Welcome to Big Red Chairs, the blog for all of your The Voice needs…this week, with less than a month to go before Season 3, find out about the big changes in store, plus who’s playing where and what your favorites are up to, including Pip, Chris Mann, and more!
Season 3: Format Changes Ahead!
It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience: this past weekend, Voice executive producer Mark Burnett invited select members of the media, including yours truly, to his Malibu home for a beach-backed press conference with himself and the coaches concerning what we can expect from Season 3.
And NBC did follow through on their plan to work the coaches’ chairs into the battle rounds, with a new concept called “the steal.” I’ll let Mr. Burnett explain it to you: “This year there’s much more at stake. When they have their battles and select one person to stay with them and one person to leave, the other coach[es] can buzz in and steal that person that the coach has sent home,” he said.
In case you’re wondering about the math: he explained that each coach has two steals, and will leave the battle rounds with ten singers. They will then move into a new round called “the knockouts,” where they’ll whittle that number down to five before going into live shows. If you’re keeping score, that means each coach comes into live rounds with five artists, one less than they brought last season.
What are the “knockout” rounds? Again, here’s Mark Burnett to explain: “How it works specifically, they’re on the same set, but they will perform against each other. They’re all lined up. They’ve all chosen their songs and rehearsed. They do not know who they’re singing against. And the coach will then decide who are the two who are in the knockout. The rest will leave the stage.
“Those two stay on center stage. One takes a stool in the corner, camera on them, and the other one sings the song of their choice. They probably don’t even know each other’s songs.” This has a lot of potential, especially as the artists get to choose their songs (presumably off of a cleared list as is the case with live shows), as opposed to even the blind auditions, where a song may be selected for them to sing.
Another change is that rather than having weeks of alternating teams during live shows, in Season 3, “everyone performs every week.” No more waiting for your team to show up!
Here are my thoughts on the revisions: in principle, the steal is a great idea. It should prevent those heartwrenching moments where a good artist goes home (which I refer to as the “Justin Hopkins scenario”). Yet on the other hand, will it provide a false sense of security for the singers? Are we going to get someone who says, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose this battle, because another coach will steal me’? I hope not.
Especially since a steal is not guaranteed. The panel let us know that there have already been circumstances where a losing contestant has not been stolen by another coach, a scenario which Adam described as “Double painful…It’s pretty debilitating when you think about getting let go, someone choosing someone else over you, and then essentially three other people also kind of not necessarily wanting to take you. That’s just like getting kicked in the balls and punched in the face at the same time.” Thanks for that mental image, Adam.
And then there’s the thought I’ve had since last season: I don’t want the show to add so many things or get so big that it gets too far away from what makes it special. Yet as I always say, you never know for sure until it actually happens.
Burnett also semi-addressed the fears of new coaches, in the sense that nothing’s been truly decided yet so he couldn’t give us concrete information, but they’re aware that their current foursome have day jobs. “Here’s the fact we decided: When you’ve been on this show, that’s your chair for life,” he told us. “So if they have to tour and someone comes in for a season and then goes out for a season, comes back for a season, there will never be anyone getting replaced ever. And it will be ‘Well, I need to tour. Let’s help you find who comes in. When I’m done on tour, I’ll come back, they’ll go on tour.'” In other words, if a coach ever departs, they’ll always be welcome back whenever their other commitments are through.
But no matter what changes lie ahead, what it comes down to is something very cool that Blake Shelton said that puts it all into perspective, which I want to share with all of you: “We’re doing this for the right reasons. It actually takes us away from what we ultimately wanted to do with our lives, which is tour and make records. And so in order to do this, we gotta be doing it for the right reasons, and for something that we all believe in. None of us came to L.A., I think ever in our lives, to be on television. And when this is over, we’ll go right back to doing what it is we really do.” I couldn’t have said it any better, and that’s why this show works so well.
Season 3 of The Voice begins in less than a month: September 10 on NBC.
Tour Dates: Vicci & Jamar at Universal Citywalk Tonight!
If you’re in the Los Angeles area tonight, Team Cee Lo’s Vicci Martinez (Season 1) and Jamar Rogers (Season 2) will be performing at Universal CityWalk’s 5 Towers, the same place where Season 2’s Final Four performed earlier this year. The concert is free and begins at 8 PM sharp when Jamar takes the stage. If you didn’t catch Vicci and Jamar on their West Coast tour, now is your moment, because their concert was pretty epic back in June at Anthology.
Meanwhile, coach Adam Levine has been reunited with Team Adam’s Javier Colon, who’s joined Maroon 5 on their current South American tour. How awesome is that? Check out this picture he posted from the tour’s stop in Monterrey, Mexico.
Getting Music Made: Pip’s New Webseries
With the Pipstarter funded, Team Adam’s Pip is giving us a YouTube-hosted look into the making of his forthcoming album, No Formalities. You can take a look at that here. Also, I think he wins for most adorable Twitter userpic ever.
Chris Mann Is Totally Everywhere
…or at least, it definitely seems like it! Team Christina’s Season 2 finalist has been spotted singing the National Anthem at a recent Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, popping in for a surprise return to The Voice stage, and most recently performing in Las Vegas. He is very much in high demand. (Sidebar: I know several of Chris’s fans have requested that I do a follow-up interview with him, and rest assured that I haven’t forgotten about you and will bring it to you as soon as I can get it!)
As if that’s not enough, Mann fans get not one but two albums from him this year, as he’ll be putting out a Christmas CD in addition to his anticipated debut album with Faircraft. Circle October 30th on your calendar and stay tuned here as I’ll be posting album reviews ASAP.
That’s all I’ve got for this week; as usual, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.