Global singing competition involving celebrity mentors such as Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and many others is coming to Asia. Unfortunately, even before the launch, the show has run into some hiccups.
The Voice Singapore and Malaysia recently called for auditions last Friday. However, the show has been called out for not being inclusive in its requirements. A press release issued by StarHub announcing the auditions said that The Voice is open to all participants regardless of race and nationalities, however, candidates also had to be “fluent in Mandarin and able to perform songs in Mandarin.”
This did not sit well with social media users and also local Mediacorp radio station 987 DJ Joakim Gomez, who started his entertainment career following his time as a contestant on singing-competition Singapore Idol.
On his official Facebook page, Gomez voiced his disappointment in the organisers of The Voice on the direction they were taking on this version of the show, especially the Mandarin-fluency requirement.
Pointing out that Singapore and Malaysia are both a melting pot of backgrounds, cultures, and languages, Gomez explained that the show has “almost alienated the few things” these respective countries boast. He said:
If there's a dire need for such ruling, don't brand it as The Voice SGMY.
"There are plenty of amazing singers out there who aren't well-versed in Mandarin and we won't be seeing them in this,” Gomez added.
Gomez was not alone in his thoughts; Twitter users were also baffled by the Mandarin requirement, with some calling the requirement to be "linguistic discrimination".
There is no basis for this linguistic discrimination nor should there be. Why the need to exclude non-Mandarin speakers at all?
— the local rebel (@thelocalrebel) May 6, 2017
Singapore is a multi-cultural country they said.Even The Voice here requires you to sing in mandarin. Soooooo multi cultural https://t.co/XaLH2KzrHK
— Affliction☇ (@_FirdausRosli) May 6, 2017
The Voice Singapore and Malaysia is currently co-produced by mm2 Entertainment, a subsidiary of mm2 Asia, as well as StarHub and Astro. This is according to a press release released in March which confirmed the partnership.
The show will be available on Singapore’s StarHub and Malaysia’s Astro, and will be broadcast on StarHub’s and Astro’s pay TV platforms. According to a joint press statement, this is the first time the format is produced and broadcasted for two territories in one version.
Marketing has reached out to mm2 Asia and StarHub for comment.