Its a little like a horrible headache. When you have one it spreads throughout your consciousness, blocking out everything else. When it is gone you can’t summon the feeling or the pain.

Each week for two nights I watch the Voice. I turn it on begrudgingly. I know what I will see. Blake will point at his head and make pithy comments in his twang, while rotating his wedding ring at hyper speed. Adam will push up and down his black sleeves, close his eyes to listen and tell Blake more than once that he hates him.

Usher will put his feet up, probably in metallic shoes, and he will point his finger high, anticipating notes in the upper octaves. He will hit his button only when they reach the register that he most admires.

Shakira will toss her blond waves, smile a gorgeous smile, and open her arms to many of the female singers; particularly those who are imperfect. She has compassion and wants to add value. The others pretty much just want to win.

The contestants will tell us that this means the world to them. They will describe their struggles to make it in the world of music. Some of them who are 17 years old will confess to the camera that they have been working their whole lives for this.

Their parents/sisters/boyfriends/wives will stand and cry and scream in their carefully selected outfits and overly styled hair. They offer hugs in sadness or congratulations.

There will be at least three references to Blake’s drinking, one reference to Justin Beiber, two references to Adam being the sexiest man alive and one or more about Shakira’s hips.

Once a show we will be surprised by someone’s age, gender, or background as their voice does not tell the same story as their appearance. I will wait for the judges to spin around and give their exaggerated shock.

Despite knowing the formula I watch it, and am surprised each time how much I love it.

I am thrilled by the judges banter, tear up at the contestants surprise at their own success, lean in to influence button pushes, nod along with the constructive criticism given to the performers who don’t make the show.

At the end I always want another performance. I stay tuned for the clips, chuckling with familiarity at Blake and Adam’s love/hate schtick and Usher’s moonwalk. I turn off the TV and my cheeks are hurting from smiling.

By the time I am upstairs the magic is gone. I don’t remember why I love this formulaic show so. But I will tune in on Monday for a full two hours of blind auditions.

Do you watch?

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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