There have been moments in recent seasons of The Voice when we felt like maybe it was, if not on its last legs, its next-to-last legs. We still nom-nom-nom’d up the familiar format and coaches’ “bickering” like so much comfort food. And the ratings remained solid. (Season 23 opened on par with Season 22’s premiere.) But, especially after mainstay Adam Levine went all grumpypants and took his leave, the show felt lacking in energy, in oomph.
That all changed Monday when Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan were seated on the coaching panel next to Kelly Clarkson, back after a season off, and the singing contest’s last remaining OG, Blake Shelton. Chance and Niall are articulate, funny and, best of all, passionate.
Yes, the newcomers seem like absolute naturals as they contribute to the coaches’ banter for which the series is as well-known as its red swivel chairs. And yes, their pitches to prospective team members are appealingly enthusiastic and inventive. But what really makes the duo such a shot of adrenaline is the sense that they are genuinely engaged. (Hey, we all love John Legend, but did anybody feel like he gave a s–t in Season 22? Blake freakin’ won, and even he felt like he was on autopilot.)
With The Voice saying goodbye to “the cowboy” when this cycle wraps — dunno if you’ve heard it’s his last season, it’s so rarely mentioned on air — many a viewer has suggested that the swivel chairs are bound for storage, that the series can’t possibly continue, not without its GOAT. We beg to differ. Chance and Niall have breathed new life into a long-running program that had gone stale. They have, in essence, remixed a song we’ve heard a zillion times and made it sound fresh again. So not only can the show go on, it must.
What do you think? Answer in the comments.