'The Voice' talent show prepares for US debut
By Iain Blair, Reuters
March 17, 2011, 11:55 pm TWN
LOS ANGELES The stars of upcoming TV singing contest "The Voice" on Tuesday sought to contrast their new show with top-rated "American Idol" by saying they will be boosters for the contestants compared to critical judges.
Pop star Christina Aguilera, singer Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5 rocker Adam Levine and country's Blake Shelton are called "coaches" instead of "judges" as they are on "American Idol" and other shows such as "America's Got Talent" and upcoming "The X-Factor," which is run by caustic Briton Simon Cowell.
The four coaches also bring loads of experience to the show's format, in which they hear the competing singers perform while their backs are turned.
"It isn't about tearing people down. I want to bring these people up," Aguilera told reporters gathered to hear the celebrities tout the prospects for the program, which begins airing on NBC on April 26.
"The Voice" is based on highly-rated "The Voice of Holland" in which prospective singers "audition" on a stage while the judges are seated with their backs to the singers so that they are picked based solely on their vocal abilities.
"I may hear a pop (sounding) person, then I turn my chair around and find a person in a cowboy outfit," Aguilera said.
Green added: "You get to separate the person from the personality."
The people who pass the auditions are then "coached" by the pop stars who may even perform with them as the contestants move through the weekly rounds of elimination. The winner gets US$100,000 and a recording contract.
"We're going to be able to get far more involved as judges and artists because we're coaching the contestants," Aguilera said.
The show's format has been a smash hit in The Netherlands, but when it begins in the United States, "The Voice" will face stiff competition from the Fox network's "American Idol," which is the No. 1 show on U.S. airwaves.
Moreover, there is a great deal of anticipation for Cowell's "X-Factor," which doesn't begin airing until the fall of 2011.