The Voice is one of those shows that has an extremely liberal approach to the voting format and rules. Like American Idol, X Factor, and America’s Got Talent, there pretty much are no rules set in stone. In essence, the producers can change the format any time they want to and for whatever reason.
In fact, Season 2 is already different than Season 1. In Season 1 of The Voice, there were blind auditions and Battle Rounds that led up to a Top 16. From there, there was a Top 8 and then a Top 4 finale. Teammates competed against each other in a voting and elimination process until there was only one left per team. Then, the final 4, which was comprised of one surviving contestant per team, went against each other.
For Season 2, things have changed up a bit. After the Battle Rounds, there was a top 24, comprised of 6 from each team. The Top 24 is now a Top 16, and The Voice 2, like the first season, will have a Top 8 and a Top 4.
In terms of voting, there is literally no way that a contestant can guarantee a win without judge interference. The top vote getters on each team in the Top 24 and the Top 16 advance automatically to the next round. Thus, if you are the top vote getter on your team, you can guarantee a Top 8 finish.
When it comes to people who do not get the top vote, the rules seem very flexible and change from time to time. It is hard to generalize this part of the rules except to say the judges have a lot of power to save someone or send someone home among those team members who did not get the most votes. For The Voice 2 Top 24, the top 3 vote getters from each team advanced to the Top 16. Then, the bottom 3 sang for their life, with the judge choosing one.
The Top 16 for The Voice 2 has an odd rule. After the 4 team members sing on the performance night, the team’s judge will automatically eliminate one contestant. I don’t like this rule simply because that means all bad news on one night and no good news. If you are going to do that, at least save one contestant and eliminate one on the performance night and have the votes between those two decide who is advancing. That way, the best performance can be credited by the judge immediately, and the voters can decide the other choice for the Top 8 on the next night’s results show.
The voting system used to select the Top 4 arguably gives too much power to the judges. The votes count for 50%, and the judges split up 100 points between their 2 Top 8 contestants. You then add those together to see who advances to the finals. For example, if the judge votes 50 to 50, then the public vote would decide the winner. But if a judge votes 75 to 25 for Contestant A, then Contestant B would need 76 percent of the public vote to win over Contestant A. Here, a judge can completely guarantee his pick for the finals by making it 90 to 10 or something like that for his favored contestant.
But I still have mixed feelings about this The Voice rule. What if an extremely talented contestant with the best voice just isn’t getting public votes? After all, this show is called “The Voice.” More than any other show, it presumably exists to find someone that can move people with the voice, not style, looks, personality, or other factors. In the real world, those things count. But The Voice tries to differentiate itself from other singing contests by showcasing people with good voices. The ability of the judge to choose that finalist is what differentiates it to some degree from other shows and ensures that the best voices at least have a chance to be chosen by the judges.
In the end, the only true power that the voters have is to advance someone to at least the Top 8 and to exclusively pick the winner in the finale. Once the Top 4 finalists are decided, the judges then finally lose all their power, and the public vote determines the winner. For Season 1, this resulted in the favorite, Javier Colon, winning the contest.
The only thing I really don’t like about the rules of The Voice is that the producers change them for ratings or other reasons. I would prefer that they stick with a specific format or at least openly announce the rules at the beginning of the season if there are changes. It has always bugged me that America’s Got Talent never tells you what is going on from week to week, and The Voice should be more straightforward about the rules and voting procedures to keep a sense of fairness about the competition.