Introducing The Instant Save

There’s another rule change on The Voice starting this coming week: the “Instant Save” where fans can protect one of the bottom three artists via Twitter mentions and retweets. Here’s Carson in a brief video explaining the idea:

Clearly, this is another way that The Powers That Be are capitalizing on The Voice‘s social media power. Sometimes that’s great (the social media videos), other times it isn’t (hello, Sprint Skybox).

We’ve also had quite a few rule and format changes over the last few years, from the Instant Eliminations that happened (and then stopped), the institution of the Knockout Rounds, the addition of the Steal, and then this season the Knockouts Steal. Are you in favor of an Instant Save? Do you wish we’d stop tinkering with the rules? Let me know what you think below.

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21 thoughts on “Introducing The Instant Save

  1. I’m on the West Coast. I won’t be following Twitter, since I want to watch the show unfold naturally, not find out the ending first, then watch all the stuff before it, two hours later. It’s a nice idea for more audience participation – if the show were truly live (which it’s not, in my timezone).

    1. You know, I hadn’t thought of it that way. In that sense, it does seem like the Instant Save sort of excludes non-East Coast viewers who don’t want to be spoiled. That’s actually an interesting question I should ask Carson when he walks the red carpet this week, provided I get to chat with him.

      Of course, the selfish part of me also wonders why we need an Instant Save when, if folks are truly passionate about a particular artist staying on the show, you’d think they’d have taken the time to vote the day before and keep them out of the Bottom 3 to begin with…?

      1. I think it’s because the ratings have not been holding, again. They had made a statement at the start of the season that they reserve the right to make more changes, if needed. This is another way to added a “twist” element, similar to the steals. It’s a little like the old instant elimination, but by saving instead of eliminating, it removes the negative feeling. Personally, I think it might work better if the coaches did the instant save, rather than the audience.

      2. I think so. I sort of feel like if enough people REALLY cared enough about an artist, they’d be voting the night before to keep the artist out of the Bottom 3, rather than trying to “Instant Save” them. I wonder if that’s going to detract from actual voting because folks will be like ‘Oh, I’ll just be able to tweet for them on Tuesday.’

        Plus, I worry about the tabulation of said tweets. Since the results are going to be announced immediately…we’d better hope that nobody makes a mistake in counting or there’s going to be an uproar. Like remember when Karina Iglesias’s voting phone number was off? And nothing really happened with that, either, as I recall.

  2. Dear Brittany,

    This appalling idea makes a travesty of the voting process – putting this crucial decision in the hands of a very limited segment of the Voice viewers to whom it really matters.

    Not everyone has access to social media, or even the smarts to use it. As is all too apparent, this new Rule favors the preferences of East Coast viewers – while the rest of us in the country (on CT and PT) have to race to catch that tiny window of opportunity without having viewed the current performances.

    The Voice has earned its success through the support of a wide range of viewers – not the clique of Tweeters to whom the producers seem to be pandering, just as they have by giving more weight to votes by I-Tune purchases – to the detriment of past season results. I find this an insult to the rest of us – an incredibly short-sighted move. If the idea is to put more decision-making power into the hands of “America” – I have no objection to that – but to do it in a way that sabotages the integrity of the voting process is just plain wrong. In case you cannot tell by these words… I am steaming.

    With respect, Mariah Skye

    1. You raise a good point, Mariah. I’m supposed to be interviewing Carson on Monday night, and if I do get the chance to talk to him, I plan to ask him about the time zone issues at least. Will let you know what happens.

  3. Thanks for highlighting this important news, Brittany. I hope you are able to follow up with Carson about this. I’ll paraphrase what I said on The Voice’s Facebook page. As a active fan since Season #1, I have to say this is the absolutely worst idea they’ve ever come up with. Not only are they putting the power to decide the vote in the hands of a small exclusive group (those who have Twitter & have access to it during the few minutes that this voting period is open), they’re letting East Coast voters make the decision for “America.”

    People on the East Coast might enjoy voting as they’re watching the live show. Very few people on the West Coast will seek out the Twitter feed three hours before the show airs during this very few short voting period. Those who do won’t have much interest in watching the results show when it airs “live” on the West Coast, as we’ll already know what happened.

    I’ve watched & voted every single season, but this poorly conceived idea makes me feel that my vote doesn’t matter, as the results will be decided in this gimmicky way by a very small group of viewers. Why bother voting? Why bother watching the results show? If they proceed with this plan, I anticipate they will ruin what so far has been a very promising season.

    1. I’ll definitely let you know if I get anything from Carson. Usually, I only get a question or two with him, so I may not come away with much, but I’ll try.

      And you touched on something else that bugs me here…that the “Instant Save” seems too much like a “do-over.” If a fan honestly really cared about Artist X remaining in the competition, to me that fan should’ve been watching and voting on Monday night to keep them from being in the Bottom 3 in the first place. I’m concerned that the more casual viewers (which, TBH, probably make up the bulk of the audience) are going to feel as if they don’t need to vote on Monday because they’ll just “Instant Save” Artist X on Tuesday. That would be a dangerous precedent to set.

      Personally, I’m all for just leaving the rules and format alone for a little bit, but I think that’s just me.

  4. Thanks, Brittany. Even if you don’t get an answer, just making Carson aware that some viewers aren’t enthusiastic about this new twist would be great!

    I agree that it sets a bad precedent. This week it could mean that a small group of casual viewers will save the person who took last place in the popular vote on Monday night, while sending home the person in tenth place. As the size of the group grows smaller each week, the Instant Vote could turn out to be a real game changer, & not in a positive sense.

    I don’t object to the producers finding creative ways to get more viewer involvement, but this actually takes power away from the overall pool of voters & puts it in the hands of a select few. The Voice has shown the willingness to abandon Great New Ideas in the past (like the Instant Eliminations), so I’m hopeful that they’ll reconsider this.

    By the way, I didn’t discover your blog till Season 2, but what you do is great. Your coverage of artists from all seasons is invaluable, & the first place I look for Voice news.

    1. Oh, thank you for the compliment! I’m glad that you’re finding the blog useful…that’s why it exists, after all.

      I’m off to bed so I can be properly rested for the red carpet tonight. I’ll update the site very late Tuesday night (like, after the West Coast airing most likely) should I get anything more from Carson on the “Instant Save” idea.

  5. Hey guys, as an FYI, Carson did give me some quotes about the Instant Save tonight. I think you’ll find them interesting. I am submitting them to TODAY, though, so you might not get to read them until late tomorrow. (They’re that interesting.)

    1. Yes, I’ll be interested. We were so naive. This is about business, isn’t it? As soon as Carson started encouraging viewers to open Twitter accounts to vote, I thought, “In addition to Sprint (which sponsors the phone and text voting), Starbucks, and Kia, I bet Twitter has signed on as a sponsor.” Their wildly successful IPO was just last week; now they have money to spend on high profile placement, like playing a pivotal role in the nation’s #1 reality competition TV show. The timing of the IPO is quite the coincidence with the start of the live shows. For The Voice, the new income will probably help pay for coaches’ salaries (I believe Usher and Shakira are more expensive than Christina and Cee Lo, respectively), and for a new (larger?) set that I read will be introduced next season. Any bets on how close I am to the truth? 🙂

      1. I’m more confused now than I was before. Did you hear Carson say that Jonny was in third place based on the results of the Instant Save? That means that possibly, he could’ve been #10 in the Top 12 (and therefore safe) based on the Monday popular vote, but given the boot based entirely on a last-minute Twitter revote. I didn’t catch that line until my rewatch, but it makes me even more wary.

        Basically, nothing Carson said is really going to make you feel any better.

      2. Doubt Jonny was 10th though. Kat peaked at 42 on iTunes while Jonny got the least amount of downloads and peaked at 140
        I know that iTunes isn’t always a good way to tell how many votes contestants get (Austin not being in the bottom three is proof of that) but Jonny and Josh were most likely going home even if there hadn’t been an instant save

      3. Figuring out the number of votes is so convoluted these days it’s hilarious. Mostly because of iTunes (which, I hate that too – just because you can basically spoil the results for yourself reading a sales chart). Remember how Amber Carrington charted, so she should’ve had an iTunes multiplier, yet somehow went home anyway? I seriously want to see the math equation folks have to use to get a vote total.

  6. Thanks for checking in, Brittany. I’m extremely curious to hear your news.

    Yes, your last comment was spot on. The decision about who went home of the bottom three was based solely on the five minute Twitter vote. Jonny (or Josh) could have been #10 & Kat #12 Monday, but The Voice decided to disregard this. If they eliminate two more people next week, the Instant Save could send home the person in eighth place on Monday & keep the person in tenth place. To me the integrity & credibility of the voting process has really suffered with this change.

    What irks me most is that this is presented as giving the viewers more control over the outcome, when they’re actually doing the opposite. In the past the two people with the least votes as decided by the entire voting audience would have been sent home. Instead a much smaller group of largely East Coast tweeters now have the power to send home someone else. I don’t consider this new twist a “save,” as without the Tweet vote the third person wouldn’t have been in danger of being eliminated.

    The Voice’s Facebook page has been slammed with negative feedback from West Coasters, & I haven’t seen much coverage elsewhere raving about what a grand idea the Instant Save is. I doubt that this is going to enhance Twitter’s reputation in the way they probably anticipated.

    I hope you had fun on the red carpet!

    1. Oh, I always do!

      As of right now, looks like TODAY has chosen not to run my articles…they’ve posted something else from another staff writer about Twitter. So Carson’s quotes might be in limbo for a bit (I have to wait for an official rejection from TODAY, which could take as long as tomorrow, before I can post elsewhere).

      But – I’m going to be posting more of my Top 12 interviews likely tomorrow – so hold on for those. Those were fun. (Ironically, Josh? One of the most fun.)

  7. There’s no way of knowing for certain who the bottom two were in the popular vote unless The Voice releases that information. When voting closed Monday Kat was in sixth place on the general ITunes chart & Austin was in tenth place. Jonny was #2 on the ITunes rock chart, & the only one of the bottom three to be saved by the public last week. ITunes doesn’t necessarily accurately portray the overall vote, particularly as there are some people who vote only via ITunes, & others who vote only via other methods. I am glad that they’ve changed the rules so that an ITunes download only counts for five votes, although I’d prefer that it only counted for one.

    To me the point isn’t who was actually in tenth place this week, but that the Instant Vote throws out the popular vote results for the person third from the bottom & puts them in danger of being eliminated by a smaller more exclusive group of voters.

    I’ll say more on the page with Carson’s interview, but in a nutshell I stand behind everything I’ve already said about the Instant Vote times ten, based on both his comments & my experience of how it affected the show this week.

    1. It’ll never happen, but I would love to see the show just simplify the voting process in the most extreme way possible. Bring it back to just phone, text, online and iTunes, with all the methods counting equal, no multipliers or fancy stuff. We’ve hashed out all the business reasons why they won’t do that, but to me the voting process is just getting more and more convoluted. As I’m not a Sprint customer, and I don’t get on iTunes unless I really want to purchase a song for my continued listening, all I vote with is via NBC.com tbh.

      1. As I see it, the iTunes multiplier was a reaction to the Season 2 final result. As I recall, Chris Mann had both of his final songs (“You Raise Me Up” and “The Prayer”) in the Top 10, and yet he finished last of the 4 finalists. Afterward, he was essentially treated as the winner, with 2 UMG albums, 2 TV specials, and the performance at Rockefeller Center, while Jermaine Paul only got 2 singles (1 of them a cover) and supposedly an album that has never been released. Somebody made an executive decision, and since both Cassadee Pope’s and Danielle Bradbery’s albums are currently on the iTunes chart, I doubt if they will revisit the multiplier idea. I’m still mystified at why the Twitter vote was introduced, and what problem that was supposed to address…?

      2. I’m not sure there was a problem. I think it was probably another way to do something with Twitter; this show LOVES Twitter (hence the Sprint Skybox, in-show tweets). Or maybe it’s a response to other shows now jumping on the social media bandwagon – didn’t X Factor just introduce some new social media gimmick? I swore I saw a press release but I didn’t read it.

        BTW, ABC did greenlight that Instant Star show you mentioned before. I read the description of it and it makes me cringe. Particularly the part about the contestants being able to see the vote tally as they’re performing. I don’t see how that’s going to do anything but distract the artists and/or completely demoralize someone who bombs.

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