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People Are Growing Bored with ‘The Voice’

Jason Ginsburg

Jason Ginsburg


I recently had the pleasure of heading into New York’s Times Square to ask people about their thoughts on talent shows, particularly The Voice. I spoke to people from all over the country, and the world, including a range of ages and backgrounds. To my surprise, for the simple question, “Do you watch The Voice?” the resounding answer was, “No.”

More specifically, people weren’t watching this season of the show. They knew The Voice, and had watched it in the past, but had given up on it either early in this season or even several years ago.

Why? Reasons varied, from preferring America’s Got Talent or The X Factor (“I like to watch dancing”) to simply becoming bored with the concept (“They all sound alike after a while”). One group of young women told me they tune out when Jennifer Hudson’s team is eliminated — which just happened this week.

This reflects a broader trend of the show losing viewers. After hitting almost 15 million viewers for the Season 5 premiere in 2013, the show has declined in ratings virtually every season since then, with this season’s premiere at only 10.6 million. The big finishes fared even worse: Season 4’s finale, in which Danielle Bradberry beat Michelle Chamuel, brought in 15.6 million viewers, but Season 12’s finale (Chris Blue over Lauren Duski), generated only 9.4 million — a drop of 40%.


Another big factor became apparent when I asked fans who their favorite contestant was over the entire run of the show. Hardly anyone could do it. No names came to their minds.

American Idol launched Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks to super-stardom. Even the losers are hugely popular, from Clay Aiken to Chris Daughtry to Katharine McPhee to Jennifer Hudson herself. By contrast, The Voice winners don’t seem to have that staying power. Who is the biggest star from the show’s 12 seasons? Danielle Bradberry? Sundance Head? I wouldn’t place them anywhere near the same category as the Idol stars.

Is the trend reversible? For Season 14, premiering in the spring, Alicia Keys and first-time coach Kelly Clarkson will replace Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson. Other than that, the producers don’t appear to have any plans to change the show’s format. Adam and Blake will still playfully argue. Kelly will probably be unfailingly nice to even the worst singers. Alicia will offer good advice, since she’s the most multi-talented of all the judges (an opinion I will defend vigorously).


What we’re left with is a show with a dozen seasons without a breakout star or even a breakout judge like Simon Cowell, with declining ratings, and no changes in sight. In 2018, if I asked you, “Do you watch The Voice?,” what will you say?

Do you think the The Voice can be saved? How would you improve the show for Season 14? New format, new judges, more duets, different kinds of performances? Let’s work together to keep this fun talent competition strong.

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