Is the reality TV competition “The Voice” faked?
That’s the question fans are asking after stunning details surfaced about the 32-page legal document contestants are forced to sign.
According to reports detailing the contract, the singers can be booted at any time, and producers can manipulate the show’s outcome by ignoring votes that fans spent their hard-earned money to cast!
“Based on these reports, if I was a fan of ‘The Voice,’ I would be very upset by this,” Manhattan-based celebrity attorney Raoul Felder told The ENQUIRER. “The network is playing not just the contestants, but the audience too.”
And Steve Gordon, an attorney with more than 20 years’ experience in the entertainment industry and author of “The Future of the Music Business,” told The ENQUIRER: “If this is true, it’s outrageous!”
In another cruel twist, “The Voice” contract seems to indicate that producers can paint contestants in an unflattering light.
By signing the contract, a competitor on the hit NBC show agrees to be depicted in a way that “may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing (and) may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation.”
Producers could also order contestants to undergo medical or psychological testing and, under certain circumstances, air the results.
What’s more, a contestant who leaks details of the contract could be slapped with a lawsuit, with producers seeking damages of up to $1 million! Incredibly, hard-nosed contracts like this are not unusual in reality TV, claimed one attorney familiar with such deals.
“The producers and the networks hold all the cards,” explained the source. “They can pretty much portray the contestants any way they want.”
“The Voice” contract is similar to the one used by “American Idol” producers, sources say. But it’s the possibility that “The Voice” producers could influence or alter the voting that’s really hit a sour note.
On “The Voice,” contestants mentored by music superstars Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira rack up votes, among other ways, based on how many times viewers pay to download their songs on iTunes.
But the contract reportedly stipulates that show executives reserve the right to disregard viewers’ votes if there are problems with the voting.
In May 2013, a controversy exploded when fan favorite Judith Hill, a former backup singer for the late Michael Jackson, was eliminated and a large number of text and online votes were tossed out due to what was labeled as “some inconsistencies” by the show’s outside auditing firm, Telescope.
Associates close to “The Voice” insist that producers would never manipulate the outcome of the popular show, which now regularly stomps “Idol” in the ratings.
And a rep for NBC noted: “The integrity of our competition shows, including ‘The Voice,’ is of the utmost importance to NBC. All audience votes on ‘The Voice’ are administered and certified by Telescope.”
Still, the leaked details of the contract have left some in an uproar, and “The Voice” now joins a list of other suspect reality shows.
In 2012, The ENQUIRER reported that ABC’s “The Bachelorette” was rigged, and former “Storage Wars” star Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against A&E claiming that most aspects of his show were faked.
Longtime TV critic Bill Mann summed it up best, telling The ENQUIRER: “ ‘The Voice’ has struck the wrong chord here.”
Mann added that, in his opinion: “It would be no surprise to me that lip-synching and dubbing go on behind the scenes. “But to know that the viewers’ votes may not count? That’s a real slap in the face to fans. It appears it’s the producers’ votes that REALLY matter.”