With American Idol‘s Randy Jackson recently taming the fire between his show and NBC rival The Voice, the differences between the two competitions have come under scrutiny. While on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday, Jackson clarified his earlier negative comments, calling The Voice “a great show” and saying “the difference is that ours is just new people” (In January, Jackson had commented on last year’s winner Javier Colon having a previous record deal before the show).

Judges Vs. Mentors
But aside from the experience of the talent that comes on their shows, American Idol and The Voice possess other significant differences as well. One of the biggest contrasts is that the former has judges (including Jackson) and the latter has coaches, or mentors. Yes, the four coaches (Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera) on The Voice judge contestants during the initial blind auditions (which will end next week) in order to hand-pick their teams, as well as throughout the show to whittle down their finalists. But during this process they also provide one-on-one coaching to their teams, guiding each singer with their weekly song choice, delivery, performance and even performing with their finalists on stage in the finale.

The Coach’s Touch
From last year’s season, it was clear the four mentors developed strong bonds with their mentees. You could argue a particular coach could help determine a contestant’s success on the show — each coach clearly has his or her individual strengths and personalities that come into play. And while much of developing a successful teacher-student relationship may come down to subjective chemistry, let’s take a look at the styles of these four superstars to consider who would be the best mentor.

Adam: As the winning coach of last season, Adam has bragging rights (which he has used a few times already to garner favor in the blind auditions). Last year he seemed to take on a comfortable, almost peer-like relationship with his team members while remaining focused on their craft.

Cee Lo: As Cee Lo, he’s already quite a character, which could seem potentially off-putting in an intimate counseling situation. Yet Cee Lo proved his interactions could penetrate that enigmatic exterior (signified by his perennial sunglasses), displaying a caring manner (while remaining cool, of course) towards his singers.

Christina: As per her emboldened feminine image, Christina chose a mainly female team last year. And just like her powerhouse vocals, she often encouraged her team members to perform boldly, and she was never shy about expressing her confidence in them, especially in a proud, maternal-like way.

Blake: Blake’s last two finalists last year were both young, reserved girls, drawing out an almost paternal side to the charming country singer. It seemed like Blake really took the mentoring aspect of the show to heart and his dynamic with his team members seemed heartfelt.

Of course, the teams the coaches choose this year (already largely decided) will differ from last. Still, it’s interesting to consider the styles they’ve shown as we proceed to the “battle” rounds and they start to use their mentoring abilities to help their new teams. Though all the coaches bring something to the table personally (not to mention their years of experience in the industry), I would have to choose Blake as the best mentor – his style seemed most honest and personable. Of course, this is subject to anyone’s opinion – what do you think?

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.