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The Voice NBC

After a night of recapping the road traveled so far, The Voice will return to NBC with its live rounds Monday, May 4. It's not news that would be noteworthy in a standard season, but in a nation disrupted by TV production halts, live television content that isn't news is rare these days. Yet the singing competition will press forward to give audiences just that, but is it the right decision to make?

At the time of writing, The Voice won't return to its studio, and instead continue the competition with coaches and contestants at home. It's a strategy that American Idol implemented with its season just a couple days ago, and by many metrics, it was a success. Of course, the Idol team decided to drop its live aspect for its Top 20 round, opting instead to pre-tape performances and judge critiques.

Admittedly, the end result wasn't perfect, but American Idol sidestepped a litany of problems that could happen to The Voice when it goes live for its next round. Audiences know anything can happen live, and now NBC will have the feeds up while trying to juggle what's happening on the individual feeds of contestants and coaches competing at home. There's no telling what could be said, or how the production team will react should technical difficulties strike any one of the contestants.

The latter is a particularly big problem, because The Voice runs a tight ship when it's live. Even in an ideal episode, Carson Daly is routinely hurrying along coaches so the show can go into commercial or that the episode ends on time. Should a competitor's camera suddenly go out mid-performance or lag, there's likely not going to be a chance for them to get a do-over.

With that said The Voice has been running for a long time, and while plans for how the live episodes will unfold have yet to be revealed by NBC, there have likely been many discussions on how to pull it off. America's Got Talent, for example, does live episodes with some dangerous or stunt-heavy acts pre-recorded. Those episodes are still presented as live and have live bits, so perhaps this is a tactic The Voice will utilize.

I would hope so, because personally, I think the risk is far greater than the reward for The Voice going live for the rest of Season 18. A bad stream or dropped connection could result in a contestant's elimination which wouldn't have happened in a normal season. That's not entirely fair, though many would argue The Voice is never fair all the time.

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