‘The Voice’: What Changes Does the Show Need to Make for Season 17?

The Voice has become one of the most popular singing competition shows, with exciting celebrity coaches, guest stars, and a format that audiences love. Ever since it first debuted in 2011, viewers have tuned in to see the judges battle it out to score the most talented contestants for their team.

'The Voice' judge Blake Shelton
The Voice judge Blake Shelton | Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Still, in the past few years, with several coach shake-ups and some serious format changes, the show has suffered from poor ratings and some negative press. With season 17 on the horizon, fans are wondering how The Voice will be able to recover from so many blows.

What is ‘The Voice’ about?

Based on an international singing show, The Voice first premiered for U.S. audiences in April 2011. The format was interesting and unique – while previous singing competition shows had focused as much on contestant’s appearance as much as their singing skill, The Voice featured blind auditions, where wanna-be stars sang to the coach’s backs.

If a coach liked what they heard, they could choose to turn their chair around and offer the contestant a spot on their team for the season, and a shot at fame.

The coaches for the first season included country singer Blake Shelton, pop star Adam Levine, diva legend Christina Aguilera, and soul singer CeeLo Green. The chemistry between Shelton and Levine was an immediate draw for audiences, with fans loving their playful jabs at each other.

Over the years, the coaching panel has changed a number of times, with the panel for the upcoming 17th season featuring Blake Shelton (the only remaining original judge), Gwen Stefani, John Legend, and Kelly Clarkson.

Season 16 had record low ratings

Although The Voice has managed to stay relevant for over eight years on network television, no small feat for any competition show, the just-ended season 16 was a definite bomb.

It hit a new record low in terms of ratings and a lot of fans were very vocal regarding their issues with the show. Critics spoke out as well, saying that The Voice has been shortchanging talented contestants, and focusing too much on overblown production numbers rather than stripped-down vocals. 

Season 17 could also prove to be problematic due to Adam Levine no longer being on the show. After season 16 ended, the longtime coach announced that he would not be returning to the show, but that he was ready to start spending more time with his family.

Still, it seems that Levine also had issues with the newer format of the show, and that could have contributed to his decision to step away from The Voice

What could redeem ‘The Voice’?

Although the ratings were pretty terrible during season 16, The Voice has a solid chance of redeeming itself in the upcoming season. Fans have been speaking out online and offering up simple suggestions that could dramatically improve ratings in season 17.

One of the suggested changes includes bringing back the popular knockout rounds, where members of the same team go up against each other, with that team’s coach choosing a winner at the end of the match.

In season 16, The Voice eliminated knockout rounds in favor of cross battles, where members of opposing teams sing against each other on stage. The cross battles proved to be not nearly as popular as knockout rounds, and many viewers have been clamoring for the knockout rounds to come back.

Critics have also pointed out that the coaches need to offer more constructive criticism to their team members. The past several seasons have seen the coaches toning down their criticism of mediocre performances, which might spare some hurt feelings behind the scenes but could inhibit performance quality. 

Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat sheet for the latest on The Voice, and for all the news about the upcoming new season!