'The Voice' 101--About the hit NBC Singing Competition

The Voice Judges Adam, Usher, Blake, Shakira

What is 'The Voice'?:

The Voice is a reality singing competition on NBC. Based on the Dutch talent show, The Voice of Holland, the U.S. version originally premiered April 26, 2011, and quickly became a hit.

Several aspects set The Voice apart from other singing competitions, like American Idol:

  • The auditions are blind. The Voice judges don't see contestants during auditions, so they aren't influenced by the contestant's attractiveness, body size or sense of style.
  • The judges are singers. The Voice judges aren't producers or other music executives (like they are on many similar shows). Instead, they are famous recording artists who represent a range of musical genres.
  • The judges vote. Although viewer voters have the final say, The Voice's judges get a vote too.
  • Judges are also coaches. Okay, X Factor also has judges "mentor" their own groups of singers, but, because of the voting system on The Voice, each of the judges sends one of their contestants to the finale.
  • No results show. Until the semifinals, there is no separate result show.

How Does 'The Voice' Work?:

The Voice features three stages of competition:

  1. Blind audition: During The Voice's auditions, rotating chairs prevent judges from seeing the contestants, so their decisions are based solely on the singer's voice and not their looks. If one of the judges likes a contender's voice, he or she pushes a button to select them. This causes the coach's chair to swivel so the contestant can see who selected them. If more than one judge selects a singer, the contestant gets to choose which judge they want to work with. Each judge creates a team and coaches their chosen singers.
  2. Battle Rounds: During the battle rounds the contestants are coached by judges and mentored by additional recording artists, known as "advisers." The battles pit two of a judge's singers against each other. They must sing the same song together in front of a studio audience. Then the judges choose which of their own singers must go home.
  3. Steal: With the third season, The Voice introduced the "steal." During the battle rounds, each coach now has two "steals," which allows one judge to pick up another judge's eliminated contestants. (If more than one coach wants the same singer, he or she gets the final decision.)
  4. Knockout Round: Also added in Season Three, the "knockout round," is a new stage of the competition in which the teams are narrowed down even further. The Knockout Round was eliminated in Season Six when viewers instead had the opportunity to see the second Battle Rounds.
  5. Live Playoffs: The remaining members of each judge's roster continue on to stage shows where team members compete against each other by performing live for the judge's panel and viewer votes. The final four singers continue on to the finale.
  6. Viewer Votes: Viewers traditionally get the opportunity to save one contestant from each team, while the remaining field is narrowed by the judges. TV viewers get their first chance to vote during the Playoff Round, but the timing of when fans get that privilege has changed over time. In Season Three, viewers began voting during the Top 24, In Season Four it dropped to the Top 16, Season Five it went up to the Top 20 and then, in Season Six, it dropped back to the Top 12.
  7. The Finale: Each judge is left with one final contestant and these four perform during the finale. Viewer voting determines which of the final four will be named the winner.

What Does the Winner of 'The Voice' Win?:

The singers of The Voice compete for the chance to win $100,000 and a record deal with the Universal Republic.

Who Are 'The Voice' Judges/Coaches?:

The judges--who also act as coaches and mentors--are all superstars in their own music genres. Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green served as judges the first three season, then alternated with Shakira and Usher.

  • Adam Levine: As the lead singer/songwriter of Maroon 5, Adam Levine has been nominated for seven (and won three) Grammys, for songs like the band's 2011 duo with Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger."
  • Blake Shelton: The country singer Blake Shelton has won a CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year, had three CDs in the top 10, headlined a sold-out tour and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Shelton was also nominated for two Grammys: Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Album.
  • : Best known for the songs "Crazy" and "Forget You," the former Gnarls Barkley band-mate, Cee Lo Green was a judge on Season One through Three.
  • Christina Aguilera: The actress, singer, and former teen idol Christina Aquilera was a judge on the first three seasons of The Voice.
  • Shakira: The highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, Shakira has over 70 million albums sold worldwide.
  • Usher: One of the most successful musicians of the 2000s, R&B star Usher also launched Justin Beiber's career.

Who Hosts 'The Voice'?:

Carson Daly is the host of The Voice. Daly, a former MTV VJ is also the host of NBC's late-night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly.

Who Are 'The Voice' Advisers?:

During the battle round of The Voice, mentors advise the singing contestants. These advisers differ each year but are always well-known musicians. For example, in the second season, advisers included music legend Lionel Richie, alum Kelly Clarkson and Alanis Morissette.

Who Produces 'The Voice'?:

Presented by Talpa Productions and Warner Horizon Television, The Voice was created by John de Mol, who executive produces the U.S. version with Mark Burnett and Audrey Morrissey.

When Does 'The Voice' Air?:

The Voice airs on NBC, Monday nights 8/7PM Central.