For the first time Tuesday night, social-media-happy fans of The Voice will have the power to save a contestant in the live eliminations with the “Instant Save.”
Voting via Twitter, you can prevent one of the bottom three singers from going home. Here’s how it works: During the live broadcast, host Carson Daly will give a signal for viewers to start casting their votes. For five minutes only, you can save your artists by tweeting their official keyword (which is their first name) with hashtag #VoiceSave. According to the official rules on the NBC website, retweeting someone else’s already-composed tweet counts as a vote, but only one tweet per Twitter ID will count. The singer with the most tweet-votes remains, and the other two will go home.
Here’s Carson Daly explaining how the Twitter save works:
But there are a few caveats. Only viewers in Eastern and Central time zones will be able to see Carson’s signal to start tweeting. Viewers in Mountain and Pacific time zones, due to the broadcast delay, won’t be able to watch for Carson’s cue, but instead will have to follow @NBCTheVoice on Twitter to know when to start voting.
“People have a last chance to realize, ‘I love that person. I don’t want them to go home,'” Paul Telegdy, president of NBC’s Alternative and Late Night Programming told USA Today. “That kind of last chance to save a favorite is something the audience has been telling us they want, so we’re giving it to them.”
But is it? It seems like folks in Mountain and Pacific time zones will be at a slight disadvantage, forced to glue their eyes to their Twitter feeds in lieu of getting to watch the show live, not to mention exposing themselves to spoilers. Secondly, during the live show, will the broadcast transform from an orderly, congenial set into a social-media auction block of headless chickens? “We imagine there will be a frenzy of campaigning that will take place,” Telegdy also USA Today. Singing competitions, as a rule, are already a popularity game, but with such narrow voting constraints, could singers with bigger Twitter followings have an unfair advantage? For instance, Tessanne Chin, already a star in her native Jamaica, has nearly 75,000 followers. Matthew Schuler, who as of press time cracked the iTunes Top 10 songs (and is thus eligible to have his count multiplied by five) has about 25,000 followers, while Josh Logan has just south of 10,000 followers.
What about the potential for voting error? USA Today reported that the show will solely rely on Twitter to keep track of the tweet-votes. Sure, it’s only a five-minute window of voting, but this is live television and the stakes are high. Rival singing competition show The X Factor flubbed when the wrong voting numbers were shown on the East Coast broadcast just last week.
Interestingly, a closer look at the official rules reveals that harried Twitter users need not fear spelling mistakes. When tweeting their artist’s name, NBC lists four “acceptable alternate spelling variations” for each artist. For example, you can misspell Caroline Pennell as “Carolyn,” “Carolin,” “Karoline,” and “Carolyne,” and your vote will still count.
Viewers can use the Twitter save for tonight, as well as the Nov. 19, Nov. 26, and Dec. 3 eliminations. What do you think of this new option, Voice fans? Does it give certain viewers and certain singers an unfair advantage? Does it add an exciting or annoying aspect to the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The Voice airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.