Ugh. Mainstream. Am I right? Popular things. God, all those normal people and the normal things they like. The stuff you can’t escape, because it’s advertised everywhere. The soap operas, and the boy bands, and the right wing stand up comics, and on and on and on.

Now that I’ve worked in retail a bit, I see a real, physical representation of that phenomenon. It literally passes through my hands as I spend hours on a till, taking the same three albums and same four DVDs from hundreds of people, taking their money, and handing them back their slice of generic, safe, lowest common denominator, mainstream entertainment.

I think I would put myself in the snob camp, generally speaking. I like a blockbuster, sure, but I’m a proper thinker! I think about stuff, and deconstruct it, and talk about it using long words! I like to think I’m savvy. I used to review films for a living, and everything.

Reality shows.

I don’t like reality shows. Especially talent shows. I don’t watch them. They build these poor people up to dizzying heights, but it’s all a cruel illusion. Almost every one of them will disappear, their dreams tantalisingly close yet really never further away from reality. Here! You have backing dancers, and a voice coach, and sparkly pants! We’ll need those back tomorrow.

And then I watch, like, five hours of The Voice clips on YouTube, straight. Tears! Real tears happen!

I think it’s the visceral, moment to moment emotional spikes. It turns out that, in The Voice, the judges start facing away and elect to turn to face the performer – or not – as the song progresses.

This means that there’s an extra layer of tension, thick in the air, as the singer waits to see if a judge will turn around, indicating that they want to work with them. This is a huge deal. At this split second, their voice may crack. They might lose the line completely, they might just smile, but that’s enough to cause a tiny ripple in the note, and that’s what I love the most.

It’s just a split second, but it’s incredibly addictive.

It’s mainstream because it’s polished, and efficient, and it just works really really really well for the greatest number of people possible. As far as goals go, that’s not so bad.

Now that I work in retail all day, I don’t really feel like watching something black and white in Polish. I don’t really feel like being challenged. I feel like sitting down, just for the joy of not being on my feet. I feel like eating food that is bad for me, and I feel like watching The Voice clips over and over again.

Like this one.

And this one.

This girl totally loses it, but brings it back.

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