‘The Voice’ Season 16 Knockout Rounds Are Canceled & Replaced With Live Cross Battles

Knockout Round The Voice

Getty Julian King and Denton Arnell face off during the "Battle Rounds."

Season 16 of The Voice is underway and as the Battle rounds come to an end, fans of the show may be surprised to find that the Knockouts are not the contestants’ next phase of the competition. There will be no Knockout rounds this year.

Tonight is the third night of Battles; the episode description reads “The battles continue as the coaches enlist music industry powerhouses Charlie Puth, Kelsea Ballerini, Brooks & Dunn and Khalid to prepare their artists for dueling duets; winners of the duets will move on to the next round.” Tomorrow, the Battle rounds will conclude, so that the next phase of competition can pick up next Monday.

On the schedule for next week, where the Knockouts would normally begin, are the new “Live Cross Battles.” The description for night one of the Live Cross simply reads “The artists take the stage in front of the coaches as they compete for the opportunity to advance in the competition.”

In past seasons, the Knockouts were a 3-week portion of the competition. The Knockouts pit teammates against one another while giving them the freedom to choose their own songs and perform individually (whereas the Battles have both singers perform the same song in a direct face-off). Also unique to the Knockout rounds is that they come with one advisor to offer support to all coaches and team members, and each coach is given one steal and one save to use on contestants eliminated during the round.

While the show is teasing the upcoming twist as a big surprise, GoldDerby.com points out that Live Cross Battles have already been done in many international versions of The Voice including Brazil, China, and Greece; Holland was the first to implement this change for seasons 4-5 of their iteration of the competition. Using these countries as examples, GoldDerby.com says that “the Cross Battles invite two artists from different teams to duke it out on live TV with the at-home audience voting their favorites into the Finals.”

MJsBigBlog.com reported that the The Voice‘s phone app for season 16 acknowledges the change from Knockout rounds to Live Cross Battles. In the “How to Play” section of the app, they instruct participants that “During the Blind Auditions, Battles and live Cross Battles you can add remove or swap artists by tapping the Your Team section found under the menu in the upper corner of your app screen. Your Team will consist of 12 artists for the Blind Auditions and Battles. On Wednesday April 10th at 12 p.m. PT your team size will be reduced to a total of 8 artists. After the live Cross Battles and Top 24 results, on Wednesday May 1st at 12 p.m. PT, your team size will be further reduced to 3 total artists for the remainder of the season.” To download the app and play along with the season, click here.

The inclusion of these Cross Battles, starting April 15 and 16, means that live shows will begin earlier this year than in previous seasons; GoldDerby.com suggests that they’ve likely chosen to implement the new twist this year because the celebrity mentors (Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, and newcomer John Legend) are able to accommodate live episodes earlier in their schedules. It also means that, after the Live Cross Battles are complete, the mentors and their teams should be heading right into the finals.

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