The hit vocal competition show The Voice returned to NBC this season with the strongest singers from across the country. And the chair-spinning celebrity coaches/ judges, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera have been as entertaining as the contestants, as they offer advice and encouragement for their teams of singers. That’s what makes the show a huge success for the Peacock network.
Now, as the season finale (May 8) draws near, Cee Lo and Blake, along with host-producer Carson Daly, and executive producer Mark Burnett, sat down to talk about the wild ride the show has been.
A lot was said about Blake barely making up his mind about his choice to advance in the competition as credits rolled last week. “It was one of those tough situations,” he said, “Erin [Willet] had the better performance. RaeLynn is a country artist and I felt maybe I could help her a little bit more. But in the sing-off she just got out-sang. There was a lot of pressure on me to choose.” Carson kept prodding Blake with “I need a name. I need a name,” seconds before the end. “Live shows create that kind of real exciting drama that everybody’s talking about,” Carson said.
Cee Lo loves the show’s format and revealed that he judges his team of singers on “what is possible. Some contestants show they have this infinite possibility about them. I like the optimistic approach of the show, providing possibilities. That’s my philosophy in being part of the show. So I hope that the contestants share the same winning, positive, optimistic attitude.”
When Blake and Cee Lo were asked how they’d do on the show if they competed, Blake jumped in to praise his rapping new friend. “I think that Cee Lo would thrive on a show like this because he’s so versatile, a triple threat, so he’d dominate. I’m a one trick pony,” the country superstar said modestly, before Cee Lo defended his good old buddy saying “Blake can sing anything.”
Sometimes the coaches have clashed as their teams battle against each other. Carson noted an example of when Blake and Christina had words with each other and were “really going at it. But it’s like fighting with your family. At the end of the day you’re still family and you support each other.”
Producer Burnett is proud of the talent he has assembled and said, “All of the coaches are amazing world-class singers, at the top of their game. That’s why they are on The Voice. And these guys have nothing to prove, they’re all superstars.” He explained that it’s that “authentic chemistry” between them that create the dynamics that make the show work. “You can tell. The camera catches an authenticity in people’s faces. The hardest part for the show is juggling their tour schedules with taping schedules. It’s a nightmare for a producer.”
Celebrity Apprentice, Survivor, Shark Tank, and Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?, are among the highly successful shows produced by Mark Burnett. But The Voice is special to him because he explained, “I really wanted to work on a hit music show. I love music. Who would have thought two years ago saying we’d all be working on the number one show on Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC? You’d think we were high. That’s a fact. It’s something great. We’re number one, with cool music, and we all get along.”
During a past interview with Burnett, he told me the key to a successful reality show is “making shows that involve storytelling. There isn’t much difference between my storytelling and a major feature film. We involve emotions. And with some of my other shows we have heroes and villains. I try to make every episode like I’m making a hundred million dollar film. That’s the effort I make. I owe that to the viewers.”
The next couple of live performance shows leading up to the grand finale for The Voice should get very emotional. The final phase of the competition will have the top artist from each team perform, and viewers will vote for the winner. The grand prize is a recording contract and a chance at a dream coming true.