The Voice is the latest major entertainment show to produce its live shows remotely as a result of the COVID-19 production shutdown. But the NBC talent competition, which gets back in action Monday between 8-10 PM, will also have a studio component for its return – albeit one with a number of safety protocols.
Contestants will be whittled down over six episodes including the two-night finale – ending May 19 – with Carson Daly hosting the live rounds from a soundstage without a live audience in front of the iconic red chairs. Deadline understands that the network and producers have brought in a set of best-practice safety protocols to allow some staff to return to the studio.
The Voice will be recorded across two soundstages at Universal Studios with around 30 crew, compared to the normal 450. Each employee will have their temperature tested twice during the day and receive two separate bracelets to show that they are healthy. They will be required to wear masks with filters on the stages replaced and craft services reinvented to ensure safety.
The massive undertaking is one of the first examples of a major studio returning to some level of normality, and comes after ABC’s American Idol began airing its live shows remotely Sunday.
Separately on The Voice, the four coaches will record remotely from their homes; Kelly Clarkson will broadcast from her ranch in Montana, Blake Shelton from his home in Oklahoma, and Nick Jonas and John Legend from their respective homes in Los Angeles.
For the Monday performance episodes, the interactions between the coaches, artists and host will be recorded live-to-tape, and artist performances will be pre-taped. Viewers will vote for their favorite performances Monday via the overnight vote. On the Tuesday results shows, the artists will learn live whether they will compete for the Instant Save. There will also be the chance for viewers to vote in real-time Tuesday night to determine which artist will advance to the Top 9 from the Instant Save.
The May 4 show will open with a performance by James Taylor, this season’s “mega-mentor,” and then he will perform with the remaining artists he mentored during the Knockout Rounds. Then, Daly will reveal which of the four artists competing in the first-ever Four-Way Knockout was voted through by viewers, and the artist will earn a spot in the Top 17 with their original team. The Top 17 artists will perform in front of the coaches and America for their chance at a spot in the Top 9.
On Tuesday, May 5, four artists, one from each team, will be revealed as safe by America’s votes. Each coach then selects an additional artist to move forward. The artist with the next highest overnight votes from each team will compete in the Wildcard Instant Save for the last spot in the Top 9.
To help with recording, the contestants received production kits with state-of-the-art camera and audio equipment to capture their performances and leading up to the performance show the coaches held remote mentoring sessions with their artists to plan song selection, vocals and arrangements.
The series will then air May 11-12, with the semifinal round before the live finale performances on May 18 and the live finale results May 19.
The Voice is produced by MGM Television, Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television and ITV Studios. The series was created by John de Mol, who serves as an executive producer along with Mark Burnett, Audrey Morrissey, Amanda Zucker, Kyra Thompson and Adam H. Sher.
“Reinventing the live shows has allowed us to create innovative ways to bring The Voice to life in a fresh and intimate way,” Morrissey said. “It has been an incredible team effort with the coaches, artists and their loved ones being involved in the process. With Carson at the helm from the stage, we are excited to share a unique Voice experience that will feel both new and familiar.”
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