"The Voice" is turning to its past winners to help out this season. NBC announced via press release today that four former champions of the show will serve as advisors for next week's knockout rounds - a marked change from recent cycles, where one celebrity has been the knockout mentor for all four teams. It's a very interesting idea, but the choice of alumni might have some fans surprised.
The show's most recent winner, Chloe Kohanski, will come back to advise Blake Shelton's team, and her predecessor Chris Blue will return to work with his former coach Alicia Keys. Season 9 winner Jordan Smith returns to collaborate with Adam Levine, while Kelly Clarkson will get an assist from Season 3 champion Cassadee Pope.
While the idea of having former winners return as mentors is great (and has been used on the show previously in a smaller capacity), fans may question bringing in two artists with relatively limited experience. Kohanski won the show on Dec.19, 2017, while Blue was named the winner on May 23, 2017. They're both less than a year removed from being contestants, so they have knowledge about the competition but not much about the music business beyond that. So fans have to ask what they want out of the advisors: is their function solely to help contestants win "The Voice" or to help them improve with an eye toward more than just the show?
Smith and Pope have more experience, particularly the latter as she's become a successful country music artist who was nominated for a Grammy Award last year. They've been out in the music world for a while now and can help shape the contestants beyond the immediate future, and as someone who completely changed her musical style over the course of her season and turned that into one of the most high-profile careers of any "Voice" winner, Pope can speak to just about anything a contestant may want to know.
All four of the chosen mentors are also under contract with various imprints of Universal Music Group, the company associated with "The Voice," so it may have been easier to arrange their returns than others. And ultimately, it's a great thing to see any "Voice" alumni being brought back onto the show, as they deserve all the exposure they can get. But we'll have to see how effective their mentorship is, compared to someone like Clarkson (the knockout mentor from season 13) or Reba McEntire (who twice served as a mentor). One thing's for certain - this latest twist will definitely make the next week of "The Voice" season 14 very interesting!
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. The alumni will appear next Monday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 3.