On Tuesday, NBC announced a handful of changes to The Voice, confirmed the return of the hotly contested Twitter save, and revealed that Coldplay frontman Chris Martin will join the show as another guest mentor. As the network once again shakes up its biggest hit, we're here to give you the breakdown of each change and what impact it may have on Season 6.
1. Chris Martin will be the "key advisor" for the next phase of competition.
The Coldplay singer's (pictured above) addition follows the appointment of OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, who was named the show's in-house songwriter and producer in Season 5. Tedder co-wrote "Tumbling Down," the first single for Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin.
It's not the first time The Voice has brought on additional celebrities for spot starts; every squad but Adam Levine's team were granted additional advisors for the Top 10 round in Season 3. Taylor Swift also visited to help out Michelle Chamuel in Season 4, though that wasn't a pre-planned "get" for the show - Swift just happened to be nearby.
2. Instead of the knockouts, you'll be seeing another set of battle rounds.
Officially called "The Battles: Round Two," this newfangled part of the show will re-match the artists on each team who survived the currently airing first battle rounds. According to NBC's description, artists who are paired together will be performing "an agreed-upon song." Whether that's between the artists, or the artists and their coach, we don't know.
This differs from the knockout rounds, in that during knockouts, matched-up artists each performed individually, and with songs of their choosing. It'll be a disappointment if the artists don't retain at least some measure of song selection - the choices they make in knockouts have often clued us in to the kind of singers that they want to be.
What stays the same is that each of the four coaches will have one last steal in this part of the competition.
"Round two" begins in two weeks, on Monday, March 31, and will whittle the Top 32 down to the Top 20 (four battle winners plus one stolen artist per team). This part of the competition presumably lasts three weeks, as live shows begin on Monday, April 21st and usually start with the Top 20.
3. Yes, unfortunately, the Twitter Instant Save is back for Season 6 - and it's now more complicated.
The most contested part of last season will return for Season 6, with an additional part. Now, the bottom three artists will have to perform again for your Twitter vote during each live results show. According to NBC, "These artists will each perform a new song that represents why they should earn the save."
Whether that's all three artists singing the same selection, or three different performances is not specified. What we do know is it sounds kind of like the "last chance" performances we saw in Season 2 - except now, it's the public voting rather than the coaches deciding who to keep. At least this will mean less filler in the results shows?
So what does this all mean for The Voice?
It all amounts to more changes for a series that adds new developments every season. The return of the Twitter Instant Save will likely upset many viewers, and understandably so. It's a wrinkle that favors the viewers who are able to see the show live on the East Coast, forcing audience members in other time zones to spoil the results show for themselves if they want to participate. Having the bottom three artists perform for that Twitter save probably won't ease the annoyance about it existing in the first place, but it will add more contestant content to the results shows, which sometimes get overrun by guest performances.
Whether the new "round two" of battles is a good idea, we honestly don't yet know enough to judge. It's a different way to get to the same end result - the Top 20. But if this takes away the artists' ability to choose their own song - even if it's just having to take into account the opinion of a teammate - it will definitely remove something from the show. Their getting to select their own track says something about them as an artist, and the knockout round is the one time they're guaranteed to have that ability. Oftentimes we see their coaches allow that in live shows, but that's not for sure.
As for the addition of Martin? We'll see once he starts coaching if it's a good idea or just another celebrity cameo. Some guests have been great advisors, like Tedder when he worked with Team Adam in Season 4, or Jill Scott and Aloe Blacc this season, just to name two examples. Others, not so much. As long as The Voice doesn't keep so many known names hanging around that the focus is taken off the contenders, we should hopefully be okay.
What do you think of these new changes? Are you excited or are you cringing? And do you like the constant changes to The Voice or would you prefer a show that stays relatively the same between seasons? Sound off in the comments.
The Voice continues Season 6 Monday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.