We all know now that Adam Levine will not be returning to The Voice for Season 17. But, did he lose his gig as a coach on the talent competition because he embarrassed NBC executives? Let's dig into this rumor, shall we? While NBC's Upfront showcase for new and returning shows is absolutely a factor in this tale, the trouble may have actually started the day before.
Sunday, May 12 saw Adam Levine and his fellow coaches on The Voice, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and John Legend, gather with host Carson Daly and contestants in front of a studio audience to pre-tape Season 16's semifinals, as opposed to airing live the next day. The following day would see the coaches perform live at NBC's Upfronts, so all convened on Mother's Day to tape the semifinals, instead.
But, according to sources acquired by TVLine, apparently, when taping began Adam Levine was in a bit of a mood. While this is all just a rumor at this point, the sources note that Levine made it known before the taping that he didn't want to be present, because by that point in the season, he didn't even have any artists left to coach / root for in the singing competition.
As taping got underway, though, Levine reportedly failed to soldier on like a good little trooper and was, according to one eyewitness "very difficult" for the whole of the show. This included him refusing many opportunities to comment on the other coaches' performers after they sang, and stating in front of everyone his disgruntlement over the Season 16 rule change that did not guarantee that each coach would enter the live playoffs with the same number of singers.
Now we come to the Upfronts the next day. All of The Voice coaches appeared on stage to perform a song together, but, allegedly, Adam Levine continued to show his feelings over said rule change and his lack of a team at that point in the season by coming on stage and phoning in a lifeless and "near-motionless" performance. In case you were wondering, word of this supposed slight didn't have to get back to the bigwigs at NBC. Oh, no. They were all right there in the audience.
Multiple sources told TVLine that Paul Telegdy, NBC's co-chairman of entertainment, was very unhappy with what he saw, with one such insider noting that he was "embarrassed" and "furious" that Levine would dare to display such an attitude to the people (i.e. advertisers) who actually pay for his salary. While reports then differ on what supposedly happened next, seeing as how Levine had been announced to return for Season 17 on May 10, obviously something went down to cause his exit, which was announced May 24.
Levine has been on the fan's radar for possible replacement since an incident in Season 15 where he basically threw one of his own teammates under the bus to save a different one. After that, he began to get flack this season for taking his usually innocent "feuding" with Blake Shelton too far, and for becoming unusually quiet and withdrawn once his entire team was eliminated.
While it seems that NBC was interested in keeping Levine around despite these issues on The Voice, his departure may have come down to him taking the complete loss of his team way too far by not coming to play at Upfronts.
So, is there any truth to this rumor? Adam Levine has only said the best things about his fellow coaches and everyone else who's been involved with The Voice over the years, and no one has come out publicly to say that his performance at Upfronts was the reason he's not coming back for Season 17, so, right now, we don't know for sure. The only thing we do know is that the heat between real life couple Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani needs to be palpable when she returns to take over for Levine, because otherwise we sure will miss that bromance.