Congratulations to Maelyn Jarmon. The Texas native won season 16 of The Voice. The New York based singer beat out three of Blake Shelton’s country singers–Gyth Rigdon, Dexter Roberts and Andrew Sevener–for the crown. From her very first performance of “Fields of Gold” in the Blind Auditions to her triumphant performance of “Hallelujah” in the finale, Maelyn brought it week after week. Congratulations also go to her coach, John Legend, who won the show as a newbie.
It was a sweet victory at the end of a season fraught with issues, which led to the lowest rated grand finale in The Voice history. First, NBC nixed four Tuesday episodes to make way for Ellen’s Games of Games. In order to begin the live shows roughly within the same time frame–mid-April–producers introduced a new round. The fast-paced Live Cross Battles were fun to watch. But the confusingly reconfigured middle round put decisions into the hands of viewers too soon, which resulted in a lopsided field of contestants.
Fans complain that judges/coaches have their finger on the scale longer than need be. But after this season of The Voice, I disagree. Judges/coaches choosing wildcards serves to keep the field of contestants musically diverse. Sometimes democracy isn’t a good thing, as the results of the Cross Battles–heavily country and male–proved. Also, it took the show TOO long to get to the Top 13. And then when it got there, only three episodes remained, leaving no time for viewers to bond with the contestants.
If it’s necessary for budget reasons to cut back on episodes, producers should consider starting off with fewer singers. A Top 40 instead of a Top 48 perhaps. Go back to the Blinds/Battles/Knockouts/Lives format. Or at the very least, find a way to keep the teams moving forward together longer before allowing viewer votes to break them apart. In the end, there should be at least 4-5 weeks to whittle the Top 12/13 down to the winner.
Speaking of a Top 13, ditch the Comeback Stage, which adds a 13th singer to the field of finalists. Throwing an unprepared singer into the mix at the Top 12 is a dumb idea. In particular, a no-turn singer who hasn’t had the advantage of television exposure is at a distinct disadvantage. It is difficult for a singer unfamiliar to audiences to win an instant-save. This season, producers added battles and cross battle round losers to the competition, which defeated its original purpose of giving no-turn singers a second chance. Of course the vocalist who won–LB Crewe–had lasted the longest on the television show.
Next season, instead of throwing evermore confusing gimmicks at the wall to fix things, NBC should get back to basics. Producers should look to SIMPLIFY the show and concentrate on the things fans love about the show. And while the fans love the relationships between the coaches, they need to keep focus on the artists as well.
Now, do enjoy a gallery of photos from Tuesday’s (May 21) grand finale!