It turns out that controversies over counting votes aren’t limited to political elections.
"The Voice" host Carson Daly kicked off Wednesday’s live episode by bringing out a representative from Telescope, the organization that handles the vote-counting process for a number of reality TV competitions, including this one.
The gesture wasn’t just to offer the firm some product placement and exposure on national television. In fact, Telescope had observed inconsistencies with this week's texting and online voting for the singing competition.
It brought to mind a snafu that “American Idol” went through in its fourth season, when the show displayed the wrong voting phone numbers for some of the contestants. That caused “Idol” to re-air the performances the following night and push the results show back another day.
“The Voice” went in a different direction. All votes that came in online or via text were tossed out. Carson assured viewers not to worry, however, because it didn’t affect the results themselves.
This leads to some questions: If the results weren’t affected, why not count all the votes, or simply filter out the suspicious ones? Will this glitch be fixed by next week? If someone voted the maximum number of times by text message and doesn’t have an unlimited plan, can they get their money back?
On another level, it shouldn’t be surprising that this was a problem, because “The Voice” is about singing, not math. And this was also true of the coaches.
Each entered the night with four acts remaining. Each knew that the two highest vote-getters on their team advance to the next round, and they’d have to pick one of the remaining two to go home. That’s not exactly a list of infinite possibilities. In fact, even assuming every contestant had an equal chance in the live vote, each coach had only six possible combinations of singers to consider.
Even so, three of the four coaches said they had never considered the possibility that the two nervous acts hoping for their reprieve would ever be up there together.
It seems it didn't occur to Blake Shelton that Holly Tucker and Danielle Bradbery would be voted through, and that he'd have to choose between the Swon Brothers and Justin Rivers.
And Ushe knew that Michelle Chamuel was a lock to be a fan favorite. That left him with just Vedo, Josiah Hawley and Cathia to worry about. But he seemed so convinced fans wouldn’t like Vedo that the Josiah-Cathia pairing was something he apparently hadn't considered.
Then there was Adam Levine, who's been part of the show since the beginning. He knows how this works. Judith Hill closed Monday’s show, which always means big votes. Amber Carrington has been great all year. Yet the Maroon 5 crooner struggled to decide between saving Sarah Simmons and Caroline Glasser as the credits started to roll, and finally opted to give one more chance to the former.
At least Shakira didn’t claim to be surprised that Garrett Gardner and Karina Iglesias were her bottom two, though she agonized and agonized before eliminating Karina.
After all that angst, only Karina, Cathia, Justin and Caroline were kicked to the curb. The remaining 12 acts come back next week, when hopefully all the votes will count.