By: Courtney Vaudreuil
NBC’s juggernaut singing competition show, THE VOICE, has finished its blind auditions and is heading into the battle round. In anticipation of this main event, R&B superstar and judge CeeLo Green, along with host Carson Daly, sat down to discuss the season so far and what we can expect to see in the weeks ahead, including the new twist that allows judges to steal competitors from other teams. They also touched upon the reason why THE VOICE is coming out on top over other singing competition shows.
In the blind auditions, CeeLo, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine, had to convince coveted contestants why they should choose one judge over another. Blake reminded contestants countless times that he won the last season, Adam professed his love, Christina promised to take them to the next level, and CeeLo coolly admired their performances from behind his white-rimmed glasses. Frequently, the judges would end up laughing at each other’s attempts to come out on top.
“I do believe that we are – essentially we’re a team, you know, and I believe that there’s enough variety to distinguish us,” CeeLo explains. Though he admits, “Well, you know, we do have those moments and those moments are encouraged, that we – that we compete and stand up and shout and we celebrate that opportunity to be part of someone’s vision, someone’s career.”
After the blind auditions, each judge has a team of sixteen potential superstars. The contestants move into the battle round, where two singers on the same team go head to head and the team’s leader must decide who stays and who goes. Carson describes the battle round as “like Gladiator.” This season, however, a new twist comes into play – the steal. This game changer lets judges pick up the cast-off competitor and give them a second chance.
“It surprises, actually, on the good side,” Carson weighs in. “I think, like Fantasy Football, The Steal enables all of the coaches to be incentivized, to keep their eye on all of the teams, all the contestants, which is great ultimately for all the contestants, because our coaches care about all of them, not just their team.”
CeeLo sees similar advantages to the steal: “[I]t’s like great, now I get a chance to work with someone and I thought, initially, that I could do a better job with them anyway.”
The steal is in keeping with THE VOICE’s goal to entertain the audience with talented performers, and not put people on a stage for the purpose of tearing them down. Carson credits the success of THE VOICE with this approach, “It was never born out of counter-production.” To the contrary, he explains, “We had four of the greatest names in music who had an earnest attempt to help people and not make fun of them, in the hands of Mark Burnett, and at a network that gave it a serious commitment.”
This belief in the strength of the show allows The Voice to focus on its own path. “[S]ure, we read and hear about the other shows and the things that are happening more recently,” Carson explains, “but never does it enter – you know, we don’t look over our shoulders and produce this show based on what’s happening elsewhere.” This confidence may be what led THE VOICE to being the only Emmy-nominated singing competition this year – knocking AMERICAN IDOL off the stage.
The audience can expect some spectacular performances, and appearances by guests Mary J. Blige, Rob Thomas, Michael Bublé, and Billie Joe Armstrong. “[Y]ou’re witnessing, really, a success story that takes a lot of moving parts to go right, and we’re proud of what we do,” says Carson.
The battle begins Monday, October 8th on THE VOICE at 8/7c on NBC (CTV Two in Canada)