There’s a pretty lengthy cover story on the new season of The Voice in this week’s Billboard. It’s a pretty good read. I’ll pull out a few interesting tidbits here.
There’s a lot of discussion about how the show has helped the careers of the coaches, but has not been able to make stars out of their alums.
The coaches insist that the hopefuls get something residuals can’t buy: a dose of hard-earned wisdom from their mentors. In October 2012, Levine said, “Eventually, The Voice is going to have to launch somebody into the stratosphere to continue to be taken seriously.” But now he argues that the show is not about making a star so much as helping budding singers become as “well-equipped as possible for reality, which starts the minute that confetti falls and people continue with their careers.”
Williams interrupts to point out what an invaluable service their celebrity wattage provides: “I just don’t like that we’re talking about this from the defense, as if there’s something wrong. I never had a Gwen Stefani, or an Adam Levine, or a Blake Shelton to come in and tell me anything when I was 15 years old.
So, The Voice is now about putting singers through an all-star bootcamp, before sending them off with a pat on the rear and a good luck? Their ratings have always been just fine without all-star alums. And now that American Idol isn’t producing stars anymore, I’m sure that allows the producers to adjust their talking points without appearing to be in denial.
Meanwhile, the coaches sell more albums and tour tickets then ever. Adam Levine admitted that his band, Maroon 5 was in a slump before he signed on for the first season (The band has pretty much been on the top of the charts ever since with hits like “Moves Like Jagger” and “Payphone.” Even Christina Aguilera, whose presence has been off and on, scored a huge hit with “Say Something” after she and A Great Big World debuted a new version of the song on the show.
Only two of The Voice winners, Cassadee Pope from season 3 and Danielle Bradbery from season 4, both country artists, have made any traction on the charts. Although country duo, The Swon Brothers, (Season 5, 3rd place), have had a promising start with their first single “Later On” which is currently Top 20 on the country airplay chart. Tessanne Chin and Josh Kaufman, Season 5 and 6 winners, respectively, are fine singers–but perform in a throwback R&B style more suitable to Adult Contemporary than current pop radio. Tessanne, who quietly released her debut album, Count on My Love, only sold 7K of her debut album the first week. Currently, Josh is focusing on putting out a single, rather than starting to work right away on a full length album.
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have appeared on every cycle of The Voice, while two of the chairs have revolved with the likes of Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Usher and Cee Lo Green. Gwen Stefani and Pharrell will join Adam and Blake for the upcoming season 7. NBC brass have said that artists who have already sat on the panel have an open invitation to return–with one exception.
After being accused, in 2012, of slipping ecstasy to a date who said she later woke up in his bed, CeeLo Green left The Voice. After pleading no contest to giving his companion the drug, but before a series of controversial tweets on the definition of rape appeared, NBC head, Paul Telegdy said, “He remains a friend of the company.” But when asked if Cee Lo might ever return to the panel, the NBC boss admitted, “For The Voice right now, our journey comes to an end.”
The Voice season 7 premieres on Monday September 22.