Why 'The Voice' Needs to Change the iTunes Top 10 Voting Rule
Why 'The Voice' Needs to Change the iTunes Top 10 Voting Rule
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
For season 3 The Voice added some new voting rules that seem to have had quite an impact. Not only does the show count iTunes downloads as votes, but if an artist lands in the Top 10 of iTunes by the end of the voting period, that artist's iTunes votes get multiplied by 10.

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If that sounds like a huge advantage going to people who are already ahead (like if Michael Phelps got a 2-second head start at the Olympics), that's because it is. And it's entirely possible this x10 Rule is affecting the outcome of The Voice.

The show doesn't release its numbers or rankings, so it's impossible to know for sure, but this week's results show certainly raised some questions. Four of the six artists made the Top 10 on iTunes and got their votes multiplied by 10. And those four singers were the ones who made the final 4.

Results Recap: Final 4 Revealed>>

That left Team Adam's Melanie Martinez and Amanda Brown on the losing end, both getting eliminated and ending Adam Levine's shot at a second Voice title.

Whether or not the iTunes x10 votes actually affected the outcome here (which I believe they did), the new system still seems heavily flawed and in need of a change for The Voice season 4.

I understand the show's rationale. By giving more weight to iTunes votes, it encourages viewers to buy the singles, which not only helps them out financially, but also helps to determine whether or not an artist would be a profitable professional singer.

For instance, since this new rule took effect during the Top 10 week, all four of Cassadee Pope's singles have reached the Top 10 on iTunes. Every song she does becomes a hit. If that doesn't set off bells and whistles in the producers' ears about who they want to win, nothing will. In addition, Nicholas David now has two straight weeks of being in the Top 10.

This week is particularly unusual because each singer performed twice. On iTunes, both of the songs from Melanie Martinez cracked the Top 20, but neither made the Top 10. Meanwhile, Trevin Hunte had one song that barely made the Top 10 while his second song was the least-downloaded single from the week. So even though it's possible Melanie had MORE total iTunes downloads, Trevin received the added bonus of multiplying his votes by 10 because his one single did slightly better. That actually hurts the intended purpose of this rule, because Melanie might be more profitable than Trevin, yet he gets rewarded and she doesn't.

This is where the disparity comes in. If the producers truly want to reward iTunes downloads as a way to drive sales, then they should do it fairly and evenly. Perhaps ALL iTunes downloads could be multiplied by five, thus laying an even playing field for all singers, but still incentivizing fans to download the songs because those votes count for more than other forms of voting.

This solution would still benefit the bottom line, but would prevent situations where one singer lands at #10 and another lands at #11, yet the first singer gets their votes multiplied by 10 and the second singer doesn't.

Basing the decision on the Top 10 list seems arbitrary. Why not Top 20? Or 25? Or just Top 5? And what about topping genre-specific charts as opposed to just the overall chart?

The elimination of Melanie and Amanda seems to confirm my suspicions all season that the x10 Rule for iTunes votes has an unusually large amount of power and influence. A single rule placing extra weight on some votes and not others unfairly benefits singers who happened to pass some randomly selected line.

We live in a democracy and our votes should be counted fairly. I'm not saying one download should count as one vote, but all votes that are cast should be weighted equally to other votes being cast. Instead, the producers decide after voting is over whether to increase one total. That would be like saying that, during the presidential election, if one candidate earns more than 60 percent of the vote in a state then that state's electoral votes should be doubled.

My download vote should count the same as someone else's download vote, regardless of what the final outcome is. That's just the fair way to do it.

What do you think? Should The Voice get rid of the x10 Rule for iTunes votes? Or is The Voice voting system fine the way it is?


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(Image courtesy of NBC)

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