'The Voice' Instant Save Doesn't Protect the Best Artist in the Competition
'The Voice' Instant Save Doesn't Protect the Best Artist in the Competition
Derek Stauffer
Derek Stauffer
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
There's a problem plaguing The Voice. It's not a new issue but it's definitely an insidious one as it has been bothering the show since the start and it undermines one of the core tenets of the competition. To put it simply, The Voice's Instant Save does not work. It routinely rewards the artist who has the best last-second performance, not the one who might be the best overall.


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In truth there's a lot of strangeness surrounding The Voice's Instant Save, particularly with the voting. Twitter users are the only ones who can participate and it relies almost solely on one half of the country where The Voice airs live. This means that only a fraction of the voting and watching public is determining who is saved. But besides that, The Voice's Instant Save relies too much on the performance the bottom two artists give in the moment rather than their track record so far. 

This has been very clear in season 13 so far, as Adam Cunningham has ended up in the bottom twice on The Voice season 13 and twice he has eliminated his competition with the Instant Save. This isn't because Adam was (or is) a better singer than Jon Mero or Janice Freeman. It's simply because Adam gave the better Instant Save performance than either one of the artists he was up against. 

Jon Mero's spirit was seemingly crushed by ending up in the bottom and he gave a half-hearted performance. Meanwhile Janice (who was wracked with emotion) gambled in trying to perform Sia and it didn't work out in her favor. So, Adam's completely adequate performance ended up looking better by comparison and that's just not fair or even right. 


This problem isn't unique to Adam either. In past seasons similar middle-of-the-pack artists have routinely ended up in the bottom and have been routinely saved. They have never improved overall, they just end up being better for the Instant Save and protect themselves with a last-ditch effort. 

One of the most infamous examples was in season 9 with Team Gwen's Korin Bukowski. Korin landed in the bottom three times and despite never showing any improvement in the live shows, she survived two out of those three times with Instant Save performances. It's true that Korin didn't eliminate anyone that would've won but she still shouldn't have survived so long. In the following season, Daniel Passino and Nick Hagelin had similar histories but they each only made two Bottom Two trips before being eliminated. 

The Instant Save should exist to help artists who have talent but need help. They were either given a bad song choice or just made an unfortunate mistake in the live shows. Instead the Instant Save is based solely on gut reactions and in-the-moment performances. These are definitely elements of being a professional artist but only a small part. 

The Voice spends so much time talking about the craft and preparation for performance. It seems so odd then that contestants' life in the competition is determined by such a brief moment. There's no easy solution but it's easy to see that the Instant Save is far from perfect. 

But what do you think? Is there a problem with the Instant Save? Do you think Adam was a better singer than Janice and Jon? How do you think The Voice should change Instant Save or should they even bother? 

The Voice season 13 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Voice Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of NBC)