The Voice finale proves the show needs to mix up its formulaic approach
The respective winners of The Voice in seasons 8 and 9 are very different, but they do share one thing in common: Both were obvious front-runners the moment they took the stage during the blind auditions. And while both deserved to win, they were so far ahead of the competition that fans felt a bit let down after the respective finales.
It was long evident that Smith deserved to win The Voice. He was rarely anything other than flawless during the entirety of Season 9, and that certainly cannot be said for the other members of the top four. But if Smith deserved the top spot, why are fans of the show left feeling so incomplete? A few feel that the drama that normally keeps the competition interesting has been entirely lacking this past year. People have been more interested in seeing Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani's romance unfold than they have been in watching Smith and his fellow contestants duke it out with their remarkable voices.
Not only was the show's eventual winner obvious from the beginning of the season, most people figured out pretty early on that Emily Ann Roberts was destined to take a distant second place. The exact same thing happened last season, except Meghan Linsey was the distant second to obvious champion Sawyer Fredericks. During both finales, people were so sure of the identities of the eventual winner and runner-up, they didn't feel the need to even tune in.
The predictability of the winners is just one of many issues with a show that, while still more entertaining than recent seasons of American Idol, is beginning to feel a bit formulaic. It is easy to predict the winner long before the finale, and it's always a guarantee that Blake Shelton and Adam Levine will bicker — only to make up and resume their on-again, off-again bromance.
Perhaps the real problem isn't The Voice itself, but the general singing competition formula, which involves little-known singers covering big hits. Even with the addition of competing coaches, it's impossible to deny that people have largely tired of the usual approach to reality television singing competitions. Unfortunately, the shows that diverge from the tried-and-true formula are often far less successful than The Voice.
Hopefully, The Voice will find a way to keep things fresh. Eventually, even if a few of the judges are rotated out, a show of this type is bound to grow stale. It would be unfortunate for a series that props up so many talented singers to become a ratings disaster simply because it can't deliver the drama necessary to keep viewers interested.