The four judges for NBC's "The Voice" met with a small group of reporters on Friday (October 28) looking every bit as chummy as they did through the show's first hit season.
"They tell us 'COACHES.'"
"Even people who haven't seen 'The Voice' know about these chairs. These chairs have become stars in their own right," Burnett noted correctly. The "Survivor" mastermind didn't even get a chair of his own for this media event, because while "The Voice" was a late-spring sensation for NBC, there are still only Coaches' Seats.
And those seats are at least a little warm, pressure-wise. "The Voice" premiered last spring as an optimistic little underdog for NBC, but this year's show has become the hope and salvation of the network's entire season and it's coming after a full season of the US version of "The X Factor," a show that "The Voice" seems to have borrowed liberally from. But if you ask the "Voice" team about the possibility that audiences may reach a saturation point with shows of this type, expect to get chided.
"I don't think there are any TV shows of this kind," Aguilera insisted. "We are our own thing and I think the reason why the show took off and was as successful as it was was because people can relate to the fact that we're honest and we're real and we're experienced judges, in the sense that we've been on the tours, we've won the Grammys, we've had countless records sold. And not coming from an egotistical place, but we have been there, we've done that."
Burnett observed, "As the father of teenagers, in high school and college, I know that they and all their friends, the only music show they talk about about is 'The Voice.' 'The Voice' is cool."
NBC is hoping to only make "The Voice" cooler by giving it a key premiere airing after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5.
And it sounds like "The Voice" is planning on stunting out that big Super Bowl episode.
"That's the episode where you try to make out with me, Christina? And they edit it out right before our lips touch?" cooed Shelton to his neighbor on the dais.
No. That's not actually what "The Voice" is planning to do. While the coaches teased that they will be performing something together as was Levine calls "the weirdest, coolest band ever," the "Voice" wheel is not being reinvented for Season Two. It's just being made bigger.
"We're obviously very, very privileged to be following the Super Bowl," Burnett said. "Obviously enormous amounts of Americans are watching that contest and probably many, many people who haven't actually seen 'The Voice' will get a chance to watch it, so it's really important that we get right into the Blind Auditions."
Added Levine, "And that everyone drinks a lot of beer while they're watching the Super Bowl, so afterwards they watch 'The Voice.'"
And for viewers who loved the Blind Auditions, Burnett has these reassuring words, "It's many more weeks of Blind Auditions, you'll be pleased to know."
Yes, "The Voice" will be expanding the Blind Auditions. And, in turn, that means that the teams themselves will expand, with each coach picking 12 singers for their squads, rather than eight. That, in turn, will presumably mean more Battle rounds to trim the field before the live broadcasts. So if you were wondering how NBC planned on making "The Voice" last all spring, the answer is "more." That means that the show will rely even more heavily on the chemistry between its four superstars.
"I don't know if it was the chemistry between the four of us or the really smart things that Carson has to say every now and then... It's probably the chemistry between the four of us, now that I say that," Shelton cracked. "Whatever it is, it's set the bar high for this year. And now, this year as it went down with the Blind Auditions, I don't wonder after these Blind Auditions if people will connect with it, cuz it's four-times as exiting this year with the blind auditions as it was last year and last year the show was a big hit. So what the hell? It's gonna make the Super Bowl look small."
Added Aguilera, "It does get pretty intense. I think we all know each other, the games we play, the sales pitches we make and I think we're not gonna let the talent this time get won over or out of our hands, out of our control. We're all fighting for that No.1 spot, that No.1 artist and talent. It's a really interesting year this year."
Without giving too much away, Aguilera teased that her team this year includes "an incredible opera singer who makes you wanna cry" and "a dynamic powerhouse MC."
Observed Cee-Lo, "The new contestants from the second season, they're familiar with the premise and with the system in which we go about it, so I think their attitudes are a lot more open, a lot more optimistic and advantageous about their future and what's to come and the talent has really been tripled and equalled out amongst us all. I think we all have very strong teams."
The press conference concluded with a slew of questions from Facebook and Twitter, a mixed bag of queries that included Blake squirming and not giving details about his sex life.
We did, however, get the amusement of Aguilera stridently revealing that being the only female on the coaching panel is a struggle.
"Absolutely. That's a big fat Y-E-S. It's hard. You're in a guy's locker room all the time. There are some raunchy things that go down, the talk and everything. But you know what? It takes a strong woman to be able to hold her own amongst a bunch of rowdy guys," Aguilera announced.
"Look, there's no reason we can't all talk about boobs," Shelton observed.
And that's a perfect place to end this story.
"The Voice" will air Monday nights from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on NBC next spring.
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