The Voice Needs to Make This Change in Season 23 — and We Mean Immediately

Brace yourselves, because I’m about to do something that The Voice very rarely does: offer constructive criticism.

By and large, NBC’s long-running sing-off doesn’t change a whole lot from season to season. We get new contestants, of course, often a new coach or two, maybe a new tweak to the rules. But that’s about it — and that’s just the way that we like it, right? It allows us to devour the show like it was so many servings of reliable comfort food.

There is, however, one element of the format that desperately needs alteration — and I doubt I’m alone in thinking so: The coaches have got to start being allowed to offer constructive criticism to their teams.

We all understand, obviously, that the coaches want to hype their recruits and build them up in the eyes of the audience. But we don’t need a shelf full of Grammys to know when a performance has gone awry. So it just comes off as disingenuous when the coaches praise to the high heavens singing that wasn’t exactly music to our ears.

Mind you, I’m not saying that they should be brutal in their honesty. I — don’t we all? — like that The Voice is a pleasant, positive sorta show. But it is possible to be pleasant, positive and helpfully frank. It does the contestants no good to be told that what was OK was a KO, and honestly, it makes it harder to respect the pros when they treat a performance that was off like it was off-the-charts amazing.

Ahead of Season 23’s premiere on Monday, March 6 — with Kelly Clarkson returning and Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan taking seats on the panel for Blake Shelton’s farewell run — sound off in the comments. Couldn’t the coaches stand to be a little lot more candid? Do you think they ever will be?

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