One day, we’ll tell our grandkids about the weird old days when we could watch television, but television didn’t watch us. This reality television / televised contest trend does not appear to be the fad some thought it was, back in the early days of “Real World,” “Survivor,” and “American Idol.”
It could get more interesting, as it evolves from simple “American Idol”-style voting and fantasy football leagues to more integrated forms of participation from our smaller screens to our larger screens.
How do we know this? Well, it’s just an educated guess. The latest bit of evidence that things are moving in this direction is The Voice: On Stage, released on Monday to coincide with last night’s airing of “The Voice,” which is yet another of those pop vocalist competitions inspired by the success of the original “Pop Idol,” which morphed into “American Idol.”
The same developer, Starmaker Sing & Share, has an app for that show too. It appears to have come a long way since we shot video of Starmaker project manager Reed Kavner warbling out a demonstration of the platform at SXSW.
“We’re proud to now have the only official apps for both ‘The Voice’ and ‘American Idol’– two big partnerships for our little shop,” said Kavner via email. “We’ve also partnered with Philips to create a made-for-StarMaker microphone and docking station, which will be available in Apple Stores and several big box retailers this holiday season. Other recent partnerships include Disney and Universal Pictures.”
The Voice: On Stage is free to download, although in order to unlock all the songs, a dedicated fan of the show and app must shell out $2/week, $5/month, or $25 for a six-month period. Some songs come from the show, while others are pop hits from various eras. Even to get the “free” songs, you need to earn tokens within the game by singing songs as best you can. Through Apple Game Center, you can even challenge your friends, enemies, or total strangers to singing battles, in which the app keeps score of who’s rendition is better.
Clearly, we haven’t arrived at the point when players can compete on the actual show from their phones, but we have a feeling that day will come.