5 Soundbites From The Top 12

The Voice

The Voice is now live, and we were on hand yesterday to watch the Top 12 artists perform for your votes. Afterward, we spoke to several of the finalists – as well as coach Adam Levine – and here are five of the most entertaining or memorable soundbites from Monday night.

1) Kristen Merlin doesn’t think montaging artists is a good thing: Team Shakira’s country singer brushed off a microphone failure that left half her performance falling on deaf ears, but she did admit to a little apprehension when it came to The Voice‘s practice of montaging certain pre-taped performances. “It makes me nervous that people haven’t had a lot of face time with me. And that’s okay. I just have to take the stage and just rock it every time,” said Kristen, who got the montage treatment during battle rounds. “It kind of made me a little nervous tonight when [the microphone] cut out. I was like ‘They need to hear me!’ But it’s all good.”

2) Jake Worthington and Audra McLaughlin don’t know what’s in Blake Shelton’s cup either: It’s one of the show’s biggest mysteries, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way awhile longer. Neither Team Blake artists knows what their coach is drinking. “Honestly, I don’t know. I noticed that he loves Starbucks, so it looks like to me that it’s an iced green tea,” guessed Audra, while Jake told us, “You’ll have to ask him. That ain’t my business to tell!”

3) Even Kat Perkins thinks she should perform with Kat Robichaud: They share first names and an appreciation for rock, so we’ve been thinking a team-up between Team Adam’s frontrunner and Team Cee Lo’s crowdsurfer is in order. Turns out Kat Perkins is on board with this idea, too. “She reached out to me on Twitter the other day. She says she’s recording her record, and I can’t wait to get it, because I was a huge fan of hers last year,” she said. “I can’t wait to hear her record and maybe sing with her one day.” We’ll be first in line to buy tickets for that performance.

4) Team Usher thinks that their coach should consider releasing a workout DVD: After he made Josh Kaufman run a lap during rehearsal for his performance, we asked what Usher’s artists thought about the idea of an official Usher workout video, and response was pretty positive. “I think it’s a great idea. Because he’s definitely a drill sergeant and he gets us ready for the stage,” enthused T.J. Wikins. Agreed his teammate Josh Kaufman, “I think it’s a good idea. People would be into it, right?” Tell us what you think – would you take fitness advice from Usher?

5) Adam Levine on the difference when it comes to coaching for America’s vote: Asked what it’s like to prepare a singer to impress you rather than to win him over, Adam explained his philosophy about coaching in the live rounds. “I think that the most important thing right now, as far as I’m concerned, now that we don’t have any control, is to make them feel comfortable and confident,” he told us. “That’s number one. If you don’t do that, you’re in a lot of trouble. You need to instill them with that confidence because now you can’t protect them. We’re no longer the ones they need to impress.”

The Voice narrows its Top 12 down to Top 10 tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher Talk Before The Playoffs

The Voice

Live playoffs for The Voice are just two weeks away – and so BFTV snagged a few quick words with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira about potential changes in their strategies, what they’ve learned from being coaches, and who might stick around for this fall’s Season 7.

While you’re watching tonight’s battle rounds, know that yes, they really are as agonizing as they look on TV. “That’s the worst part of the job,” Blake told us. “Anything that’s in between the blinds and the live shows sucks for coaches, because the first thing we do is beg these people to pick us and be on our teams. Then we kick half of them out, [and] then we kick half of them out again.”

Ultimately, sometimes picking a winner is less scientific and more relying on gut instinct. “That’s really what it comes down to,” he continued. “Because everybody did great. There were just great performances across the board, and you kind of just go, ‘Out of these five, [which] three do I think have the best chance of winning this thing?’”

What kind of strategy changes do the coaches foresee going into the live playoffs? “I just look at everything he’s doing and I try not to do it,” quipped Adam.

“Which is why he hasn’t won as many times as I have,” retorted Blake.

“I’ve only won one less time than you have,” replied Adam, “and I told you, I’m going to win this one again.”

The million-dollar question, though, is less who will win Season 6 and more who will still be around for Season 7, which begins shooting in the fall. With Pharrell Williams having been announced as the replacement for the exiting Cee Lo Green, we asked Adam and Blake if they intend on keeping their big red chairs for at least one more cycle. Neither of them are sure quite yet.

“There’s definitely going to be a Season 7,” Adam told us. “Whether or not I’ll be on it, I’ll have to check my schedule.”

“I hope to be,” said Blake. “I hope to hell I am.”

We asked Shakira and Usher, who are completing their second season coaching, what they’ve learned so far from the experience. “So much,” she told us, giving a special mention to her team’s advisor. “I was able to bring Miranda Lambert as a mentor, and that was an extraordinary process of [being able] to observe her and to kind of learn from her. She’s an amazing artist. That’s one example of the many things I’ve learned being at The Voice. And also learning about myself through [the singers] and through their own process.”

“This has become routine in a lot of ways. and for us we’re kind of re-living all of what the passion of being an artist is about,” added Usher. “That’s what I learn or am actually just reminded of. Like ‘Man, I remember the first time the lightbukb went off in dealing with a certain thing or a certain hurdle I had to jump over.’ And helping them find it.”

For all the Voice coaches, the bottom line is making a difference in the lives of the artists that they’re working with. “I’m going to be supporting my team a hundred percent,” said Shakira. “Just doing it in every possible way. Psychologically, morally, nourishing them and nurturing them from a human standpoint.

“But also artistically, I hope to be able to share with them everything I’ve learned over the years, and contribute in some kind of way to the lives of artists and to their careers, so they can continue and pursue their own goals and dreams regardless of what happens.”

The Voice continues season 6 tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. For more on the show, you can also check out our editorial on why The Voice can’t afford to lose Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Stay tuned tomorrow as well, as host and producer Carson Daly gives us his input on the show’s growth and development.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Why ‘The Voice’ Can’t Lose Adam And Blake

The Voice

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.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Season 6 Premieres Tonight: Your Catch-Up Guide

The Voice

Tonight begins Season 6 of NBC’s The Voice, but there have been plenty of happenings with past artists – and the coaches – since Season 5 wrapped in December. Before you tune in to the new cycle, read on to find out what you may have missed over the last three months.

The major news is that coach Cee Lo Green announced last week that he will not return for Season 7, marking his second departure from his big red chair. Cee Lo’s best finish on The Voice was having the runner-up (Juliet Simms, season 2) – which Usher has already matched (Michelle Chamuel, season 4). No word yet on who will replace him, whether it’s Usher or anyone else.

In happier coach-related news, Blake Shelton has announced he’ll hit the road for a 2014 version of his Ten Times Crazier Tour; information can be found on his website (blakeshelton.com). And Adam Levine and his Season 4 artist Judith Hill performed on the same stage when both participated in CBS’s February 9 special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America. You can hear some words from Adam and see a clip of Maroon 5′s performance in the below video.

A few The Voice artists have turned out new music since December. Season 1 finalist Vicci Martinez has a new release, Otra Cancion, available via Bandcamp. Season 4′s Melanie Martinez debuted her new single, “Dollhouse,” on iTunes. According to iTunes, Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin will release her record in March.

We’ve also caught up with several former contestants to find out what they’re up to recently. You can check out our interviews with Season 3 finalist Nicholas David, Team Cee Lo’s Kat Robichaud from Season 4, and Team Adam’s Caroline Glaser from Season 4. Kat’s recent music video, as well as a music video from Season 2′s Pip, can be found in our January news roundup.

The Voice also won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Competition TV Show in January, over America’s Got Talent, Dancing With The Stars, MasterChef and the now-cancelled The X Factor.

Lastly, if you missed the various announcements over the last few weeks, we now know the full advisor lineup for Season 6. They are Aloe Blacc (Team Adam, after his appearance performing opposite Team Adam’s Will Champlin in Season 5), The Band Perry (Team Blake), Jill Scott (Team Usher) and Miranda Lambert (Team Shakira, her second go-around after advising Team Blake in Season 2). You’ll see the advisors in a few weeks, when Season 6 heads to its battle rounds.

The Voice premieres tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. Stay tuned all season for our recaps, interviews and news behind the scenes here and by visiting BFTV’s sister site, Big Red Chairs (bigredchairs.com).

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

Adam Levine and Sterling Archer: Separated At Birth?

If you watched tonight’s episode of The Voice, you’ll notice that when it was taped, coach Adam Levine grew out his beard again and became fond of Hawaiian shirts. It took us awhile to figure out who he reminded us of, but we’ve finally figured it out.

Here’s a picture of Adam from NBC’s TCA presentation earlier this year.

The Voice

And here’s a picture of Sterling Archer, the main character from FX’s animated comedy series Archer, during the “Heart of Archness” three-parter:


Separated at birth? How cool would Adam be as a secret agent? Discuss. And join us next week for normal Voice service.

The Season 5 Advisors Are Happening

You know it’s close to a new season when NBC starts systematically leaking the identities of the new Voice advisors. First it was Ed Sheeran joining Team Christina, and now it’s been announced that Adam Levine has signed on OneRepublic frontman and uber-producer Ryan Tedder.

This pick shouldn’t surprise anyone: they’ve been friends and collaborators for awhile (most recently on the Maroon 5 tracks “Love Somebody” and “Lucky Strike”), plus Tedder is as close to a Voice frequent flyer as it gets. He first appeared during Season 1, where he performed “Good Life” with Beverly McClellan, and this past season he teamed with Michelle Chamuel on “Counting Stars.” Welcome back, Ryan!

It’s also a busy day for Adam, as media reports say he and his close friend, writer Gene Hong (Community) are developing an autobiographical comedy based on their relationship to NBC, as part of the producing deal Adam struck with them awhile back. It’s the second time they’ve tried to put together a show for the network, after trying to launch a karaoke bar sitcom back in 2011.

The Voice

ETA: It’s now been revealed that Miguel is joining Team Cee Lo. So who’s on Team Blake this season? Hmm.

Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 27-28

Little belated this week with end-of-month craziness, but here we are!




Postmortem: Season 4 Live Playoffs, May 13-14

Coverage for May 13 and 14:




How You Can Win A Trip To Meet Adam Levine At ‘The Voice’

AdamLevine_ExperienceWhat fan of The Voice wouldn’t want to meet Adam Levine backstage before the show? Now you can enter to win a chance to do just that – simply by contributing to a good cause.

Adam has partnered with Omaze to create a dream experience for any member of Team Adam: to be flown to Los Angeles, where you and a friend will meet him backstage before a taping of The Voice during next month’s Season 4 live shows. It’s a great gesture to support one of Maroon 5′s charities of choice, Aid Still Required.

How do you get to be that lucky fan? Anyone 18 and over is eligible to win, simply by going to the entry page on Omaze.com and contributing a minimum of $10 to Aid Still Required’s efforts to provide trauma relief to victims of rape and those suffering  from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Haiti. Every entry translates to approximately 10 hours of trauma relief for someone in need.

You have until April 30 to enter to win this fantastic experience; click here to get started. For more information on Aid Still Required and their efforts in Haiti, you can also visit the charity’s official website.

The Voice continues tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.