March 25, 2013 7:00am PT by Rebecca Ford
'The Voice': 7 Things to Know About Season 4
Season four of The Voice will welcome two new coaches to the spinning red chairs. Shakira and Usher will be taking the places of Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, and that’s not the only big change coming to NBC’s hit reality show.
Season four also will feature a baby-to-be. After Shakira joined the show, she announced that she was pregnant with her first child, so while taping the blind auditions and the battle rounds, the Colombian singer was very much pregnant. She’s since had her child, but it’s very clear that her maternal instincts will be in play throughout the season.
The Hollywood Reporter attended a taping of the blind auditions to see the new coaches in action. While we can’t say much until the show airs, we can say that the new group continues to have a lot of fun together. Usher and Shakira are taking their duties very seriously, though.
“I do the best I can to turn [the contestants] into the best versions of themselves, and they are giving the best they have to offer,” Shakira says.
Here are seven things to know about the new season of The Voice:
1. The Format Will Remain the Same
While the previous seasons all have included format changes, the fourth season will have the same format as season three, says producer Mark Burnett. This includes the blind auditions, the battle round, the knockout round and the live shows.
2. The Coaches Perform the Opening Number Together
The four new coaches get together to perform a number together to open the premiere episode. And each of them plays an instrument (because, in case anyone forgot, the producers would like to remind you one more time that all their coaches are working musicians). Adam Levine plays the drums, Blake Shelton and Usher strum guitars, and Shakira plays ... the harmonica.
3. Shakira Is 'Ready to Bust Some Heads'
Levine says that new coach Shakira is extremely competitive -- and might have been even more so because she was with child while a lot of the show was filming. “You have a pregnant, hormonal Colombian,” he tells reporters. “She's ready to bust some heads. She ain't messing around.”
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4. There’s Even More Competition Between the Coaches
Shelton says that adding the two new personalities has increased the competition level among the coaches. “You know, Cee Lo was always just so laid back anyway,” says Shelton. “So we've replaced Cee Lo with somebody that's just that much more aggressive,” he adds, referring to Usher.
5. Usher Is Super-Serious
Of the four coaches, Usher is probably the most serious while judging. During blind auditions, he stays relatively quiet compared to the other three. He says that his serious take on the competition will continue throughout. “I think my style is just like more military than anything because I'm all about the preparation,” he says. “But my style is to make them understand the seriousness of the craft and that they have the very best opportunity to be the greatest or the worst, you know, depending on how you take it.”
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6. Shakira’s Maternal Instincts Are in Play
The only female coach, Shakira says she’s been very attached to her team members from the beginning, which means she’s been dreading the battle and knockout rounds. “I don't know if [it's] because I'm pregnant or what, but I've got maternal instincts, and I feel like they are somehow my kids,” she says. “So I know when the battle rounds come, it's going to be really tough for me and one of the most difficult moments to face in this whole experience.”
7. There Will Be Tears
The first episode of the season is an emotional one, with the contestants’ backstories being more powerful than ever before. They’ll talk about the obstacles they’ve overcome to get to the audition and the terrible losses some of them have suffered. So bring some tissues. It’s a tearjerker.
Season four of The Voice premieres at 8 p.m. Monday on NBC.
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford