Over the weekend, NBC announced singers Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys will join “The Voice” as coaches for this fall’s Season 11, replacing Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera. Cyrus and Keys will team up with Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, whose bromance has been going strong since the first season back in 2011.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) March 26, 2016
The network confirmed the news late Friday night — usually the time when Hollywood executives fire off press releases they would like to bury. However, in this case, TheWrap broke the news a few hours earlier and NBC was likely getting bombarded by requests for confirmation. Plus, this casting could mean great things for the show, still one of the most-watched programs on television…though ratings have slipped just enough that it’s evidently time to make some changes.
“The Voice” judges frequently rotate in and out (Pharrell could be back for another season, though no word on Aguilera) but the Cyrus-Keys pairing in particular could actually shake up the show.
First, it means an even judging panel. For the last 10 seasons, the show has only featured one woman per season as a coach/judge: They’re in charge of sitting in the giant spinning chair during blind auditions; choosing a team of hopeful singers; and then mentoring them in hopes they’ll be crowned the winner. Aguilera, Shakira and Gwen Stefani have all taken their turns, but never at the same time.
Now Cyrus and Keys (who have previously served as an adviser and mentor on the show, respectively) will team up to offer much different perspective than Shelton and Levine, the only coaches who have never taken a hiatus from the show. As an added bonus, the two newbies will bring a fresh dynamic for those bored of the frequently-victorious boys club. A female coach’s singer has never won “The Voice”: Shelton’s singers won four of the last 10 seasons, and Levine has three victories under his belt.
Meanwhile, “The Voice” has a winning formula for a solid show, but after 10 seasons, it can get stale. While the show’s Monday and Tuesday episodes are among the most-watched of the week on broadcast TV, the key 18-to-49 demographic shows signs of decrease. TheWrap reports that Mondays (with 12.5 million same-day viewers this week) have dropped 10 percent in the demo from last season; and Tuesdays (with 11.1 million viewers this week) are down 15 percent in the demo.
If her MTV VMAs appearances are any indication, Cyrus — the youngest judge in “Voice” history — loves to go rogue and pull stunts on camera. “The Voice” switches over to live shows about halfway through the season, so that’s quite the added incentive for viewers to tune in to see whatever crazy thing she might do or say. And given that Cyrus boasts a fiercely loyal — and extremely young — audience, that’s just the outcome NBC should hope will happen.