NBC’s The Voice has strict contracts that make contestants sign away their dignities if they want the chance to participate. They are so one-sided that contestants are not allowed to sue the network, but the network can sue them.
The news comes after a copy of the contracts was leaked to New York Daily News. It takes 32 pages to cover everything that any hopeful contestant will need to go through, and some of the necessities are “dehumanizing” according to the publication that has shared the leak. The publication even asked a legal expert to weigh-in on the subject, who deemed that the whole thing was a way for NBC to say “f–k you” to anybody hoping that they will be picked by one of the coaches.
To make it even worse, the public will now find out just how much their votes are taken into account. According to the contract, the network does not even need to take the votes into account. It can choose the singer it feels deserves to win—or more likely will make it the most money. That could explain why there was the controversy last season when Judith Hill was “voted out” of the competition. By knowing the contract terms, it really does beg the question over whether the network and producers took any votes into consideration at all.
The wording in the document states that NBC has the right to “remove or replace” a contestant at its own discretion and at any time.
However, there are clauses in The Voice contracts that almost make contestants sign their dignities away. One of those clauses is that contestants can be forced to undergo psychological and medical testing throughout the show. Why contestants would need to go through any of this should really be answered, but the network is refusing to comment in detail.
Carson Daly did admit to the public that some votes had not been counted last year. The online and text votes had been left out from the rankings, but it did not affect the outcome. It makes it hard to believe when the contract says that the producers and network can simply ignore the votes anyway.
It is not the first time that controversy has happened on talent shows. American Idol was hit with controversial voting in four different seasons. The United Kingdom has also seen controversial results on its talent shows, including the result that saw Will Young be crowned the first Pop Idol winner instead of the stuttering favorite, Gareth Gates.
Another legal expert was brought in and defended the network’s actions. The contract is there to protect the network and The Voice’s producers from being sued some time in the future. This has happened in the past on other reality shows, so harsh wording is standard. The expert notes that the wording is actually a smart thing for NBC to do.
One part of the contract that is worrying is the fact that the network can make the contestants look embarrassing and expose them “to humiliation.” Is it really worth the chance of winning The Voice when the contracts make contestants sign their dignities away?
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham