‘The Voice’ Continues With Historic Live Rounds, Quarantine Style
Reality talent show junkies got a taste of how the current pandemic-directed "new normal" is going to work these past two weekends, observing how American Idol handled socially distancing performances from its contestants. Rival production The Voice had had a good deal of its rounds pre-taped, thus dodging any fancy footwork for a longer time than Idol, but Monday (May 4)'s broadcast was "time's up." The show had no choice but to move from its previously planned live final rounds to a quarantine-approved format.
As it turned out, The Voice didn't do anything much different than AI did, choosing simply to film the performers at their respective residences. "This is how it's going to work tonight," explained host Carson Daly, speaking (of course) from his own pad. "The top 17 have created their performances at home; we recorded them earlier to make sure everybody's got a fair shot, and you're going to get to see them sing and you will vote overnight for your favorites."
Business as usual, with a few twists. Coach Blake Shelton beamed in from his house in Oklahoma, noting that he had "the most expensive" hair-and-makeup pro tending to his look. He was referring to his girlfriend and quarantine partner, Gwen Stefani, of course...who did not, unfortunately, make an appearance, although probably everyone watching was hoping she'd at least poke her head in for a moment (even just to assert her status as a veteran coach of past seasons).
As for Shelton himself, he seemed relaxed with the new format: "I don't hate this part of what's happening," he noted. "To be able to work from home? I've never been able to do that."
Meanwhile, coaches Nick Jonas and John Legend checked in from Los Angeles; while coach Kelly Clarkson held down the fort in Montana, admitting, "Being a working parent with three children running around has been challenging." (Anyone relate?)
From that point, each team presented their performances from their own residences—and, if AI had provided a learning curve, it translated nicely to the Voice production efforts. Like Idol, the contestants were shown with split-screen Zoom-style windows, whether talking to their respective coaches or displaying backing vocalists.
Standouts included Team Clarkson's Mandi Thomas letting it go on Lee Ann Womack's signature "I Hope You Dance," a daring Team Shelton cover of Clarkson's "Stronger" by Toneisha Harris, and Shelton's fan fave Todd Tilghman taking on that '80s classic (which seems to be a theme this season) "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera.
The ranks will be cut down to nine on Tuesday's results show (May 5). Tune in to see how this new format has or has not affected American voters across the nation in terms of picking a vocal champion.
See 14 Singers You Forgot Did Reality Television: