When The Voice returns for its fourth season after Christmas, it will do so without half of the judging panel fans have grown used to. Both Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera announced today they’ll take sixth month sabbaticals from the show in order to concentrate on their personal musical endeavors. Luckily, two famous faces have already been tapped to replace the pair, and with any luck, their presence should add an interesting new wrinkle to the competition.
Mutli-platinum artists Usher and Shakira will fill in and lead their own teams for the fourth cycle, and there’s a distinct possibility their tenures could last even longer. After NBC decided to start filming seasons back-to-back, network executives told the judges they could leave for individual seasons in order to continue having careers outside the show. So, in theory, every judging panel from this point forward should be some kind of hodgepodge depending on who is busy with what.
Obviously, that lackadaisical approach played very well with the judges, but it’s unclear whether the upheaval will affect or help ratings moving forward. No doubt some fans will tune in specifically to see Usher and/ or Shakira, but their presence may well be offset by those who specifically watched for Christina and/ or Cee Lo.
Here’s a look at how executive producer Mark Burnett described the shake-up…
"Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour. Whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life. This is exactly why, after three seasons, we needed to allow them to rotate out so they can get on the road amongst their fans. Meanwhile, we’re incredibly excited to have singular artists like Usher and Shakira joining the fold.”
The Voice might not be the most popular singing competition show on television, but it certainly seems like it would be the most fun to judge on. The pressure to generate eyeballs is way lower than Idol and X Factor, and rather than wondering whether you’re going to be invited back, the judges here apparently make the choices for themselves. Plus, I'm not sure there's a person in the world who wouldn't want to sit in one of those big red chairs, at least for one episode.