There are few other shows out there that mean as much to a network as “The Voice” does to NBC. Not only is it their highest-rated show, but it has made even bigger stars of the coaches, and serves as a great launching pad for other shows. While “The Blacklist,” for example, probably would be doing well regardless, its lead-in from “The Voice” helped it to be a hit from the start.
But in order for the show to keep these sort of stratospheric numbers, the challenge is to actually ensure that it stays great entertainment. The formula at this point is pretty clear: The blind auditions are tons of fun, and then they have to hope that there is enough that happens the rest of the way to keep things engaging.
What worked – The biggest thing for this season was that they had an excellent pool of contestants from start to finish, and it led to unpredictable results. For example, we did not end up seeing someone from Blake Shelton’s team win! Not only that, but none of them made it to the finale. Matthew Schuler, an early favorite, was gone before the top 5, and a late surge from Tessanne Chin helped to make her the ultimate champion. There was a greater amount of in-season drama during the live shows than ever before.
Also, the coaches keep doing what they’ve been known for: Being fun and supportive of their teams. We still don’t really care for the “judging” that happens in the live shows so much, but they’ve got great chemistry and they know their point is to be entertainment more so than launch a star’s career.
What didn’t – They have probably made the battle rounds as good as they are going to be at this point, but that is still just mediocre TV at best here. There is just not that much great stuff that comes from seeing people do a song together that isn’t really meant for one or the other. The steal does make it somewhat more exciting … but not that much. It’s the weak link in the competition.
The good news is that there were not that many other major problems with this season, but one that we personally were annoyed with were some of the song choices at the very end. After being so creative, the final round was stuffed full of singing-show staples that have been done to death.
Overall – “The Voice” still has the edge over “American Idol” and “The X Factor” as the best singing competition with a live element on TV, and it’s not in big danger of losing that. While there were stumbles along the way for it, this is still an excellent bit of entertainment that really works to make sure you are enjoying it every week. While it’s nice if the winner goes on to have a good career, the music industry’s so crowded that we don’t really require it. Grade: A-.
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