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Is The Voice doing enough to help past contestants? Hell, no


Danielle Bradbery on her return to The Voice earlier in Season 13. (NBC Photo)

Danielle Bradbery on her return to The Voice earlier in Season 13. (NBC Photo)

The Huffington Post published a story about The Voice on Sunday that left me baffled, bewildered and bemused.

It explored what happens to winners of The Voice after the show and includes interviews with executive producers Carson Daly and Audrey Morrissey.

They explain that they view The Voice as more boot camp than star maker.

The boot camp part rings true. Lots of past contestants rave about the lessons learned from the show.

The star maker part? What else can they say? In 12 seasons, the show has yet to produce a breakout star of the likes of Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood.

Then comes the baffling, bewildering and bemusing part.

Morrissey and Daly defend — yes, actually defend — the support provided to past contestants after the show.

Here’s a direct quote from Morrissey: “We do try to keep tabs on them. We do invite them back and have them perform on the show when they’re ready and they have music. To the best of our ability, we push all of their work on all our socials. We try to do what we can. It is what it is. We try our best.”


Here’s the question: Does The Voice do all it can to support past contestants of the show?

Here’s the definitive answer: No. Hell, no. Not by a Red Marlow / Adam Wakefield / Meghan Linsey / Craig Wayne Boyd / Blake Shelton country mile.

Not nearly enough.

Point 1: In the article, Morrissey mentions an After The Voice web series the show created to highlight what past contestants are up to.

Fact: It started in Season 12 and truly marked a step forward on the part of The Voice. The show placed 11 segments of the video series on its YouTube channel and website. Each featured at least three past contestants.

Fact: In Season 13, the show has produced a grand total of four “After The Voice” videos. Each featured only two contestants. Unless I truly don’t understand math, that’s a giant step backwards.

Point 2: The Voice invites past contestants back “when they’re ready and have new music.” Really?

Fact: In Season 12, there were seven stand-alone guest performances on the show. One went to a past contestant, Alisan Porter.

Fact: In Season 13, there will be 10 stand-along guest performances on the show, including those we’ll see on tonight’s season finale. Two will have gone to past contestants, Danielle Bradbery and Chris Blue. Note that both are still under contract to the label they signed with after winning the show.

Point 3: In the past, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have both taken aim at the post-show record deals, insinuating that the labels don’t do enough to help Voice winners transition into music stars.

Fact: In Season 13, four current or former Voice coaches have used performance spots on the show to peddle new music.

Fact: That list includes Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Hudson and, yep, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine’s Maroon 5. The number will become five when Kelly Clarkson performs her new single tonight.

These are superstars in music. Performers who could probably go on any show they want to showcase their new music. They’re also quite wealthy, partly because of The Voice. How magnanimous would it be for those coaches to forgo those performance spots so a past contestant could perform on the show instead?

And to Morrissey and Daly, I’d pose this question. What about all those contestants you haven’t invited back? What about the past winners and non-winners who are independent artists, struggling to get their music heard?

Can a performance spot on The Voice make much difference?

The answer to that is also definitive. Hell, yes.

Danielle Bradbery sang “Worth It” on the Top 10 result night. After that performance, “Worth It” soared from 178 to 44 on the iTunes singles chart and from 37 to six on the site’s country singles chart.

In another quote from the Huffington Post story, Carson Daly says “a hit is a hit is a hit” and adds that if a singer, independent or not, has a hit song “it’s going to happen for you. It’s just a matter of time.”

Well, we’ve been waiting since the first season of The Voice way back in the spring of 2011. And it hasn’t happened yet.

If he’s implying that the 600-plus Voice contestants from Seasons 1-12 haven’t released hit-worthy songs … wow, I beg to differ.

I’ve listened to more than 70 post-Voice albums and EPs in 2017 alone. I’ve listened to dozens and dozens of stand-alone singles. Sometime in the next two weeks, I’ll present my picks for the Top 5 post-Voice albums of 2017. And the Top 20 songs. And, trust me, I will have a hell of a time narrowing it down to five albums and 20 songs. Voice contestants have released that much great music, again just in 2017. And many, many songs every bit as good as Danielle’s “Worth It” or Chris Blue’s “Blue Blood Blues.”

I used the “Red Marlow / Adam Wakefield / Meghan Linsey / Craig Wayne Boyd / Blake Shelton country mile” line above for a reason. Adam, Meghan and Craig all released new music this year. All finished in the Top 2 on the show.

Why weren’t they invited back?

Quite frankly, I just don’t get it.

If I could play executive producer for a season, every single result show would be jam packed with former contestants. All of the stand-alone guest spots in tonight’s finale would go to former contestants.

Portugal The Man? Machine Gun Kelly? Bebe Rexha? The X Ambassadors? What the hell do they have to do with The Voice? I don’t tune into The Voice to see them. Or Sia, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato or Charlie Puth for that matter.

Hey, it’s quite nice of The Voice to bring back a superstar to perform with the Top 4. Especially when there’s some actual connection between the finalist and the guest performer, like Sundance Head and Kiss back in Season 11.

But other than that, every result show, every season finale should be a celebration of The Voice. And that means The Voice present and past.

I mean, is anyone at The Voice even listening? Do they listen to the new music being released by past contestants? Both finalists and non-finalists?

If they do, how can they not be incredibly proud? How can they not be jumping up and down with excited giddiness over the prospect of helping share that music?

The Voice doing its best to promote past contestants from the show?

Not by a Red Marlow / Adam Wakefield / Meghan Linsey / Craig Wayne Boyd / Blake Shelton country mile.

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  1. Idol Girl December 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Executive producer, Mark Burnett, is not a music guy. In contrast, American Idol and X Factor had A&R folk, such as Simon Cowell.

  2. Idol Girl December 19, 2017 at 10:25 pm -  Reply

    Some other factors –
    Many of the contestants are niche artists, more suitable to smaller labels.
    The show being on twice a year.

  3. Diggity Dodge December 19, 2017 at 10:40 pm -  Reply

    My favorite aspect of your coverage of The Voice is that you showcase new music by past contestants. You’ve reintroduced me to many of my favorites from seasons gone by and, like you, I’m impressed with their current creative output. Thank you, Mark!

  4. TiredofTripe December 19, 2017 at 11:37 pm -  Reply

    “The Voice” only cares about the coaches, the ratings, and the money.

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