Along with the addition of Kelly Clarkson to the coaching panel, season 14 of “The Voice” will introduce a block button and a save option to increase the competition factor.
“We haven’t ever really had a defensive move or an offensive-defensive move, so we came up with the block,” executive producer Audrey Morrissey says. “It really sort of speaks to the real competition.”
The block button prevents a coach from adding a new artist to their team. The coaches this season, veterans Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as well as rookie Clarkson and season 12 winner Alicia Keys, can only use their block buttons on one artist for the entire first round of the competition. When a coach hits the block button with the name of the other three coaches, the coach who hit it automatically turns around. The “blocked” coach only discovers they are blocked if they press their button. If the coach doesn’t press their button, the block is still available for another audition.
“You have to do it based on voice alone, so [we] really kept the sanctity of the blind audition with that,” Morrissey says.
Season 14 of the show will also introduce a save button that will allow a coach to save an artist they just eliminated during the knockout round. However, if another coach presses his or her steal button, the contestant can then decide if they want to go to a new team or return to their former coach.
“The coaches love that because there was jeopardy. People didn’t necessarily go back to the [team] they had been on,” Morrissey says.
While these new competition elements promise to shake up the dynamic between the coaches, so does Clarkson’s presence. Although she previously served as a mentor for Shelton’s team, now she is joining the family full-time.
Chloe Kohanski, who started off as a self-proclaimed “Americana” artist in season 13 but feels she developed a more “’80s iconic rock persona” that led her to win the season, says she has been inspired by careers like Clarkson’s and previous “Voice” coach Jennifer Hudson — which were launched by a singing competition show. (Clarkson won the debut season of “American Idol” on Fox, while Hudson came in seventh during “Idol’s” third season.)
“The mentality of this industry is that you have to shoot for the stars. You want the dream. You want to be a star. You shoot for that. But, there’s so many beautiful places you can land even if you’re not a star. You can sing for a living every day for the rest of your life. That’s pretty beautiful to me,” Kohanski says, noting that the contestants come into the show with talent, but the show provides the all-important exposure.
Kohanski also notes “The Voice” develops important relationships between the contestants and their coaches that extend beyond the season.
“If I felt like I needed advice, or if I felt like I needed a favor, I would not hesitate to text or call [my former coach Blake],” Kohanski says of working on her original music now. “It’s a very real, organic relationship.”
“The Voice” season 14 premieres Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Watch a preview of “The Voice” season 14 below.