John de Mol, creator of Big Brother, first created The Voice concept with Dutch singer Roel van Velzen. Erland Galjaard, a Dutch program director, asked John de Mol about whether he could come up with a format that went a step further than The X Factor. De Mol then came with the idea of Blind Audition. He wanted to focus on singing quality alone, so the coaches must be top artists in music industry. The rotating chairs concept was invented by Roel van Velzen. It would also be the first talent show in which social media is actively involved.
On September 17, 2010, The Voice of Holland began to air on RTL 4 with Angela Groothuizen, Roel van Velzen, Nick & Simon, and Jeroen van der Boom as the mentor-judges (dubbed as "coaches") of the show. The show proved to be an instant success in the Netherlands.
The format was later sold to different countries, in many cases replacing a previous Endemol music contest format, Operation Triumph / Star Academy.
The show's format features five stages of competition: producers' auditions, blind auditions, battle rounds, knockouts (since 2012), and live performance shows.
Contestants are aspiring singers drawn from public auditions, which are not televised. Unlike Idols and The X Factor, the producers pick fewer contestants (usually from 100 up to 200 contestants), which are deemed "the best artists", to perform in the televised auditions. The first televised stage is the blind auditions, in which the four coaches, all noteworthy recording artists, listen to the contestants in chairs facing away from the stage so as to avoid seeing them. If a coach likes what they hear from that contestant, they press a button to rotate their chairs to signify that they are interested in working with that contestant. If more than one coach presses their button, the contestant chooses the coach he or she wants to work with. The blind auditions end when each coach has a set number of contestants to work with. Coaches will dedicate themselves to developing their singers mentally, musically and in some cases physically, giving them advice, and sharing the secrets of their success.