It was a big elimination night on NBC’s hottest show, but instead of relying on viewer votes from the night before to determine which two contestants would get the boot, as it always does, the show instead identified the bottom three “artists,” then turned their fates over to viewers with Twitter accounts -- a sizable group that suddenly had all the power over everyone else.
“We’re doing something that’s never been done!” “Voice” host Carson Daly declared at the top of the show. “After we announce all of your saved artists we will reveal the three singers with the lowest number of votes that are in danger of going home. Then you’ll have one last chance to save an artist using Twitter!”
Later in the show Carson said, “When I give you the signal you’ll be able to save one of those bottom three artists,” adding: “You’ll have just five minutes to tweet!”
Daly went on to explain that re-tweeting was permissible and that instant saves would be limited to one vote per artist per Twitter ID.
In a terrific boost for the social media company less than a week after its initial public offering, Daly added: “You still have time to sign up for Twitter. If you don’t have an account, go get one!”
It should come as no surprise that according to today’s Twitter TV Ratings from Nielsen, “The Voice” last night was far and away the most tweeted-about program on television. Two and a half million distinct accounts viewed at least one of the 595,000 “Voice”-related tweets generated during the hour.
During the Sprint Skybox segment -- in which Daly stands on a platform above the audience with the Sprint logo displayed behind him -- viewers saw a tweet that read, “@NBCTheVoice Signing up Mom for Twitter so she can vote. #VoiceSave tonight is hilarious and endearing! #LoveIsLove.”
As Daly promised, in five exhilarating minutes at the very end of the show Twitter users were urged to tweet using the hashtag #VoiceSave to identify the singer they wanted to continue in the competition. The other two would suffer the painful eliminations that keep these shows moving along. Spoiler alert (for those who somehow don’t know): In the next paragraph I am going to reveal the name of the singer who was saved by the Twitterati.
The lucky recipient of the Twitter save was Kat Robichaud. Jonny Gray and Josh Logan were sent packing. I guess we’ll never know if Kat would have gone home (and which of the guys would have stayed) if the show had stuck to its usual rules.
If I weren’t on Twitter I would say something here like: “It’s Twitter’s world. The rest of us just live in it.” But I am (@PlanetEd) so I can’t.
There is no denying that the addition of Twitter to its process brought a new energy to “The Voice,” even if it is the only big broadcast competition series at the moment that is not in need of any such assistance. And there’s no telling how viewers who aren’t on Twitter but do engage in the show’s voting process felt about being marginalized, if only for a night. Regardless, after what I saw last night on “The Voice” I can’t imagine Fox’s “American Idol” not finding ways to further incorporate social media into its voting process when it returns in January. (“Idol,” after all, was the first big broadcast show to embrace viewer interactivity in a live format when it debuted in 2002.) I wonder if ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (with its older audience) will go there, too.
I’m happy to note that those annoying on-screen tweets that often compromise the home viewer’s enjoyment of “The Voice” and other live shows were confined to a brief segment with Daly in the Sprint Skybox, where they weren’t very annoying at all.