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NBC’s The Voice has become one of the most popular singing competitions, on par with American Idol and The Masked Singer. Thousands of people audition each season, but only a few dozen can make it onto the show. Those lucky contestants that do make it have several rules and requirements to keep in mind behind the scenes, most of which are lesser known to the public. Here are some surprising rules for contestants on The Voice.

The Voice Season 21 contestants Paris Winningham, Wendy Moten, Jershika Maple, Girl Named Tom, and Hailey Mia
‘The Voice’ Season 21 contestants Paris Winningham, Wendy Moten, Jershika Maple, Girl Named Tom, and Hailey Mia | Trae Patton/NBC

‘The Voice’ contestants cannot be a candidate for public office

Politician by day, musical superstar by night — those singers are not allowed on The Voice. According to the eligibility requirements, contestants on the show cannot be a candidate for public office during their season. That requirement remains in place for up to one year after the season ends. So, anyone interested in auditioning should make sure they don’t have plans to run for public office anytime soon.

‘The Voice’ rules may include required check-ins with a psychologist

The Voice can get intense, especially when it comes to eliminations. Instead of competing against other teams, artists must go against their own teammates in the Battles and Knockouts. Then, the coaches choose only one contestant from each face-off to move forward.

In season 21, coach Ariana Grande admitted she had to talk to her therapist about tough eliminations. Apparently, contestants sometimes have to do the same. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, The Voice Season 6 contestant Kat Perkins said the Top 12 were required to check in with The Voice’s in-house psychologists, especially after eliminations.

“The minute you are eliminated, you walk from that stage and into the psychiatrist’s office for a debriefing. They make sure that you talk about it,” Perkins said. “It’s very needed because you’ll never go through anything like it again. It’s traumatic and you’re not really emotionally set up to do something that big that quickly.”

Contestants don’t always get a say in song choice

When it comes to singing competitions like American Idol, contestants often choose to perform their own songs during auditions and beyond. The Voice, however, doesn’t really encourage originals. The point of the competition is to showcase contestants’ voices as they interpret popular songs. And even when it comes to covers, contestants don’t always have a choice in what they sing. After the audition process, song decisions are generally up to the coaches and producers.

“It’s always hysterical when the judges say, ‘I don’t think that was a good song choice for you,’ and I’m thinking, You picked that song,” season 1 contestant Frenchie Davis told Cosmopolitan.

‘The Voice’ rules include multiple auditions, interviews, and training for contestants


‘The Voice’: Do the Contestants Get Paid?

The Voice begins each season with the Blind Auditions, where coaches turn their big red chairs for the artists they want on their team. However, there’s an entire try-out process that happens before those episodes are even filmed. The Voice’s casting director, Michelle McNulty, told NBC Insider that multiple auditions and interviews must occur before a singer proceeds to the Blinds. McNulty said:

“If you’re going through our open call process or even if my team reaches out to you, what’ll end up happening is: Somebody from my team will contact you. From there, we’ll ask to have them send multiple songs. If we like what we hear from there, we’ll send them to a casting interview where we kind of get to know them a little bit more. And then from there, there’s a potential of us asking for additional songs or an additional interview. From there, we have to ultimately present to the producers and network executives. There are definitely cuts along the way. And then after that, we give them a call and say, ‘Congratulations, you made it to a Blind Audition.'” 

But wait, there’s more. Perkins revealed to Cosmopolitan that contestants on The Voice have to get through training before they go on television. This training prepares them for media interviews, social media use, and anything that can happen on stage, including getting sick or fainting.

Over-the-top costumes are not encouraged on ‘The Voice’

Remember: It’s called The Voice for a reason. The producers aren’t interested in over-the-top costumes during auditions. As Country Living notes, one of the rules for contestants on The Voice is to leave the “chicken costumes” at home. Artists are encouraged to dress in a way that represents their style, but still maintains a level of seriousness. Even during early auditions, participants should dress as they would during the Blind Auditions, according to The Voice’s audition tips.

The Voice Season 22 premieres on Monday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.