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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Every Monday night, music competition shows The Voice and American Idol compete for our attention. Idol has aired on ABC since 2002, while The Voice premiered on NBC years later in 2011. In recent seasons, Idol’s viewership seems to have taken a hit in competition with The Voice. This comes as a surprise considering Idol’s current panel of judges includes high-profile musicians Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Ritchie.

However, despite being second-choice to many, American Idol has been my all-time favorite show since I was seven years old. Here’s why:

#1: A trend-setter in the music-reality competition scene, American Idol has produced more long-term success, with A-listers including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Gabby Barrett… the list goes on. Not all of these big names even won their seasons, proving that the show is valuable in producing exactly what it intends: idols. Audience members may find The Voice more entertaining as a Monday-night activity, but Idol truly helps people of all backgrounds break into the music industry right before audiences’ eyes.

top-down photo of filled theatre seats
Alev Takil/Unsplash

#2: Despite The Voice’s sole emphasis on, well, people’s “voices,” American Idol isn’t oblivious to both good sound and sincere backstories. The Voice allows the celebrity vocal coaches to first pick contestants based just on their singing talent, as opposed to their looks and stories. Taking talent, background, and style into consideration, Idol contestants audition face-to-face with the judges’ panel so that they can be evaluated on their overall star quality. For example, in 2019, former dishwasher Alejandro Aranda had one of YouTube’s top-trending videos. Throughout the season, the judges guided him on his stage presence and confidence — and I saw him live in Berkeley in 2020.

#3: American Idol has seen a lot of changes at the judges’ table over the last 20 years, but the show has done especially well since Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Ritchie stepped up in 2018. More constructive and lively than the notorious Simon Cowell, the dynamic of the star-studded team is quite entertaining, too. Of course, current The Voice coaches are likewise a group of pop, country, and R&B stars (Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and John Legend), but the diversity in age and less-competitive nature of the judges on Idol separate the two shows.

woman wearing black shirt eating popcorn
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Granted, I’ve never watched a full season of The Voice, but I will defend the quality of Idol to no end. Whether or not you’ve been tuning in, you should definitely check out Idol contestants Grace Kinstler and Ava August on YouTube during your next study break.  Not to give a spoiler, but the 20-year-old Berklee College of Music student and 15-year-old singer-songwriter seem to be the ones to beat in season 19.

Sydney Segal

UC Berkeley '23

Sydney Segal is a 3-year member of Her Campus at Berkeley, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish language, literature & culture. She is currently an editorial assistant for Marin Living magazine and a returning intern for CNBC’s Social Media team.
Melody A. Chang

UC Berkeley '19

As a senior undergraduate, I seek out all opportunities that expand my horizons, with the aim of developing professionally and deepening my vision of how I can positively impact the world around me. While most of my career aims revolve around healthcare and medicine, I enjoy producing content that is informative, engaging, and motivating.  In the past few years, I have immersed myself in the health field through working at a private surgical clinic, refining my skills as a research assistant in both wet-lab and clinical settings, shadowing surgeons in a hospital abroad, serving different communities with health-oriented nonprofits, and currently, exploring the pharmaceutical industry through an internship in clinical operations.  Career goals aside, I place my whole mind and soul in everything that I pursue whether that be interacting with patients in hospice, consistently improving in fitness PR’s, tutoring children in piano, or engaging my creativity through the arts. Given all the individuals that I have yet to learn from and all the opportunities that I have yet to encounter in this journey, I recognize that I have much room and capacity for growth. Her Campus is a platform that challenges me to consistently engage with my community and to simultaneously cultivate self-expression.