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It’s back to business on The Voice.
NBC’s singing competition series trotted out coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, as well as host/producer Carson Daly, on Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour, touting the reunion of the original coaches for season five. Blake Shelton was readying for a concert as part of his “Ten Times Crazier” tour in Noblesville, Ind., that evening.
Shakira and Usher filled in for Aguilera and Green during the spring season; they will return to the red chairs for season six.
“I needed a moment to step away,” Aguilera said of her decision to return this fall after departing for a cycle. “Thank god for Shakira. She did a beautiful job.”
Green was more candid about his feelings seeing Usher in “his” red chair. “It was awkward and intriguing at the same time,” he said. “It was a bit of an out-of-body experience.”
Levine also addressed his controversial “I hate this country” remark that cameras caught in a May episode after two of his contestants were eliminated from the competition. The Maroon 5 frontman issued a statement saying that that comment was “made purely out of frustration.” After the moment drew attention, Levine tweeted definitions for the words “joke,” “humorless,” “lighthearted” and “misunderstand.”
Those four words and the controversy surrounding it would resurface during The Voice‘s Q&A portion. “Ugh, really?” a bearded Levine said when a reporter asked about his comment, clearly annoyed.
“Everyone makes mistakes. If your intentions are good and someone misunderstands you, regardless of what the scenario is, I think people can see through stupid media hype. No offense,” he said. “I think that as long as you allow yourself to be who you are, you can’t really defend every single thing you say, and you can’t worry about saying the wrong thing, you just have to say what you’re going to say and stand behind it.”
Daly piggybacked off Levine’s response, calling Levine’s candid moment “refreshing,” and Aguilera assured that the show “is not scripted.” Known for memorable sound bites and sarcastic quips, Levine said, “It’s part of my personality to say things that piss people off.”
The difficulties of launching a brand new music star were not lost on the panelists, who fielded questions about why The Voice has yet to produce an artist with a successful career after several seasons.
“It would be really nice if we were to launch a new star,” Levine said. “A lot of things have to happen in order for that to take place. The goal of the show is to do what we can do with these amazing singers while they’re on the show to get somebody into the front to win the show. We all know that the lightning in a bottle that you have to capture in order to be successful in the business is extremely difficult.”
While producing the next big thing in music may be a mandate for other similar singing competition shows, the panelists believe The Voice provides a platform and opportunity. “I don’t know if that’s the overall mission statement of the show,” Levine said, with Daly chiming in: “It’s not.”
Added Levine: “The fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it’s a shortcoming of the show. it just seems like something that hasn’t happened yet.”
Daly offered insight into the introduction of new twists to the format, like the steal, which he highlighted as an example of something the producers would incorporate into the show if the ratings dropped off or they felt could rejuvenate a season. “We’ll reserve that right for the future,” Daly said of the decision to tweak the format.
The Voice received its second Emmy nomination for outstanding reality competition program, the second straight year Fox rival American Idol failed to be nominated.
The Voice premieres Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
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