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The Voice’s instant save claims another West Coast victim

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Adam Cunningham and Janice Freeman embrace Tuesday night after the save results come in on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Adam Cunningham and Janice Freeman embrace Tuesday night after the save results come in on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Monday night’s episode of The Voice reminded me of why I got hooked on TV’s singing shows.

Every now and then, the right singer meets the right song and that singer delivers an absolutely magical moment.

That’s what Chloe Kohanski did Monday night when she sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Tuesday’s episode of The Voice reminded me why my respect for the show has diminished.

Of why I now shake my head in disbelief when the show wins another Emmy or receives another Emmy nomination.

Tuesday night, Janice Freeman went up against Adam Cunningham for the show’s instant save. The winner advanced to the Top 10; the loser went home.

Was I surprised to see Adam Cunningham come out on top?

Hell, no.

First, there’s the little matter of Voice fan preference.

Viewers have regularly embraced male country-soul singers. See Season 11 winner Sundance Head and Season 10 runner-up Adam Wakefield as examples.

At the same time, viewers have a habit of short-changing black powerhouse female vocalists. See should-have-been finalists Amanda Brown (Season 4) and Sisaundra Lewis (Season 6) as examples.

Second, there’s the bigger matter of The Voice instant save.

It’s the show’s little gimmick for adding drama to results night. It’s unfair as could be when a West Coast contestant is involved and relying on help from their West Coast fan base.

But no one involved with the show seems to give a damn about that.




Why is it unfair?

Simple: The Twitter save occurs during five minutes of East Coast airtime. The show isn’t even airing on the West Coast when the Twitter save takes place.

Sure, West Coast fans are encouraged to follow along on The Voice app. Or on Twitter. That way they’ll know when to vote and who to vote for.

If they don’t forget. Or don’t have something better to do at 5:55 p.m. local time. Of course, they don’t even have a heads-up that their favorite is in jeopardy of elimination.

Tuesday marked the ninth time a West Coast contestant has gone up against someone from the eastern or central time zones for an instant save on The Voice.

Guess how many times a West Coast contestant has come out on top?

A big fat zero.

Let’s review:

Season 12: Vanessa Ferguson (Greensboro, N.C.) wins Twitter save over Lilli Passero (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Mark Isaiah (Mount Pocono, Pa.)

Season 12: Jesse Larson (Minneapolis, Minn.) wins Twitter save over Brennley Brown (Apple Valley, Calif.) and Hunter Plake (Baton Rogue, La.)

Season 11: Aaron Gibson (Atlanta, Ga.) wins Twitter save over Darby Anne Walker (Burbank, Calif.)

Season 11: Aaron Gibson (Atlanta, Ga.) wins Twitter save over Courtney Harrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Austin Allsup (Fort Worth, Texas)

Season 7: Ryan Sill (of Virginia) earned a Twitter save going up against Jessie Pitts and Sugar Joans (of Los Angeles)

Season 6: Tess Boyer (of Illinois) earned a Twitter save going up against Dani Moz (of Los Angeles) and T.J. Wilkins (of Los Angeles)

Season 5: Caroline Pennell (of New Jersey) earned a Twitter save going up against Kat Robichaud and Austin Jenckes (of Duvall, Wash.)

Janice Freeman sings for the instant save on The Voice Tuesday night. (NBC Photo)

Janice Freeman sings for the instant save on The Voice Tuesday night. (NBC Photo)

Coincidence?

That’s a lot of coincidences.

And, remember, Tuesday’s instant save vote wasn’t even close. When The Voice took down the voting graphic, Adam Cunningham was leading 62 percent to 38 percent.

Look, I think Adam had the better save-me performance Tuesday night. But I also believe Janice had been the stronger contestant throughout the show. There certainly wasn’t a 62-38 difference between the two.

For The Voice, there has to be a better way. A fairer way.

Maybe the show should put the decision back in the hands of the coaches. Let the low vote-getters perform and have each coach cast a secret ballot on who should survive. Of course, you’d have to devise some method to prevent ties. But I’m sure it could be done.

My preferred option: Eliminate the instant save altogether. Eliminate all the insipid questions from Carson to the contestants. Eliminate lots of the other talk from results night too.

Instead, put on a results show so jam-packed with music that fans will tune in for the entertainment value alone. Hey, here’s a novel idea: Invite back lots of past contestants to play their new music.

But most of all, let the first round of voting stand. From 8 p.m. eastern time on performance night until noon the next day, Voice viewers vote, stream music and download songs to let the show know who they think should advance.

Why in the world do we need a five-minute do-over on results night?

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1 Comment

  1. SassetteSmurfling November 29, 2017 at 11:09 am -  Reply

    Don’t blame the contestants.

    Rage against “The Voice” machine.

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