Oh, the show is still pretty entertaining. The interaction between the judges is still fun to watch.
But the novelty is wearing off. And the commitment to spending three hours a week watching the show is growing old fast.
Where has the show gone wrong?
I’d pinpoint four prime problems.
1. Too many contestants: Last year, each mentor on The Voice had eight singers. This year, the show raised the number to 12. That’s 48 contestants advancing to the second round. Forty-eight contestants whose stories we were told. It was simply too many to keep track of. It meant the auditions lasted a month. It meant the battle rounds lasted another month.
2. Those battle rounds: I can forgive The Voice its spinning chairs. It’s a fun gimmick. I cannot forgive battle rounds performed in a pseudo boxing ring. It’s just a groan-worthy concept. Granted, a couple of the battle round match-ups were highly entertaining. Just as many were train wrecks. They looked and smelled like filler. Especially since Christina Aguilera wore the same saucer on her head for an entire month. Obviously, those battle rounds were filmed in one day. So why did it take us a month to watch them? And if they were going to stretch out the battle round episodes for a month, couldn’t The Voice at least have had the mentors change clothes a couple times to give the illusion that they lasted longer?
3. Song choices: A year ago, I was giving The Voice kudos for having its contestants sing current and relevant music at the same time Idol’s Season 10 cast was tackling the tunes of Motown. Well, here’s the catch: The songs also have to be relevant to the contestant singing them. Way too many of the song choices on Season 2 of The Voice have been simply absurd. Having rapper Moses Stone and country-pop duo The Line rock out to “Satisfaction” in a battle round is not the way to create must-see TV. Song choices in the live shows have been worse. Singers we barely know have tried to surprise us with their versatility. So we have talented street performer Naia Kete avoiding reggae, country singer Karla Davis singing a rap song called “Airplanes” and a kid named Pip pretending to be a rocker while wearing a checkered bow-tie. Just plain silly.
4. Contestants we barely know: Which brings us to the biggest problem with The Voice — does anyone out there know these contestants? Seriously, right now, name half of the remaining contestants on The Voice. I’d be surprised many fans of the show can do it. And it’s not the fans’ fault. The show’s format has contestants appearing in the blind auditions, disappearing for a month, appearing in the battle rounds and, in some cases, disappearing for another month. Now we’re heading into the third week of the live rounds, and contestants still aren’t performing on a weekly basis.
Say what you will about Idol, but it manages to make its contestants household names.
The Voice would be wise to adopt a Season 3 format that does the same.
After all, viewers are more likely to tune in if they care about what happens to the contestants.