Editorial: No, ‘The Voice’ Coaches Won’t Coach Forever (and Why That’s OK)

There’s been a lot of media noise about The Voice coaches recently. Yahoo! TV ran a story based off an Access Hollywood report, and the headline was Blake Shelton On His The Voice Future: I Don’t Know ‘How Much Longer’ I’ll Last. That wasn’t the first such article I’ve seen, and it grinds my gears a little bit. People seem to be trying to create some sort of drama or suspense around the fate of our Fabulous Foursome, and it just doesn’t make any sense to me, because this isn’t breaking news.

Let’s be clear: it’s when, not if, one or more of the coaches will leave The Voice.

The writing has been on the wall since May, when NBC concluded Season 2 and then announced Season 3 exactly a week later. It’s common sense that these four working artists cannot tape two seasons a year and have time to tour and be able to record new music and have any semblance of their own lives. There just aren’t enough days on the calendar. Something has to give, and as Adam, Blake, Cee Lo, and Christina are performers first and TV personalities second, it will be and should be The Voice.

Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate all four superstar coaches – but because I appreciate them, I want them to be able to pursue their careers, spend time with their loved ones, and do anything else they might want to do. We know that at least two of the four have had to push back other professional commitments in order to accomodate the filming of Season 3. Cee Lo announced he was delaying the start of his residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and as a Maroon 5 fan, I was deeply disappointed to hear that although their new album Overexposed dropped in June, North America will probably have to wait until 2013 to see the band on tour. The success of the show shouldn’t come at the expense of fans of the music.

Blake, in particular, has made it very clear that it won’t, either. In said Access Hollywood interview, he’s quoted as saying that “As far as Christina and Adam and Cee Lo and I – if we want to tour, there’s not a chance of that doing back to back seasons. That’s not acceptable to me.” He’s absolutely right.

So we ought to stop acting like the idea that the coaches could leave is some sort of surprise; the only questions up in the air are who will be the one(s) to go and when they’ll make that decision. We could see one of them leave now and someone else leave later on; it could happen as early as Spring 2013, or perhaps they’ll be able to juggle things for at least another half-year. (If anyone can make a schedule work, it’s Voice uber-producer Mark Burnett, whose name is on more shows than would seem humanly possible, yet he does it.) They could even leave and come back again. Who knows? And until we do know, there’s no sense in getting all worked up about it. That’s much ado about nothing much.

The bottom line is this situation was created by the business of television. I have a hard time believing that whoever at NBC decided to run two cycles of The Voice a year didn’t realize the position it would put the coaches in – but they have a ratings winner on their hands, and with big ratings the network makes more money, which any business needs to do. I can only assume that the execs figured that the unique format of The Voice will keep it viable after the departure of any of its coaches, like how Law & Order survived numerous cast changes and stayed on the air for two decades. I’m not sure I agree with that logic, but I do understand it.

I also know there’s nothing I can do to change the prognosis. So instead of needlessly speculating, I’m going to enjoy Season 3 while it’s in front of me. I’m going to appreciate that we have Adam, Blake, Cee Lo and Christina for at least one more go-around. Now more than ever is the time to thank these four huge stars for the time, effort and heart they put into the show, and all the wonderful things that have come out of their participation, whether it’s introducing you to a new artist you now love, or fondly looking back on moments such as the premiere of “Moves Like Jagger” or the introduction of Purrfect the Cat. Those things wouldn’t exist if anyone else were sitting in those big red chairs.

Whatever happens and whenever it happens, Adam, Blake, Cee Lo and Christina have changed the face of music competition on television – and for that, and so much more, I can only offer them a heartfelt thank-you.

For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).  

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Exclusive to Big Red Chairs. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

One thought on “Editorial: No, ‘The Voice’ Coaches Won’t Coach Forever (and Why That’s OK)

  1. Perhaps the biggest compliment to these four is the imitation, as every other singing competition show has opted to follow “The Voice” in selecting current stars in their prime for their panels, and having them offer constructive criticism to the singers. Sometimes, they even take the stage, too. But so far, no one has quite captured the camaraderie, sincerity, and effectiveness of the Adam-Blake-Cee Lo-Christina quartet (who, with a couple exceptions, did not know each other prior to joining the show, interestingly).

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