The Voice 4 Preview: The New Panel Talks Finding a Superstar and More

Pop stars, Shakira and Usher are filling in for The Voice coaches, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera on the 4th season of the popular NBC competitive singing show. The 4 coaches, including Adam Levine and Blake Shelton recently taped blind auditions, and some members of the press were invited.

At the audition we saw some friendly competition between Usher and Shakira over one contestant, and when Usher bested Levine for another vocalist at the audition, he playfully taunted his fellow judge.

According to Rolling Stone, the coaches, this season “mean business.” Here are some choice quotes from a recent junket featuring all 4 coaches, and show creator, Mark Burnett.

“I would say the competitiveness is up,” Blake said. “We’ve replaced Cee Lo with somebody that’s just that much more aggressive. And Christina was always competitive, [but] now you’ve got four that are just killers up here.”

Reportedly, Shakira is very tough.

“You have a pregnant, hormonal Colombian,” Adam says. “She’s ready to bust some heads. She ain’t messing around.”

Shakira e describes her coaching style as very involved, “Besides being a singer, I’m also a producer and writer. Once I’m in the recording studio, I am so hands-on,” she said. “While I’m coaching my team I tend to focus on the detail. I don’t know if it’s maybe because of the female condition, but men are more focused on the general aspects, and women tend to sort of focus on details a lot. And so when I’m giving directions to my contestants I’m particularly focused on details.”

“She plays the female card quite a bit,” says Adam of Shakira.

“You can’t really compare my style to anybody,” Usher said of his approach to coaching. “My style is more military than anything, because I’m all about the preparation and have always been. I rehearse a million times to be prepared. 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, depending on how you take it.”

And in a rather interesting about face (Watch Adam assert, rather defensively that The Voice doesn’t need superstars to establish its legitimacy) Adam admits that Usher could be key, having mentored Justin Beiber to stardom. “As much as I hate to say this about another coach in the beginning, Usher has done what this show has yet to do,” he says. “You have launched a superstar, and that’s our goal. That’s the show’s goal. That’s something we want to do as an institution.”

“The one thing that I hope is to come into this show and be able to score an incredible entertainer that people will talk about for years and years and track it back,” said Usher. “I am kind of a living example of that. I started on Star Search, and my career kind of launched from there.”

Yup. It doesn’t matter how successful The Voice becomes ratings wise, Idol will always trump them if they continue to be the gold standard for creating successful alums.

Via Rolling Stone

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  • SullyD

    “You have launched a superstar, and that’s our goal. That’s the show’s goal.”

    So the show is not about finding “The Voice” anymore? Color me surprised (not really).

    ETA: I do like Shakira and will watch next season, tho.

  • John S

    Yup. It doesn’t matter how successful The Voice becomes ratings wise, Idol will always trump them if they continue to be the gold standard for creating successful alums.

    I agree, and its laughable that they are finally realizing that they should probably find a star. Took them 4 seasons.

  • Landon Cox

    Won’t Shakira be super pregnant by the time the finals roll around?

  • irockhard

    I think she’s due around the time TV starts airing. She’s about 7 months pregnant now.

  • Kariann Hart

    It seems that The Voice and DWTS are going to be battling it out for ratings again.  However, it might dip into Idol’s fan pool.  There may be a point when the general public is sick of these type of shows.

    As an American Idol fan, I want them to succeed.  They need to have a few possible stars in that TOP 12!

  • getaway1

    Funny thing is that The Voice has never had a WGWG winner. Yet the last 2 winners from Idol both sold Platinum and set records in the process. And it was NBC that aired the Olympics, not Fox. Saying it was a missed opportunity is an understatement.

  • Robert D’Angio

    I love reading these interviews. Last season they were so cocky and now they finally admit that they have yet to find a superstar… Idol had managed to discover Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino all within three years and yet the voice has not managed to produce one singer that has gone to even have a little bit of success. Even Ruben Studdard managed to achieve a hit. This show is all spectacle and about the judges. I’m glad to see that they finally stopped the shit talking, it was beyond obnoxious.

  • irockhard

    So TV wants to produce stars now? OK, here’s how it can be done:

    1. Cast contestants that are marketable. Age matters where this is concerned, Javier Colon and Nicholas David will never be stars, it’s too late, they’re too old. Keep the unmarketable fodder for the battle rounds, but don’t let anyone through to the lives that’s older than 26 or younger than 18.

    2. Make the contestants the stars, not the judges/mentors.

    3. Partner up with a reputable management firm. I hate 19E but they are a big, if not the biggest, reason AI’s alums have been fairing better than TV’s alums.

    4. Partner up with a better record label. I’ve been really unimpressed with Universal Republic so far. Since Idol’s with UMG and XFUS is with Sony, maybe TV should partner up with the 3rd major label group – Warner Music Group.

  • Jordana33

    They filmed the audition, battle and knockout rounds for seasons 4 during the summer. Shakira was in her early months of pregnancy then, so I don’t think she’ll be pregnant when the live rounds start.

  • wingzdoc

    First of all, the comparisons to Idol and The Voice are silly and pointless. Here is why.

    Idol was the ONLY show of it’s kind when it first aired. Therefore, it was a lot easier for America to take in and accept whoever it put out – from Kelly & Carrie to Ruben and Fantasia. The argument that Idol put out more stars than The Voice is insane because Idol has been around since 2001. The Voice? 2011. 

    Does The Voice need a success story? Yes, absolutely. But to compare the two shows on their success stories is almost like comparing apples to oranges. In recent years, Idol has focused way more on its panel, something many Idol fans don’t like The Voice doing. And the inclusion of a country artist to the Idol panel? You can thank Carrie’s success but mostly you can thank Blake & The Voice.

    And let me say – I actually like both shows and think they are different and unique in their own light, so I am not trying to defend one over the other.

  • Alexandre Oliveira

    I really think it’s more difficult for The Voice to succeed than it was for Idol at the first seasons, and it’s handling pretty well, the format is being improved and we got a chemistry on the panel that we haven’t seen, like, in years, since Paula left Idol, so I’m really pumped for TV’s next season, I hope we see another fierce rocker like Amanda Brown or Juliet Simms, or even an Elise Testone type of girl, I think these competition shows needs those kind of singers.

  • tripp_ncwy

    But even The Voice judges themselves keep comparing themselves to idol and/or boasting about how great they are as compared to the oldest show on the block  idol. The judges and the show producers seem to think the comparison is relevant.

  • getaway1

    Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul were the first two Voice winners.  Their Idol counterparts were Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips.  Scotty and Phillip have both sold Platinum.  Javier Colon was dropped after a year.  Jermaine Paul seems headed in that direction.

    The Voice needs winners who can sell.

  • Kesia Monteith

    “I hope we see another fierce rocker like Amanda Brown or Juliet Simms, or even an Elise Testone type of girl, I think these competition shows needs those kind of singers.”

    Agree. I hope for a male version of Elise or Amanda or even a male version of Allison Iraheta. A soulful blues rocker in a male contestant is someone that these shows haven’t casted often, if ever. The closest to one was Michael Johns, but even though the performances I saw of his on youtube were good, I heard he was relatively inconsistent. :/

  • Dennis

    Just because there’s a WGWG doesn’t mean they’re going to sell. For every Phillip or Scotty who do well, there’s a David Cook, Kris Allen, or Lee Dewyze who don’t. There have been WGWG on The Voice but ppl haven’t voted for them.

  • SullyD

    ” For every Phillip or Scotty who do well, there’s a David Cook, Kris Allen, or Lee Dewyze who don’t.”

    But Kris and David did as well (or better) than P2 and Scotty, so we have to wait a little before setting them as successful stories and the others as failures.

  • Sassycatz
    because there’s a WGWG doesn’t mean they’re going to sell. For every
    Phillip or Scotty who do well, there’s a David Cook, Kris Allen, or Lee
    Dewyze who don’t.

    Can we stop with the wrong conclusion that Cook didn’t do well? His coronation song was the highest selling before P2 came along and his first album went platinum. Two songs off that album went platinum and a third went gold. He headlined a tour that went on for an entire year in the U.S. We’ll see how the rest do in the coming cycle.

  • andy

    True, Lee has been the only true bust of late from Idol.  I think The Voice will find a star soon, or at least someone who can sell singles.  With all those connections the judges have, they have to be able to find good songs for the contestants.

  • Dennis

    Okay but where is he at now?

  • Sassycatz

    Let’s see where the other two you mention are at four years out after their second album. Better yet, let’s just drop the over generalized comparisons.

  • Ratna12

    Yeah, why are we always comparing the 5 WGWG since all the circumstances are different. Who knows what happens if Kris got a song on a winning Olympic team nightly, got a label who cares or got to play a guitar in his audition, or heck, just show his audition and not just 4 seconds of it.

  • Leandro

    X-Factor UK took 4 seasons to find its first stars, Leona Lewis. Then, again, they had some seasons with flop winners. The ratings, though, were always good, no matter how successful was the winner. Biggest stars from XF-UK right now are crap singers like Cher Lloyd and 1D (same league of recent winner, Cassadee). The Voice tried to have a marketable winner on S3. And they got it.
    Good but unmarketable singers vs. marketable singers who can’t sing well. If you have to choose, who would you rather? 

    For those who doesn’t like The Voice, because it competes with Idol, it doesn’t matter. The show can change everything and they will always go back to one specific argument to say “why this show isn’t good as American Idol”.

  • Dennis

    Everybody gets so bent out of shape when you mention WGWG, they’re white men who play guitars who have won the show. They may have the different styles and such but the same formula has won the show 5 yrs. in a row.

  • Dennis

    The comment I was going to post I deleted because I don’t want to have a debate about this. lol

  • mason williams

    i respectfully disagree,you are never too old to have a dream and it’s never too late to follow your dream

    if you have drive and the determination anything is possible,ask susan boyle

  • mason williams

    well scotty is a quarter latino = lgwg?

  • Karen C

    Idol was the ONLY show of it’s kind when it first aired. Therefore, it was a lot easier for America to take in and accept whoever it put out

    But even with all the other shows the Idols are still the most successful.  Even the winners that have sold the lowest have sold more than the Voice and US XFactor contestants.  And there have been other singing shows on over the years since Idol started, and very few have had successful singers.  

  • Karen C

    In Nashville writing a new album and cowriting with other artists.

  • durbesque

    As far as I know, the only other singing show to produce stars is ‘Nashville Star’ on Lifetime…. Miranda Lambert and Chris Young.

  • Kesia Monteith

    Does the singing show argument ever gets tiresome to you guys? LOL ;)

  • getaway1

    But Kris and David did as well (or better) than P2 and Scotty,

    Kris still has the 2nd lowest selling CD of all the winners.  Scotty has long passed that by selling Platinum.  Phil has sold Gold in less than 6 weeks.  Kris has 1 Platinum single.  Scotty has 2 Gold singles.  Phil has a Triple Platinum single.  Season 8 was also a more popular than Season 11.

  • irockhard

    If someone’s audition vid goes viral like Susan Boyle’s and gets THE ENTIRE WORLD talking they can and should make an exception. But make no mistake, these scenarios are VERY RARE exceptions, too rare for older (or younger) contestants to be a staple on these shows.

  • Karen C

    I believe one of the Making the Band shows had some success but I don’t think they were really a contest.

    The Rockstar shows were also pretty popular when they were on, and the winners did have some success when they had the first albums with the bands,  but not after that.  Other than the winners, Ryan Star has had some moderate success.

  • Robert D’Angio

    I’m sorry but to all the people talking about how it is harder for the Voice to produce a star I have to call BS on that. In the last 2 years, both Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips have both been able to become successful after Idol (and that was when the Voice was just beginning. Phillip Phillips just had a huge hit. To argue that because it is competing with other sows or a saturated market is silly when other shows are producing marketable and successful talent. what really happened here is that The voice got cocky because of ratings but didn’t have the star they needed to back it up. The Voice to me is just another revolving door. They just keep bringing people in and churning them back out. Then, not too long after the season ends, they gear up to start all over again. 

  • Robert

    The Voice needs either Cassadee or whoever wins Season 4 to have some sort of success, AI produced Kelly and Carrie in their first four seasons which will not happen with The Voice IMO.

  • J

    Cassadee can sell if she gets the right songs.  Of course, you
    still have to have a promotional budget, but I don’t think any amount of
    promotion would have helped Javier or Jermaine because the music was

    They’ve got to make finding the right songs the highest priority if they mean what they say about finding a star.  If they can’t manage some kind of success with Cassadee then I declare them hopeless.

  • John S

    Scotty and David Cook couldn’t be any more different.

  • Damien Roberts

    Meh, I think your argument has flaws itself, because the point is that Idol found stars early on and does arguably find a star every season. Idol became so massive BECAUSE it proved that it could find huge stars, Kelly Clarkson being its first winner. I love Adam Levine, but its very important for these shows to find a legitimate star because it in turn legitimizes the show in the process, American Idol has proven itself as a legitimate talent-finding machine and I believe that (with Tate Stevens) winning The X-Factor they too could be on their way to a ratings boost next year. Do I think Cassadee Pope will hurt The Voice? No, but she definitely won’t go on to prove that The Voice is a star making vehicle.

  • Damien Roberts

    David Cook and Kris Allen both found considerable success, even if it didn’t end up lasting long. The point is, while not every Idol contestant has gone on to be a huge star, it has proven that it can find them, The Voice has not.

  • wingzdoc

    Meh, I think you missed my point entirely. Idol does find stars and very big ones at that. I am not discrediting that. You say Idol found stars early on – that is what I was talking about. It could find Kelly and Carrie with major success because it was fresh. People watched, voted were invested and, most importantly, bought records. There is an oversaturation that I think has hurt even recent Idol winners. They are talented and still sell but to sometimes mediocre numbers. Yes The Voice needs someone to legitimize the search process but at the end of the day, their goal is to put on an entertaining program. And that they do.

    As for Tate, ha. XFUS is a major joke.

    Sent from my HTC Evo

  • Alexandre Oliveira

    Idol being the first reality singing competition set the bar really high for the show, no wonder why so many people think they have a better shot of succeeding in music industry by auditioning on Idol, the show is on air for 10 years, it has launched so many stars since then, and is like an worldwide recognized franchise, it’s still on top because people are still interested in seeing those regular people start singing and surprising everyone, let go that pizzaz and massive production of X Factor, and the judges focus on The Voice, at the end of the day I still wanna see that little guy/girl that lives across the street singing his/her face off and showing everyone that he/she can be and worlwide succesfull recording artist, that’s why even with all the disappointments and all the judges controversy, as much as I want to but  I still cannot get tired of Idol.

  • Damien Roberts

    But even in the recent seasons of these shows which ones contestants have gone on to be the most successful? Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips have been very successful so far and when you look at Kris Allen he’s still had more success than the others.

    Idol is still producing bigger stars than the other show and I have a feeling that if The Voice and X-Factor don’t find a viable star both will be in danger of losing ratings.

    As for your opinion on Tate, we’ll see who sells more records between Tate and Cassidy, I’d be willing to bet Tate goes onto having more success.

  • Jordana33

    Unless they market Cassadee like crazy, I’d put my money on Vicci Martinez, Chris Mann or Juliet Simms having a lot more future success than Cassadee Pope. Manipulating the rules to ensure that a certain person wins is not the right way to ensure their commercial success. They have to improve their promotion. Javier Colon was even more marketable than Cassedee, IMO, but neither the show nor his record label bothered to promote him, so of course his album flopped. 

    Anyway, there are enough good things about the Voice to ensure its continued success regardless of how the winner does.  They will continue to attract good artists because ironically, the returns are actually relatively decent for those who don’t make the live rounds. e.g. Those eliminated at the knockout rounds (top 40) are still often guaranteed several nice TV intro packages and 3 fully aired performances; for some, that is just enough publicity to help them stay in the business. Unfortunately for the winner and any contestant staying long haul, diminishing returns seem to kick in….

  • Amy Beth

    I have to disagree. Idol became a huge hit and phenomenon BEFORE the first winner was ever crowned. Tickets to the season 1 finale were the hottest property in town. The show was all over mainstream, not just entertainment, media.

    Some people have speculated that after 9/11, American Idol was a way for the whole country to come together and feel good about itself.

    As for the Voice, I think the first season was a throwaway because there was no guarantee that the show was going to last past that season. NBC was a joke of a network. They could have had a launched a huge superstar, but if the ratings had sucked, the show would be gone before the winner even made a single.

  • Mike Nguyen

    I think the Star Search comparison is apt actually. Star Search went on for quite a long time as a pretty popular and entertaining show. But it’s not like very many of its winners went on to immediate success a year or two after winning. Or did many of its winners even find success. It didn’t stop Star Search from continuing on or did it stop many people from watching.

    Many of the Star Search alumni only found success years after appearing on the show, Christina being one of them.

    I can see The Voice being on a similar platform. And I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I think many of the artists who appear on this show will bubble just beneath the surface until a few of them find success years after appearing.

  • Kirsten


    X-Factor UK took 4 seasons to find its first star, Leona Lewis.

    Leona Lewis won the third season of X-Factor UK.

    While she was their first international superstar to reach the States, the year before Shayne could be argued to be at least a local star for a while. He sold a whopping 742K of his debut single in his first week (313K the first day) and that is in a much smaller market than the US. His first album sold 2.5M worldwide including reaching the top of the album charts in 9 countries.

    Javier and Jermaine wish they had it so good.

    Even the Sing-Off has launched a more successful act than The Voice.

  • Jordana33

    The Voice hasn’t done much for their winners, but relatively speaking, the show does a lot for the contestants who don’t win. Its philosophy is to elevate their contestants, not put them down and ultimately, that’s why good artists continue to audition. To us, the absence of a superstar might seem like a failure, but I’ve seen enough interviews by Voice alumni to know that many of them are very happy about the show’s positive impact on their career. If these contestants think that the Voice has done good things for them, then I’m not going to argue with them. There are different ways to help people. Not everything has to be the American Idol/Simon Cowell way.

    And I agree completely with the Star Search comparison. Just because a show doesn’t result in overnight success for someone doesn’t mean that it hasn’t helped.

  • Klaine

    Who is going to be on Season 5?  The interesting thing is that Blake & Adam stayed for Season 4 when they were the most vocal about having to get back to touring and music.  But in addition to getting millions of dollars, this show has boosted their careers.  Maroon 5 has been having hit after hit thanks to Adam – who also now has a fragrance and an acting role…while honestly no one out of country knew who Blake was.  I read he judged some other NBC show but this has made him a known celebrity.  The Shakira decision seemed out of the blue but she might have come cheap because shes also looking for a career revival…These singers now know that a hit show can really give them a huge boost.  (Whens Shakiras baby due?)…Look at Mario Lopez, before DWTS the most he got was hosting a pet show on Animal Planet. His profile really got raised — He got a starring role on Broadway, and of course the huge platform and money of Extra, he got a reality show, a televised wedding, and his own underwear line, commenting on boxing matches and who knows what else.  This will refresh the show – I wonder if theyll schedule some shows against Idol like they did with XF.  THey should do it with the blind auditions vs Idols boring auditions…I ihope Idol audition shows are truncated.  I hate them esp the bad contestants who are often now fake…Last few years, I just tuned in for live shows.  

  • Kirsten

    THey should do it with blind auditions vs Idols boring auditions

    Can’t. Idol returns Jan 16th while the Voice season starts well into March. idol will be into live shows by then. The Voice is likely starting so late to give Adam a chance to tour.

  • twodollars

     Shakira certainly doesn’t need a career revival. She just came off two successful albums and a hugely successful tour. She may not get a lot of attention in the Anglo US market but she is huge just about everywhere else in the world. I am sure she is doing this to get her more well-known in the US Anglo market. And I doubt she was cheap. She likely got as much as Christina got.

  • concerntotheunfortunate

    “Good but unmarketable singers vs. marketable singers who can’t sing well. If you have to choose, who would you rather?” 

    As far as the success of the artists or the tv-shows, the choice is up to the majority of about 14 million The Voice viewers/21 million American Idol viewers (and iTunes downloaders, music-cd purchasers). We are just a bunch of ‘tv-shows critics’. 

  • Damien Roberts

    Season Rating Averages

    1: 12.7
    2: 21.7
    3: 25.7
    4: 27.32
    5: 31.17
    6: 30.02
    7: 27.8
    8: 25
    9: 22
    10: 25
    11: 19.1

    If you look at this the biggest increases in viewers after Kelly and Carrie won. We also saw an increase in viewers during season 10 which I would attribute to the talented group. I’m not saying that Idol wouldn’t have done well without its huge success stories, but I without a doubt believe they helped.