Tag Archives: The Voice

‘The Voice’ Stars Not Out to Rip Anyone, Even the Competition

Interesting, the jockeying for position among singing competition shows before the kickoff of the 2012-2013 season.  While Simon Cowell has been teasing his new “X Factor” judges by letting the world know Britney Spears has turned out to be Quite Mean, NBC’s “The Voice” team made a point of stressing that they have no desire to be mean — or negative at all.

“We’re not interested in being on a show where we rip people.  That was a common theme,” said Adam Levine, who turned out to talk to press about the show at producer Mark Burnett’s posh Malibu home the other day, along with his fellow “The Voice” music superstar coaches — Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton, as well as host Carson Daly.

“And it proved something.  The blind auditions replaced the need to find terrible singers and rip them,” added Burnett, referring to the early audition rounds full of non-talents and scathing critiques so familiar to “American Idol” audiences.

“I really have been averse to it,” Levine went on.  “I personally have never experienced a positive feeling — I don’t like to see that.  It looks like someone getting bullied and it makes me sad, it really does.  I don’t like to watch.” 

His fellow coaches – remember, on “The Voice,” they’re more into coaching than judging –agreed.

Aguilera even had kind words for Britney, who, of course, she’s been getting sized up against since their “Mickey Mouse Club” days together. 

 “I know she’s a pro and she’s going to give, I think, great advice,” said the pop star, resplendent with blond and lavender hair for the panel.  “I don’t know the format of the other shows.  I just know the format of the show I’m on. But I welcome these very talented women.  Especially in my genre of pop, the media gets in there to pit us against one another and women against women, this and that, and you know, I’m just not down for that at this point in my life.  I have no patience for it, so I’m like, come on, the more the merrier.  She’ll have fun with it.”

Considering the fact that this year, “X Factor” will be going toe to toe with “The Voice” – “The Voice” launches Sept. 10 and “X Factor” two days later — Aguilera is likely going to find comparisons impossible to avoid.  (“American Idol” returns mid-season.)

The wide-ranging talk, accompanied by the sounds of surf and sea birds near the beachside grounds of Burnett’s home, also covered the topic of celebrity mentors.

Green talked about reaching out to artists with whom he has personal relationships and friendships, like Prince and Rob Thomas, to work with his up-and-comers.  Levine has Mary J. Blige.  Aguilera has Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.

Armstrong wasn’t a friend, she said, when she went after him to be a mentor for her team.  But they did have mutual respect.  With his “punk, badass” persona, “He brings a whole different energy and different advice than I would give from a female pop star perspective.  He comes from a completely different world and kind of puts a whole new spin on everything,” she observed.

Blake Shelton’s bringing in Michael Buble.  Their paths have converged a surprising number of times, considering they, too, are from different musical worlds.  Shelton noted that he had a country hit with a Buble song, then they worked together on a David Foster special, and a Shelton Christmas album.  “We’ve become friends – as close friends as you can be when he lives in Vancouver, and I live in Oklahoma,” Shelton said.  When it came time to adding a new mentor for “The Voice,” “I thought, ‘This is a no-brainer.”

The joking, teasing, competitive camaraderie between the coaches that is one of “The Voice’s” greatest assets was also on display. Talking about their crammed schedules, Burnett noted that Shelton had been juggling tour dates, and in fact had just made a whirlwind trip back and forth to Washington. 

“Is that what Blake told you?  You guys are so gullible.  Tour!” cracked Levine – who was, himself, leaving for South America tour dates the next morning.  The show’s social media maven, Christina Milian, noted that the four singers can do dead-on imitations of one another.

Daly noted that we’ll see more of Green, Aguilera, Levine and Shelton performing this coming season, “because that’s what they do.” 

But what about “The Voice” come spring?  Burnett admits that the “matrix of tour dates of these artists is a producer’s nightmare” in terms of scheduling.  “We’re all talking, all the time.”

“I want to do it,” said Green.

“We all want this to work,” said Levine.

But there is a chance that the current foursome might help bring in substitutes for themselves to fill in.  “The good news is we’re all friends; we’re all openly talking about it all the time,” said Burnett, who stressed that he and his team knew what they were signing up for when they became involved with touring musical stars at the top of their game.  “This is really like family.” 

Simon Cowell’s ‘X Factor’ Will Compete in Different TV Landscape Than Anticipated

Simon Cowell

When Simon Cowell announced his intention to depart “American Idol” at the beginning of last year, the move was applauded as shrewd.   Now, maybe not so much.

The show was looking weary indeed after all the Paula Abdul drama, and he was off to fresh pastures before it completely jumped the shark, it was believed.  His U.S. version of “X Factor” might be just the thing to fill the void if and when “Idol” went kaput.

“X Factor” is different from “Idol,” as he explained to press during that January’s Television Critics Association tour, because it has no age limit and can be solo or group singers — and each judge takes a group of contestants under their wing and mentors them in everything from styling and choreography to song choice. “So essentially the judge is judged as well as the singer.”

How different the picture looks now, even as “X Factor” auditons are taking place across the land and new show announcements are flying.

“American Idol” has been revitalized by charismatic, stardust streaming Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who work with Randy Jackson as an excellent team.  (That was one of our New Year’s predictions, by the way.)

And NBC’s “The Voice” has come along, preceded by a promotional campaign that looked like an experiment in whether it’s possible to beat audiences into submission with relentless, repetitious hype.

Of course, we all know that “The Voice” is different from “American Idol” because they have neat swiveling chairs with big red panic buttons, and each judge takes a group of contestants under their wing and mentors them.  So essentially the judge is judged as well as the singer.   Hm.   Sound familiar?

Interesting that Simon has recently been saying he’s keeping details of the new “X Factor” under wraps because other producers “watch you and copy you and you see your show on other people’s shows.”

Yes, that’s a problem — no doubt going even further back than “Pop Star” producer Simon Fuller’s 2005 U.K. suit claiming “X Factor” was a copy of his show.

“The Voice”so far has posted  numbers promising a big hit for NBC.  And let’s not forget, the peacock network also has “America’s Got Talent,” produced by none other than Simon Cowell, coming back May 31 and auditions are going on for that show as well.

So, what will all this do to “X Factor” by the time it’s finally unveiled in the fall on Fox, with cohosts Corbin Bleu and Nicole Sherzinger and judges Cowell, L.A. Reid, Cheryl Cole and (?!) Paula Abdul?  Dare we say it?  You be the judge.