The Voice 9: Expect Young Singers, Genre Hopping

THE VOICE -- "Season 9 Press Junket" -- Pictured: (l-r) Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, Carson Daly, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Billboard spoke with The Voice coaches, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly, about the upcoming ninth season of the competition reality show during a press day a few weeks ago.

Carson said this year’s “trend” is young contestants with “straightforward singing talent” coming out to audition.  Will the Top 48 be overflowing with teen belters? Carson seems to be hinting in that direction. I wonder if 16 year old Sawyer Fredericks winning the season 8 inspired young singers to audition. Or, the producers decided to scout younger talent this cycle.

“Each season, we’ll notice that there are fads and trends in what becomes popular,” says host Carson Daly. “For a couple of seasons, it was these big soul singers. I think people came out and were like, ‘Oh Javier Colon won. I need to sing perfect.’ Season 3 and 4, it seemed that every girl came into an audition wearing a little hat and singing a Tove Lo song to a ukulele. It was really understated and singer/songwriter and ironic. This is a very youthful season of straight forward singing talent.”

Stefani seconds Daly’s sentiments, adding that she has been shocked by what she’s seen so far during the Blind Auditions and Knockout Rounds. “There are a lot of young people. They don’t seem young but they are like, ‘Hi. I just turned 15.’ You’re like, ‘How? There is no way!’” she explains.

Adam Levine grabbing country singers for his team is really nothing new. Hello? Amber Carrington from season 4 is a good, early example.

Another development the coaches have seen this year is that contestants are jumping outside of their genre in the hopes of mixing things up. Shelton informs Billboard, for instance, that Team Levine has already claimed a promising young country singer during the show’s Blind Auditions. “He’ll pick ’em, even though he doesn’t really want ’em. He just doesn’t want me to get ’em. It always amazes me when country artists fall for it!” he jokes.

The Voice hopefuls! Pay attention. The coaches don’t like it when you cover their songs. I wonder how many came into the blinds with a Miranda Lambert song in their back pocket? (The Blinds were taped before Blake and Miranda’s divorce news broke.)

While the coaches are open to any type variety of talent that they come across this season, there is one thing that they have come to universally agree on — it’s never a good idea for a contestant to take the stage and sing a Blake Shelton, Maroon 5, No Doubt or Pharrell Williams song. Stefani actually admits that hearing someone attempt one of her tunes makes her cringe a little inside. “It’s weird. It’s flattering but it’s also hard. It’s really hard to see it from any other perspective other than your own,” she explains. “It makes everything awkward,” adds Shelton. “You feel like, ‘Maybe I should hit my button, because, like, thanks.’ But then if they suck and you don’t, then you’re like, ‘Thanks for doing my song. You sucked!’” he jokes.

The Voice 9 premieres September 21 on NBC.

More at

About mj santilli 35052 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!