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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Voice Finale: Dear TV-Watching America, Chris Mann Is Too Dull Even For You

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 4:30 AM

click to enlarge Chris Mann: Capable singer, flavorless contestant.
  • Chris Mann: Capable singer, flavorless contestant.

Granted, the show is called The Voice, thus emphasizing contestants' ability to sing; and granted, Chris Mann can expertly render notes given to him on a sheet of music, which many others (probably including his coach, Christina Aguilera) can't do as well; and granted, Mann's Vanderbilt training and opera experience may lend this enjoyable contrivance of a television program some new credibility; and granted, he did make your mom cry with that whole "Ave Maria" performance. But, dear, The Voice-watching America, there is something Chris Mann doesn't have, and it is kind of important:

Personality.

Maybe if he didn't look like the Google image search result of "white guy," or if he didn't dress like an ambitious third-year law student, or if he didn't sing in the most Ivory soap-scrubbed vocal tone -- or, hell, if he had just not chosen a Coldplay song as his one attempt to demonstrate hipness -- it would be possible, or even forgivable, to like Chris Mann, and to wish him victory tonight when the show concludes. But currently, America, it is not. Not even for you.

I know that a sad and fearful part of your heart just wants to drive a champagne-colored Toyota Camry, eat bland Fettucine Alfredo from a $9.99 buffet, and let flat, piano-driven ballads stand in the place of potentially surprising music. But, America -- and I say this as a reticent and conflicted but ultimately optimistic fan of yours -- Chris Mann is not a good look. He embodies the sad preference of undeniable merit over undeniable character, of safety over excitement, of the past over the future. He's a great singer and he comes off just fine in a suit and tie, but as potential music reality show winners go, he's like wearing a grey sweater vest to the club on a Saturday night. You look good in color, America -- and that's another thing Chris Mann doesn't have.

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Ian S. Port

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