The Voice season 21 is just around the corner. In a new interview, Executive Producer Audrey Morrissey talks about changes coming up this season, new coach Ariana Grande, and more.
Speaking of pop star Ariana Grande: She joins veteran coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend on the panel. As always, Carson Daly will hold it all together as host.
The Voice season is already well underway, with vaxxed and COVID-19 tested audience members. The production taped Blind Auditions in June, The Battles were taped a few weeks ago. And the Knockouts film next week. In the new interview, available to watch below, Morrissey laid out what fans can expect in the coming season.
The Voice teams are 12 again, no four-way knockout
Interestingly, the teams have expanded back to 12 members a piece. Morrissey doesn’t explain why, but perhaps with the show only airing once a year, the idea is to make that ONE season big. For instance, the shows are back to airing both Mondays and Tuesdays.
Additionally, Morrissey hints that the producers are discussing changes to the format to freshen up the show. Notably, spoilers report there has been no mention of the Four Way Knockout during Battle Round tapings. Which actually makes sense! In the past three seasons, with teams at 10 a piece (40 total), and each coach having a steal and a save, that came out to 7 team members a piece by the end of the round. Having the saves battle it out in a Four way Knockout solved the uneven number problem. But to twist the format change, viewers voted for the winner of the 4 way knockout instead of the coaches. The victor joined the Top 16 to compete in the playoffs.
“You want to keep things fresh, you want people coming back for more,” said Morrissey. “But it’s got to make sense, and it has to really has to fit with the core values of the show.” Morrissey added. “So we’re actually in the middle of discussing that right now. It’s a continual conversation.”
IF producers actually ditched the 4-Way Knockout, perhaps the producers are figuring out a way to continues some form of viewer voting at the Knockout stage. Morrissey confirms the 12 member teams in the interview. As far as the 4 Way Knockout is concerned, and any new twists, it’s all reports from the tapings, and speculation. For those who love the spoilers, check them out at Idol Forums.
Big hype for Ariana Grande
Morrissey spent time hyping up new coach, Ariana Grande. “She’s fantastic. I mean, top to bottom, just a doll, a delight,” said Morrissey. “She’s funny. She is whip smart. She’s very generous and she’s very, very technical and very knowledgeable. [She gives] very thoughtful, technical comments…in a way we really haven’t seen before.” Morrissey insists that how the coaches behave on camera is exactly who they are in real life. “What we have gotten, every single time, is a glimpse at really getting to know the coaches,” She said. “…they are themselves. They’re are not playing a character. They’re not being like their stage version, or their polished manicured version from social media.” Morrissey continued. “They’re really their authentic self. So I think people are going to love, love seeing Ariana this way.”
A few other notable tidbits from the interview
- It’s an old story, but maybe some of you didn’t hear it. Morrissey describes how they ran out of contestants season 1. The coaches still had spots on their teams. Producers scrambled to get contestants to come back and sing again. The band and the recycled contestant needed to learn new songs. The coaches knew there was a problem, but the producers kept them in the dark as much as they could so the returning singers would at least seem fresh. “So as you can imagine every season there on out, we had plenty of people, plenty of people,” said Morrissey.
- The only time they came close to running out of singers again was season 12, when coach Alicia Keys kept rejecting, rejecting, rejecting singers to fill her last spot. She finally settled on Chris Blue, who went on to win the show. But even then, the show hadn’t run out of singers.
- Morrissey insists that the show was fine without a live audience last season. Due to COVID-19 restrictions. The audience was virtual. “A lot of the key dynamics…still intact.” However, she does admit that the live shows lacked without a live audience. (The finale, I think, REALLY suffered without a live audience. Still don’t get why they didn’t cast an audience like American Idol did).
- However, the coaches appreciated the quiet in the studio. “The coaches actually felt in some ways they could hear the singing better without the big crowd,” said Morrissey. “So they actually really enjoyed that that bit of it.”
- During casing, sometimes one producer will throw down the gauntlet for a singer that winds up going far, and even winning the show. And then they get to say “I told you so.”
- Morrissey says it takes about 500 people to put together the live shows, especially a “big season” like the one coming up.
Watch the full interview below.