“The Voice” made a big change in Season 16 by eliminating the Knockout rounds and trying out a new format known as the live Cross Battles. These two stages couldn’t have been more different from each other, with the Knockouts featuring two artists facing off from the same team and their coach deciding the winner, and the Cross Battles pitting two singers against each other from different teams and America picking the champ. We asked our readers to give us their thoughts on the new format and a whopping 79% voted that they think the Cross Battles were a “disaster,” while 21% said that they “loved” it.
I happen to disagree with the 79% majority. I thought that the live Cross Battles were a fun change of pace that required the four coaches — Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Adam Levine — to have much more of a strategic mindset. In the past they could pair up one of their strong artists against a weaker one and then advance the stronger one to the Finals, but this time around they had to really consider each choice. For example, if a rival coach puts forth a front-runner, then the responding coach should be willing to sacrifice a pawn instead of trying to answer the battle with someone of equal talent.
Letting America pipe in with its thoughts was also a good decision, since they’re the ones that will ultimately pick a winner. In the past America didn’t get to vote until the Top 24, but thanks to the live Cross Battles voters had their say earlier than ever at the Top 32. Sure, I didn’t agree with America’s choices 100% of the time — LB Crew and Julian King should have never been sent home so early — but that’s nothing new when it comes to reality TV voters.
One suggestion I would offer to “The Voice” producers for next season would be that the four coaches should only use their Saves and Steals at the conclusion of the two-week round. That way Kelly, Blake, John and Adam would be able to properly size up all of the at-risk artists from both weeks before making their big decisions. Why? Because if the coaches had until the end of the Cross Battles to choose whom to Save and Steal, they wouldn’t have to risk wasting a power early on only to regret it later if someone even better was eliminated.
Let us know what YOU thought of the live Cross Battles by sounding off down in the comments section below the poll results. Do you agree with the majority that this round was a “disaster,” or did you love it so much that you hope it returns for Season 17?