The Choice premiered Thursday night with massive hoopla, a little of which was generated right here, and it was a lot like going out on a hotly anticipated date and waking up the next morning disgusted with yourself. This was what we were waiting for?
This attempt to combine the traditional blind date show with the chairs and high-tech set of The Voice was almost aggressively boring, as girl after girl paraded out and uttered some come-hither phrases in an attempt to get the four celebrity bachelors to turn their chairs around. If more than one man spun, the woman would then get to make her own choice. Once each man had three on his “team,” the star and each woman got the chance to exchange rapid-fire superficial questions before one of the ladies was sent packing. The final two then got to answer one more question in a little more depth before the star got to make his ultimate choice on who to take on a date.
There should be raw material here for summer silliness – host Cat Deeley is an asset to everything she does, even when reduced to cheeky window dressing as she is here – but the concept is suffering from some major problems, such as
The celebs: OK, no one expects that Clooney will be showing up. But when Cat begins the night with the promise that “four of the world’s most desirable bachelors” will be competing, and the most famous guys there are known for other reality shows, it’s hard not to feel a little let down. In addition to Pauly D of Jersey Shore infamy and Dancing With the Stars alumnus Romeo, the other bachelors were skier/model Jeremy Bloom and Jason Cook, who has about 20th billing on General Hospital. Granted, this is a more tasteful way of meeting women than is typical for Pauly D, but that doesn’t mean that every one of these guys isn’t asking their agent what the hell they were doing here.
The spinning chairs: The whole point of the chairs on The Voice is that the stars are picking singers to mentor without being distracted by alleged irrelevancies like personal appearance. But on this show, all of the women were at the very least conventionally attractive, and most were well beyond that. It didn’t take long for the bachelors to figure out that there wasn’t any risk in turning around, and thus there was only one woman who was snubbed by everybody – a cute enough girl who was probably done in by referring to her self-made superhero character of Kitty Kick Butt.
The NOISE: The bigger-is-always-better philosophy on Fox helped make The X Factor a chore to watch last fall, but The Choice was if anything even flashier and screamier. When all the bells and whistles are wildly out of proportion to the interest level of anything happening on screen, everyone just looks desperate.
I’ll give The Choice credit for one moment of genuine surprise. Cook’s final two were asked what they would prescribe to cure a broken heart (he plays a doctor on GH). Nia, a tall black woman, answered “a little coffee for your cream,” which made poor Cat blush and couldn’t help but impress Cook. The other woman, who was offstage when all this happened, was no doubt mystified as to why the audience started laughing when she answered the same question with “probably a lot of chocolate.”
So I laughed once, about 55 minutes into the show. Future editions of The Choice are going to have to do a lot better than that. Next week’s outing is slated to have reports on how this first batch of dates went, so perhaps that will entertain. But as of now, everything is too loud and frantic for viewers to latch onto anything in particular.