The Voice

The Voice prepares to launch its worst season ever


Blake Shelton is in his final season as a coach on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Blake Shelton is in his final season as a coach on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

With Blake Shelton stepping away from his role as a Voice coach, you’d think the show would pull out all the stops in Season 23.

You know, do everything possible to remind viewers of why they’ll want to tune in for future seasons, even if Blake isn’t around.

You’d be wrong. Very wrong.

Instead, Voice producers are about to roll out the least satisfying season of the show to date.

Don’t misunderstand. The talent is there. I’ve researched the 40 singers / acts rumored to fill the teams and it’s a diverse and gifted group of artists.

Artists deserving of the exposure that would come from a full season of The Voice.

That’s not what they’ll get. That’s not what viewers will get.

Instead, The Voice is going to serve up the lightest version yet of what I call Voice light, returning to the format that took contestants from the playoffs to the finale in just three weeks in seasons 18-20.

And, for good measure, they’ve thrown in some unwelcome twists.

Here are the groan-worthy details.

* In Season 23, the playoffs won’t be live. Instead, for the first time ever, the coaches will handpick all eight semifinalists.

* That will mean just two lives shows. Just two chances to vote for your favorites.

* And Voice producers have come up with one of their silliest gimmicks yet, something they’re calling the playoff pass.

Here’s how that will work. During the battle round, instead of the save they’ve had in past seasons, each coach will have one playoff pass.

Recipients of the playoff pass will get to skip the knockout round and advance directly to those no-longer-live playoffs.

A Voice press release touts the fact that recipients of the playoff pass will gain “a major advantage.”

So, with such a powerful playoff pass at play, surely The Voice altered its format to make sure every contestant had a chance of snagging one, right?

Not hardly. Remember, this is The Voice. Fair play isn’t even a consideration.

In past seasons, I’ve criticized The Voice because coaches tend to use all their saves and steals quickly, leaving contestants who perform later in the battle and knockout rounds in a win-or-go-home situation.

Under the format The Voice insists on using, how early in the round a singer performs matters nearly as much as how well they perform in terms of their chance of advancing. I’ve long argued steal and save decisions should be made only after coaches have watched everyone perform.

Not one thing changed in Season 23. All the playoff passes were gone by the end of the second day of battle round taping. At least 14 singers who performed on day three didn’t even have a chance at the playoff pass. That’s 35 percent of the singers who made the show.

And, once again, the problem was worse in the knockouts, with all four steals used on day one. Half of the contestants sang on day two, when no steals were available.

From my perspective, there’s another problem with the playoff pass. It means a singer can make the Voice Season 23 finale based on just three solo performance — their blind audition followed by their playoff and the semifinal performances.

I’m sorry, but that’s absurd. This is the same show where Cassadee Pope had to sing 13 times to win the Season 3 title.

I’d call the playoff pass the stupidest gimmick The Voice has come up with, except that there’s been so many others. Remember the cross battles? Remember the second-chance stage?

And, hey, it’s tough to top the instant save, which the show still uses. It redoes hours of overnight voting in about 5 minutes. While only part of The Voice audience is watching. Putting singers with West Coast fans bases at an enormous disadvantage.

One good thing about this spring’s abbreviated format is that there will only be one instant save in Season 23.

Not that I’ll be watching. As Voice Views, I’ve had enough of this silliness. I refuse to play along.

This blog will cover the blind auditions, hopefully to give singers successful in turning chairs a bit more exposure.

Then I’ll tune out for the rest of Season 23.

Life’s too short for me to waste my time than pretending there’s much credibility to anything that happens Monday and Tuesday nights on The Voice.

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  1. Idol Girl March 6, 2023 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

    Sad there will only be 2 weeks of live shows. Oh well, I’ll be watching the season anyway.

  2. TiredofTripe March 6, 2023 at 9:23 pm -  Reply

    You’ll be missed Mark.

    You were the only blogger who wrote about the unfairness and meanness of “The Voice.”

    Every other recapper just summarizes each episode and/or gives out performance grades.

    Thank you for hard work, thoroughness, clarity, and intelligence.

    I hope you continue your wit and insight somewhere where we can read you.

  3. Amy March 7, 2023 at 7:24 am -  Reply

    It’s time for NBC to cancel the voice. The show needs to end. NOW

  4. Amy March 7, 2023 at 7:50 pm -  Reply

    It’s time for NBC to cancel The Voice and put it out of its misery. This show needs to end sooner than later

    • Rak April 7, 2023 at 7:48 am -  Reply

      Oh I agree I am so sick to death of the voice and Idol they both need to go

    • Idol Girl April 26, 2023 at 12:00 pm -  Reply

      Unless the show has a drastic ratings drop, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

  5. TV Fan March 14, 2023 at 3:00 am -  Reply

    The Live shows are the weakest part of The Volice and always have been. The Blinds, Battles and Knockouts are far superior shows. Remember, this is a TV show first and a singing/popularity contest a distant second. And that is never going to change until the show reaches its end.

    • Idol Girl April 26, 2023 at 1:14 pm -  Reply

      Agreed. Those are better parts of the show.

  6. Rak April 7, 2023 at 7:50 am -  Reply

    Oh I agree I am so sick to death of the voice and Idol they both need to go.

  7. Maryann Gomez April 12, 2023 at 7:53 pm -  Reply

    This years Light version of the voice is the worst ever. I’m done! It’s pathetic.

  8. Liza fanjoy May 22, 2023 at 8:45 pm -  Reply

    I agree that I hate the shortenedformat. And with the playoff pass those Performers to get it, actually lose by having one less performance. Too many great singers going home!

  9. Marcella Di Legge May 23, 2023 at 3:38 pm -  Reply

    This was my favorite season of idol. Not so much the voice. Too many rule changes. If it’s not broken leave it alone.

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