Will too many rules broken on The Voice damage authenticity?

A “cheating” scandal will lead to many viewers talking about last night’s episode of The Voice, but the latest step away from ground rules is not good for the credibility of the show.

This year’s Voice has been full of rule-bending and format changes that may be short-term gain for long-term pain.

Last night rapper Denzel abandoned a Childish Gambino song This is America for his an original composition, after coach Kelly Rowland said the performer needed to be authentic to who he is. But in a dismissal of the show’s authenticity she said, “rules were made to be broken.”

But Boy George was having none of it, leading to a tense row.

“It’s kind of naughty,” he told Rowland.

“What about the other people? If you’ve got an original song you want to throw down?”

“When it comes to hip hop specifically … you can’t rap somebody else’s feelings … it doesn’t make any sense” Rowland insisted.

When Guy Sebastian called for more original music on TV, Delta Goodrem interjected.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “I am all for original music, don’t get me wrong… but there is about 40 other people in this competition who would kill to sing their original. So why should we just say Denzel can do it?”

“We’re trying to look for an even playing field,” said Boy George.

“Everyone’s been like breaking the rules this year!” he added. “I’m sorry. Everyone.”

On social media last night he weighed in again.

Amongst the other curious moments during the run were:

  • Kelly Rowland saving one eliminated artist by creating a duo
  • Delta Goodrem pressing her save button a second time after her first save contestant chose Guy Sebastian.
  • Kelly Rowland also chose a singer who forgot the words
  • The “world first” creation of All-Stars and inclusion of a former Australia’s Got Talent champion

The show has previously accommodated singers outside conventions with  ‘looper’ Sam Perry winning last year and a contestant entered a few days shy of his 15th birthday, which was the minimum age in 2018.

The Voice this year has uncovered some top singers, and Guy Sebastian has been a welcome addition. All of these things, along with the odd controversy lead to healthy ratings in its 8th season on air.

But continued side-stepping of basic format rules is a risky proposition and Nine should rein it in if it doesn’t want to damage the brand.


  1. I remember the first season where Fatai and Mitchell (yes I cheated, completely forgot who they were) sang an amazing battle. My family and I were yelling at the TV for Seal to keep both and merge them as a duo.
    Insane it’s taken 7 years for the Execs at Nine to have the same idea…

  2. chivasssimo

    Losing its authenticity assumes it has any to lose in the first place? As has been pointed out on TVT many times, the format of The Voice Does not champion the “talent”. It’s just a promotional vehicle for the judges

  3. Look, I suspect the coaches have predetermined who they want to have go through the knockouts, that’s why a poor performance wins.

    Boy George needed to attack the producers for allowing rules to be ignored.

  4. Last night created an uneven playing field. The judges have given some awful song choices to many of their contestants. Yet the artists that ultimately get through have had songs given to them that are ideal for them. That has been bad enough. But last night, a contestant was able to sing his own song and ultimately went through as a result. So unfair. I suspect in many cases, the judges have made their decisions even before they perform. It all feels a bit contrived and I wish the judges had less say in the whole process.

    • daveinprogress

      Whilst I agree with George taking a stand, he is hardly breaking new ground with his team 5 out of his 6 I think are All Stars. So much for level playing field.

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