7:38pm PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice' Recruits Coldplay's Chris Martin as Mentor, Changes Format
NBC's spinning-chair singing competition is shifting once again -- this time, with Chris Martin.
The Voice has recruited the Coldplay frontman as a universal advisor to all four coaches in a rebooted round. For the first time, the remaining contestants will again be paired off to perform the same song in a sudden-death match, beginning March 31.
The stage replaces the knockout round that had two singers each performing a song of their choice, which had been an early indicator to mentors of a contestant's ability to plan their own show-stopping performance, as well as how well a singer can handle sudden pressure, as they were matched up on the spot. Still, in the new battle rounds, each coach will be allowed one steal.
Martin is set to appear on the March 31, April 1 and April 7 episodes, according to USA Today. He is the latest big name to lend his expertise to The Voice -- current guest mentors are Miranda Lambert, Aloe Blacc, Jill Scott and The Band Perry, while Ryan Tedder signed on as in-house songwriter last year. Martin was also one of the leading names to replace Keith Urban on The Voice Australia, after the country singer went stateside to join American Idol's panel of judges.
The battles reboot seems to be season's shift in the show format, as season five introduced the Twitter #InstantSave that lets Twitter users save a singer from elimination each week; season four introduced new coaches Usher and Shakira to rotate in for Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera; and season three introduced the now-defunct knockout round.
The latest change was almost mentioned weeks ago by executive producer Mark Burnett, host Carson Daly and mentor Usher at a special Voice screening in New York City. The three teased that something new may be happening within the format this season. (Usher asked if they could talk about it; Burnett and Daly said no).
"Every season, we do reserve the right to look back and say, how do we tweak this show to keep what's important -- authentic music and the highest level on talent -- onscreen, with four of the biggest people in music?" said Daly at the event. "And with that do come some tweaks. There might be some surprises this year."