The Voice rules won't change because of Tessanne's win

Friday, December 20, 2013    

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Dear Editor,

To those who are predicting that NBC's The Voice will be changing the rules so that someone like Tessanne Chin will not be able to enter the contest next year, I beg to differ.

The presence of Tessanne did nothing but boost the ratings of the show by expanding its appeal, and the rules already exclude most Jamaicans and foreigners, in general, because of the status requirements.

To those who cite the Scripps National Spelling Bee as an example, because the rules were changed after Jody Ann Maxwell won the contest in 1998, there is one major difference. That contest does not have a real product to sell and they do not have the same opportunity to make money off the winner.

Also, of note is that the change in the Scripps Spelling Bee did not exclude Jamaicans, as we have continued to send participants. The change, I believe, had something to do with the timing for qualification competition to enter.

Were one was to look at the Penn Relays, which Jamaican schools have continued to dominate since they first started participating about 1964, there has been no move to limit our participation because we have been good for the meet. Our presence increases the gate receipts. In the same way Tessanne was good for The Voice.

They seemed to be pleased that they could say "Tessanne Chin from Jamaica", and there was even an image of the Jamaican flag in the background of a scene on the Monday night finals show. Tessanne has been a marketing boost for #TheVoice and there are the iTunes sales to prove it. Furthermore, in the age of Twitter and Facebook, the organisers don't have to guess about her impact, as social media has provided further validation of it.

Jamaica has a reputation of being one of the "coolest" places on the planet. We have a history of being creative that the rest of the world knows about, as we gave the world reggae, which may be the only new musical genre of the last century, at least the most popular. We are the country of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. We are the fastest people on the planet, and they say we have an accent that is the envy of the rest of the English-speaking world.

Tessanne represented herself and her country well with humility, and her warm heart shone through for all to see. As a result she got support from persons all over the world, not just those connected to Jamaica. Her unscripted endorsement of her coach Adam Levine was just further proof of her grace, and her genuine warmth as a human being. Just read the tweets coming from the various personalities both before and after her win. They say a lot about how she has touched them. In Tessanne's win, everyone wins.

Stewart Spencer





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