who I can pimp for my own interest ends up giving us sound alike, round of the mill clones that the young impressionable public lacks the critical ear to know when a great talent comes before them.


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