‘The Voice’: Is the Show Just a Popularity Contest?

Ever since its premiere in 2011, The Voice has received a lot of praises for its unique format. Unlike similar shows at the time, fans were immediately drawn to the fact that The Voice focuses solely on the talent of its contestants instead of relying on joke auditions or bizarre acts to attract viewers.

That said, while The Voice tries to give everyone a fair chance to succeed, it still can’t escape the all-too-common criticism that the series rewards more popular contestants.

But what is the truth? Is The Voice really a popularity contest? Why do some fans think that way? Let’s dig deeper to find out.

‘The Voice’ introduced a new format and fans are not happy

The new season of The Voice premiered in February and viewers were introduced to a new segment called Live Cross Battles that replaced the usual knockout rounds.

The cross battles involve several rounds of one contestant going head-to-head against another contestant from a different coach. The pair competes against each other in a singing battle and the audience votes on which contestant had the better performance.

Although The Voice tried to make the cross battles more intense by allowing coaches to steal or save contestants as in the previous knockouts, fans didn’t find them all that fun.

According to several audience members, the performances from the battles were rather sub-par and pitchy.

However, a big complaint that many fans shared involved the fact that the audience could vote on the winner from the battles. Fans simply felt as if it was unfair to the lesser-known contestants. In the original knockouts, the coaches were the ones deciding which contestants to eliminate, though now the viewers had more power.

“Wish the judges would continue to decide. It has now become just a popularity contest, rather than being based on talent,” one person said.

Is ‘The Voice’ turning into a popularity contest?

While the complaints about The Voice giving more benefits to popular contestants are valid, the truth is that the show has always had a hint of being a popularity contest.

Even with the coaches deciding the winners during the knockout rounds, the live shows often allow the audience to take part and vote for their favorites.

This benefited contestants like Cassadee Pope from season 3 and Christina Grimmie from season 6, who both had a lot of fans before joining The Voice. Although there’s no denying that Pope and Grimmie were talented performers, the fact that they had their own careers before the show and garnered a significant fanbase most likely did not hurt them when it came time for the audience to vote.

In any case, The Voice is a TV series and, like many TV series out there, it relies heavily on ratings to keep it afloat. This means that the producers of The Voice have a lot of incentives to let contestants who are fan favorites stay around for as long as possible.

Moreover, any competition that allows the public to vote will inevitably run into this problem of some people earning votes for their popularity more than their actual talent, but it’s just something anyone watching will have to accept.

Will ‘The Voice’ lose viewers to similar series?

The Voice has received a lot of criticisms from fans outside of just the popularity contest accusations, and in recent years, more and more people are becoming tired of the show.

Currently, its biggest competition is American Idol, a similar singing talent search series that was started in 2002. American Idol used to be the No. 1 show in the U.S., though it had lost a lot of viewers in the past several years while The Voice was gaining more popularity.

However, based on recent ratings, the trend might be reversing soon if more fans stop watching The Voice while American Idol continues to climb up the charts.