The Voice

Random thoughts on The Voice finale and a grade for Season 23

Cast and crew members bid Blake Shelton farewell on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Cast and crew members bid Blake Shelton farewell on The Voice. (NBC Photo)


Here are some random thoughts about The Voice finale, and a final grade for Season 23.

American Idol still does a much better job of producing a finale, from keeping the focus where it belongs to crowning the winner before the credits roll, allowing at least a few moments to savor that winning moment.

But this spring’s finale on The voice was better than usual because the show had a dual purpose Tuesday, crowning a winner and saying goodbye to Blake Shelton. That minimized the number of guest performers with no connection to the show


I would love to know what was behind the voting change introduced this season. Limiting fans to one vote per email address — before they could vote for as many singers as they wanted — makes it harder for one coach or genre to dominate the show.

That’s a major step toward fairness on a show that frankly hasn’t given a crap about fairness, insisting on using instant saves the put West Coast contesants at a major disadvantage and doling out saves and steals in a manner that makes it impossible for half of the singers to snag one.

And the timing of the voting change was curious, coming in Blake’s last season, with him on the cusp of his 10th victory as coach.

If the vote was as close as Carson Daly indicated — the closest margin in the show’s history, he claimed — it’s quite possible Gina Miles’ victory was a result of that rule change because Blake fans couldn’t vote for both Grace West and Noivas.


Easily the most touching moment of Tuesday’s show came when all of Blake’s former champs — from Jermaine Paul to Bryce leatherwood — returned to serenade their former coach.
The performance wasn’t limited to former champs either. Two of Blake’s Season 1 standouts, Dia Frampton and Xenia, were there. So was Raelynn, one of the first country artists Blake helped out after she left the show.

I was loving watching Blake reunite with so many singers who made the show worth watching over the years. Then Carson Daly cut the moment short with a video message from George Strait. Why?

Meanwhile, thank you Blake, for making The Voice entertaining even in seasons when the format screamed “don’t watch.” And for providing career help to so many of your contestants, from taking them on tour with you to recording duets with them.


Wouldn’t it be great if the voice invited former contestants back more often? For instance, to promote their new music?

Cassadee Pope, Wendy Moten, Ian Flanigan and the Swon Brothers all showed up for Blake’s sendoff. All have new music out. You’d never know it from watching The Voice.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for The Voice to change it priorities when it comes to guest performance slots. Tuesday’s finale also included performances Lewis Capaldi, Alex Newell, Diplo & Lily Rose, Toosii and the U.S. Army Field Band.

Again, why? What did any of them have to do with The Voice or Season 23? I ignored every one of those performances.


Tuesday’s finale also included an in-show commercial for NBC’s new Hot Wheels show, which debuts next week, I think.

Someone showed up with four little Hot Wheels, assigned each one to a coach, then staged a little race with them to predict which coach would win the show.

It was over in a flash. It was impossible to tell which car crossed the finish line first. If the new show works as well as that predictor race, NBC has another dud on its hands.


With Blake leaving, Voice fans are facing Season 24 this fall with a coaching lineup of Reba McEntire, John Legend, Niall Horan and Gwen Stefani. Insert major yawn here.

Which means this would be a perfect time for a reboot. And, boy, does The Voice need a reboot.

That would mean going back to the old format that eliminated a couple of singers a week and allowed several weeks of voting. The playoff pass should go in the same trash bin the second-chance stage wound up in. While we’re taking out the trash, get rid of the block and the instant save as well. Dole out steals and saves at the end of the battle and knockout rounds to add drama.

Then turn the focus back to the singers. please. And make the finale more about the season just completed and the finalists. Those comedy clips featuring the coaches belong in the trash bin too.


Which leads us to a grade for Season 23 of The Voice. Drum roll, please. The Voice Season 23 earns a BIG FAT F.

Now, understand, that grade is not a reflection of the talent on Season 23. It’s completely based on production and the format.

An F is what you earn when you shorten the season to the point where singers are landing spots in the playoffs based on one solo and one duet. An F is what you earn when you have only two weeks for fans to vote, and completely screw up an attempt at live voting in one of those. An F is what you earn when you unveil a completely illogical gimmick like the playoff pass.

The gap between American Idol, easily the best singing show on TV, and The Voice is now about the size of the Grand Canyon.

Hopefully, Blake’s departure and the fear that fans will follow him out the door will prompt NBC and The Voice to make changes that will close that gap. But, really, isn’t that what the show should have been doing in Season 23 to convince fans to stick around?

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  1. TiredofTripe May 24, 2023 at 3:49 pm -  Reply


    Thank you again, Mark, for telling the truth about “The Voice.”

    I remember how furious you were that with unfair, mean twist “American Idol” did in Season 19.

    “The Voice” is about the coaches and the gimmicks.

    I doubt that the producers will make any changes.

  2. Idol Girl May 24, 2023 at 8:17 pm -  Reply

    I’ve been watching The Voice since season 4. The more I have watched, the more I have come to see that it is set up like a game show.

    I can’t remember if it was during the finale last night or if I saw it on another channel, but I saw a commercial advertising an audio-only singing competition on Audible. It has Kelly Rowland and Sara Bareilles as judges.

  3. Amy June 22, 2023 at 7:34 pm -  Reply

    I wish NBC would just put the Voice out of its misery already

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