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'The Voice's' Cee Lo Green on the New Format, Addition of 'The Steal'

"It's pretty difficult to have to encourage someone, and then take it away from them in a matter of days," the coach of NBC's singing competition tells THR.

CeeLo Green Purrfect the Cat - H 2012
NBC

On Sept. 10, Cee Lo Green will be returning for his third season as one of the four coaches on NBC’s The Voice. The funky singer with the eccentric style and infamous white cat tells The Hollywood Reporter that contestants “have their game faces on” this season, as the show introduces some new changes to their format. In the battle round, the four coaches – Green, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton – will have the opportunity to steal a contestant from another team if he or she loses the battle round.

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Additionally, a new round, called the “knockout” will take place before the live shows to cut all the teams down from 10 contestants to five.

Green spoke to THR about the upcoming season, the new twists and what he thought of his Sesame Street character.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Adam Levine said that he was apprehensive before signing on to join the show before season one. Were you the same way?

Cee Lo Green: We were friends prior and we talked. He was like, "Yo, are you going to do this? Because if you’re not going to do it, I’m not going to do it." And then Blake called us and was like, "Hey, my name’s Blake Shelton," and we were like, "Who are you?" [Laughs.]

THR: What did you think about the steal idea when you first heard about it?

Green: I thought it was going to become even more awkward and uncomfortable for the artists – and for us. Because it’s pretty difficult to have to encourage someone, and then take it away from them in a matter of days. It seems so unfair. But you know what? The steals actually became a silverlining and sustained something very special about the show in general – that optimism that if offers. That second and third opportunity for some, which is great. People get five or six chances on the show.

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THR: Why do you think the chemistry between the four coaches is better than ever this year?

Green: I think it’s just lived in. We do realize that it’s a legacy that we’re leaving and it’s history that we’re making. It’s a labor of love and we love it. We’re not obligated to be here.

THR: Have you seen the Sesame Street clip parodying The Voice?

Green: I have.

THR: What did you think of your character? You’re blue.

Green: I’m blue. And thought quite naturally I would be red. I dropped the cat in it. I don’t want the animal right society to get after me.

THR: Did you notice Adam Levine isn’t in it?

Green: I don’t know what that was about, because that was the same question I had. I guess they couldn’t fine a puppet pretty enough. [Laughs.]

The Voice premieres Monday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. on NBC.