'The Voice' Format Change: New 'Steal' Option, Knockout Round to Up the Drama in Season 3
'The Voice' Format Change: New 'Steal' Option, Knockout Round to Up the Drama in Season 3
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Voice executive producer Mark Burnett had coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, along with a slew of reporters, out to his Malibu estate on Sunday to discuss the upcoming third season of the NBC singing competition, which premieres September 10. And the coaches revealed more than just their excitement for the next round of vocal rivalry. To up the ante, and the drama, The Voice season 3 will see a couple major format changes, including the ability for the mentors to "steal" each other's team members during the battle rounds.

After the mentors spend time swiveling in their big red chairs and collecting team members during blind auditions, the contest moves on to "Battle Rounds," when the mentors pit their contestants against each other in a one stays/one goes musical battle to the death. This season, to "reignite the energy of the chair," if a coach opts to send home a contestant during the battle round, the other coaches have the ability to push their button and "Steal" the losing contestant by adding the singer to his/her team. If more than one coach hits their big red buzzer, same as in the blind audition round, the singer will choose the coach they want to join. Each coach will possess two opportunities to "Steal," raising their team from eight to ten contestants.

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"There's nothing that's more nervewracking than knowing, 'Okay, both these singers did really good and I gotta pick one and I know damn good and well one of these other three are gonna steal the person I don't pick,'" said Blake Shelton. "There's a chance that person may go on and win this and that's gonna make me look really stupid. That definitely goes on in your mind. As an artist and somebody on television I have enough of an ego that I don't want to look that stupid. I want to look brilliant."

Of course, this added chance for redemption means that some singers will be forced to endure the pain of elimination twice.

It may happen when none of the other coaches push their buttons to save the loser. Ouch.

Or it could happen during the new "Knockout Round," which will happen after the new-and-improved Battle Rounds. In the Knockout Round, instead of singing an antagonistic duet, the mentor's team members will be pitted against each other in back-to-back solos. Again, each coach will pick one contestant to stay and one to eliminate, taking each of their teams from ten members to five.

Burnett likened the format changes to a fantasy football league, hoping the Voice audience would cheer for a team, rather than just different individuals.

The Auditions, Battle Rounds and Knockout Rounds will all be pre-recorded episodes. The show has already begun filming on what the coaches called "the best season yet." Only after the Knockout Round will The Voice move to live episodes.

It's no secret that The Voice has big competition this season, in the form of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joining season 2 of Simon Cowell's The X Factor. Christina Aguilera told reporters what she thought about her fellow former Mouseketeer/90s teen pop queen joining FOX's singing competition: "I welcome her to this family of fun and entertainment and finding new talent. Britney is a pro. I don't know what she's going to offer specifically herself as a coach, but I know she's a pro, and she's gonna give, I think, great advice."

The coaches will once again perform an opening medley of iconic tunes to kick off the season -- and it sounds like Adam Levine will be able to put his "Moves Like Jagger" to good use. (It's the Rolling Stones.)

What remains to be seen is whether these format changes will help The Voice with its biggest unrealized goal to date: Launching a legitimate star. Though Burnett and the coaches claim they're not worried about that. "We would love to see a star born," said Levine, "however we're not hinging the relevance of the show on that."

(Image courtesy of NBC)