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'The Voice': Bickering superstars are the secret weapon

January 6, 2012 |  7:48 pm

Christina aguilera nbc the voice
NBC’s “The Voice” returns for a second season on Feb. 5 in a high-profile slot right after the Super Bowl. And its celebrity mentors –- Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo Green -- feel confident the show has a secret weapon no other music reality competition has: themselves.

At the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena on Friday, “The Voice” team argued that the special twist of the show, and much of the drama, comes from the mentors having to battle each other to convince contestants to join their team. “It’s truly a competition for all parties involved,” Aguilera pointed out.

And as executive producer Mark Burnett said, “Superstars pleading with unknown singers to join their team is delicious TV.”

The four star mentors charmed America with their bickering and affectionate repartee. But were they too nice to the actual competitors on the show? Levine insisted that wasn’t the case. “There’s a difference between being critical and willfully mean,” he said, adding, “the talent level is so high there aren’t many awful performances.”

Aguilera admitted that they may have been reacting against all the Cowell-style crankiness on TV when they recorded the first season. “We were all tired of seeing the attack/pick on them mode…This year were diving more into critiquing.”

For the second season, the show will have some additional superstar mentors coming on for cameos, including Lionel Richie, Jewel, Kelly Clarkson and Shelton’s wife, Miranda Lambert.

But the core team of the series remains the four mentors, who apparently have as much chemistry off stage as on. When Shelton was asked about his controversial tendency to tweet while drunk, he turned his answer into a tribute to his “Voice”-mates:

“...With these guys I feel like I have met my true family. These people are freaks so I feel like I can be myself around them. That’s part of the show -- showing my team, You’re not running for office, you’re artists, just be who you are."


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-- Joy Press