The Voice

5 tips for making The Voice better as we prepare for Season 11


Katherine Ho (right) made it to the knockout round of The Voice in Season 10. And we never got to hear her sing. Of course, we never got to hear from Lilly Green (left) either. (NBC Photo)

Katherine Ho (right) made it to the knockout round of The Voice in Season 10. And we never got to hear her sing. Of course, we never got to hear from Lilly Green (left) either. (NBC Photo)

The Voice kicks off Season 11 Monday and Tuesday night with two-hour blind audition episodes (8 p.m., NBC).

Though I guess you could say Season 11 began a month ago with that strangely-edited half-hour sneak peek following the closing ceremony for the summer Olympics.

We met two of this fall’s 48 cast members — We McDonald and Darby Walker (following the links for profiles). Now it’s time to meet the rest.

But that said, I’d like to offer five ideas for improving the only singing show remaining on network TV.

1. Put montaged performances online

I hate those montage segments. You know, the ones where we see glimpses of two or three singers who have made the show, but don’t get to meet them or hear their blind audition performance. I imagine it’s even more disappointing to the singers involved.

It’s even more maddening when a singer makes the show, advances to subsequent rounds and has those performances montaged as well. Katherine Ho made it all the way to the knockout round last year; we didn’t get to hear her sing once. We also didn’t get to hear from Teresa Guidry, who just released a superb country EP, and a handful of other cast members.

As a matter of fairness, it seems to me every singer who makes the show should have at least one performance aired. But if The Voice can’t make that happen, it could at least post the montaged auditions, battle and knockouts online. I mean, really, how tough would that be? The cameras have to be rolling for those performances. Do a little editing and post them on YouTube or the show’s site as an on-line bonus.

<strong>X Factor host Steve Jones consoles 13-year-old Rachel Crow moments after she collapsed on stage in tears after being eliminated from the show in Season 1. (FOX Photo)</strong>

X Factor host Steve Jones consoles 13-year-old Rachel Crow moments after she collapsed on stage in tears after being eliminated from the show in Season 1. (FOX Photo)

2. Quit broadcasting results ahead of time

The Voice does this more than any reality competition show I’ve ever seen. The first time it happened, I truly thought it was an editing mistake. But it keeps happening, near the end of many battle and knockout round episodes.

As the show winds down, images flash of the singers who are about to square off. Then the show goes to commercial telling viewers they won’t believe the amazing steal they’re about to witness.

So much for suspense. The final battle or knockout round match begins and we already know both singers are advancing. It’s just a matter of which singer will have to switch teams to survive. Yawn. Note to Voice producers: It would be okay to end more battle and knockout round shows with a matchup that doesn’t end in a steal.

3. Reverse that decision to lower the age limit

Yep, Voice fans, if you haven’t heard, 13-year-old singers will be gracing your TV screen when Season 12 airs next spring. The show has foolishly — absolutely foolishly — decided to lower the age limit by two years.

Back when The Voice and American Idol were vying for viewers, I immediately became enchanted with The Voice because of the level of talent. I mean, many of the cast members — Javier Colon, Dia Frampton, Juliet Simms, Tony Lucca — were not only superb singers, they were artists who had already released music I needed to download.

Sorry, but dropping the age limit to 13 is going to water down the pool of talent. Yep, I know a 12-year-old just won “America’s Got Talent.” I also know I didn’t watch a single minute of a single episode. And I’m still haunted by The X Factor, which had an age limit of 12.

Anyone remember the truly talented Carly Rose Sonenclar doing a Britney Spears’ impression at age 13? How about 13-year-old Rachel Crow somehow being allowed to sing the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” then crumbling on stage in tears when she was eliminated? How about a brat named Astro, who apparently thought he should have been a bigger star at age 14 than he’s ever become?

Granted, The Voice shows more restraint and taste in one show than The X Factor showed in three seasons, but lowering the age limit is still a major step in the wrong direction.

4. Cut back to one season per year

Season 11? Really? Already?

If The Voice stays on TV for 15 years, like American Idol, we’ll be at Season 29 this time in 2025. Think about that for a minute: Season 29.

Now that The Voice has won the network TV singing show war, one season per year would be enough, thank you. That way everything would seem fresher. The coaches pleading for singers to join their teams. The impromptu duets that spring up during the blind auditions. The banter between Blake and Adam.

And then, perhaps, producers wouldn’t feel quite so compelled to tinker with the format to keep the show fresh. The steals were a fine addition. The instant save? The comeback artists? The one-season wild card experiment? Foisting Miley Cyrus on viewers? I’m not particularly fond of any of those.

<strong>Sia performs on the Season 10 finale of The Voice. (NBC Photo)</strong>

Sia performs on the Season 10 finale of The Voice. (NBC Photo)

5. Support the artists once they leave the show

It took 15 years, but American Idol finally got it right, putting on a blockbuster of a Season 15 finale that featured past artists returning to remind us how talented they are.

A month later, The Voice aired a season finale that didn’t include a performance from a single past contestant, but featured guest performances from Sia, Little Big Town and Zayne. Despite the fact that past finalists Javier Colon, Nicholas David, Chris Mann, Xenia and the late Christina Grimmie had recently released new music.

There are so many past contestants — and not just the finalists — releasing so much great music that every single guest spot on the live shows should be used to promote that music.

Come on, The Voice. These artists helped make your show a hit. Try to return the favor.

Editor’s Note: The Voice is up for a third Emmy tonight. Other nominees in the Reality TV Competition Series category include CBS’s The Amazing Race, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Bravo’s Top Chef, NBC’s American Ninja Warrior and Lifetime’s Project Runway.

See also …
2016 albums and EPs from former Voice contestants
2016 videos from former Voice contestants
2016 singles from former Voice contestants
Did I miss anyone? Let me know via email at [email protected]


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