Can you imagine The Voice without Adam Levine and Blake Shelton?
We can’t either.
The Internet’s been abuzz this week following the news that Pharrell Williams is signing on to NBC’s Emmy-winning singing competition for Season 7. Everyone wants to know if the Maroon 5 hitmaker and the multiple CMA award winner will be joining Pharrell in those big red chairs this fall. The network, for its part, has only said that the identities of the other three coaches for the show’s next cycle will be revealed “at a later date.”
But there is absolutely, positively no way The Voice should go on without Adam and Blake.
Not if anyone knows what’s best for everyone – for NBC, the show, the singers competing, and even the superstar coaches themselves. A Voice without its two most popular coaches would likely survive, depending on who uber-producer Mark Burnett could secure to replace them, but it wouldn’t be the same ever again. And right now is not the time to make that kind of drastic move.
Coaching on The Voice isn’t just about being one of “the biggest names in music,” to quote host Carson Daly. It’s also about being a TV personality that can entertain America and have a good rapport with the other panelists. More important than that, it’s about being the best possible mentor for a dozen would-be singers. And being able to commit to weeks of coaching, live tapings, and press appearances. Finding somebody who fits all those criteria is an uphill battle. Not only do Adam and Blake tick off all those boxes, it’s pretty clear that they’ve set the standard for what a coach on The Voice should be.
NBC obviously doesn’t want to see them walk, and they certainly shouldn’t want to see it in Season 7. The addition of Pharrell – and the previously announced permanent departure of Cee Lo Green – already has one question mark hanging over the upcoming cycle, so it wouldn’t be wise to add two more. Especially not during the more competitive fall TV season, where the other networks will be rolling out more than just midseason replacements. With the demise of The X Factor and the continued struggles of American Idol, The Voice is in position to definitively be the top singing show – and possibly the top reality-competition show – on the air. NBC doesn’t need to have anything jeopardize its biggest hit just as it reaches the top of the mountain.
The Voice itself needs Adam and Blake in those outside seats. The show was able to continue when it replaced Cee Lo and Christina Aguilera with Usher and Shakira for Seasons 4 and 6, but Cee Lo and Christina were also the two coaches that had other factors around them – Cee Lo has been contending with legal issues, and Christina seems to be the one that fans either love or love to hate. Adam and Blake have no such concerns. They’re pretty much beloved by The Voice‘s audience. Most of the show’s best moments, from a TV standpoint, involve one or both of them. Jokes about Blake’s sobriety, Adam’s impressions of Shakira, the infamous “bromance” – there’s your entertainment value.
What really matters, though, is how well Adam and Blake can coach: better than anyone else. Between them, they have all of the show’s five championships (Blake’s three bookended by Adam’s two). Watch any episode and it’s easy to tell what makes them stand out. Adam gives very specific constructive criticism, and he’s unafraid to be honest, to the point where he called out everyone in Season 2 for not giving enough effort and directly led to the creation of the Instant Elimination. Blake has shown the ability to nurture talent, particularly the less experienced artists, which is crucial as The Voice‘s talent pool seems to skew younger every season. All of the coaches can do the job, but these two operate on another level.
That extends to what they do off-camera, too. Both Adam and Blake have maintained relationships with their Voice artists well after their time on the show has ended. Adam appeared on Javier Colon’s album, signed Tony Lucca to a record deal, has had both of them open for Maroon 5 on tour, and just recently tweeted about Melanie Martinez’s new release. Blake hired Gwen Sebastian as one of his backup singers, brought Dia Frampton on tour, and he’s stuck his neck out on social media to defend his artists against uncalled-for commentary. They’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty here.
And that’s also made them great ambassadors for The Voice. Ask any former Team Adam or Team Blake member and they’ll not only tell you about what they learned from a coaching standpoint, but praise their coaches for being amazing people. We were all witness to Erin Willett competing in Season 2 through the loss of a family member, and how Blake was there to support her, not just to get her ready to perform but to take care of her. We can personally swear to Adam going backstage during commercial breaks to speak with his team members. This show’s pitch is that it’s different than all the other ones, and these two are the two biggest examples of that.
Adam and Blake would be crazy to leave now, too. They’ve benefited immensely from their “second jobs” – Maroon 5 toured not once but twice last year alone, and Blake is preparing for his second tour in two years. Both of them have seen the tremendous success of albums released during the show’s run; Maroon 5′s Overexposed was certified Platinum by the RIAA, as was Blake’s Based On A True Story… They were successful well before they became coaches, but they’ve obviously gotten a boost from TV viewers who may never have listened to one of their albums otherwise.
The show has also given deserved attention to how outstanding both of them are as people. We now know that Adam isn’t just the photogenic face of his band; he’s a smart, funny and down-to-earth guy, and we can personally say that he is the best person we’ve worked with in 14 years in the entertainment business. Blake isn’t far behind on that list, equally pleasant and accessible, and as loyal as they come. They’ve both managed to balance touring and recording with their Voice duties so far; why not stay with a good thing when it’s poised to get even better?
Add that to all the things we’ve discussed above, and the bottom line is glaringly obvious.
Season 7 of The Voice needs Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Let’s just hope that everyone involved can make that happen.
The Voice continues its sixth season Monday at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC; stay tuned Monday for our interviews with all four coaches and host/producer Carson Daly.