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Gwen Stefani joining ‘The Voice’

- April 18th, 2014

Gwen Stefani may actually be a “hollaback girl” after being called in to replace Christina Aguilera on The Voice next season.

According to TMZ’s inside sources, NBC and The Voice’s show runners began looking for a big name star to take over for Aguilera after the singer announced she was pregnant.

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Aguilera allegedly wanted to stay on throughout the duration of her pregnancy, but ultimately stepped back from the position after she began to feel waned down.

TMZ also reported that Stefani, who gained recognition for fronting the popular ’90s alternative band No Doubt before emarking on her solo pop career, had only signed a contract for the eighth season, and Aguilera had already signed on to take over for the following year.

The next season of NBC’s popular singing competition begins filming in June. NBC had no comment on the news at the time of this posting.

Christina Aguilera didn’t exactly “binge watch” The Voice when she wasn’t on it

- July 28th, 2013

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – While Christina Aguilera remained very complimentary of The Voice, apparently she didn’t spend a heck of a lot of time watching when she was off the show last season.

“I caught an episode of last season, and I was just like, ‘Oh, my God, I can see why people like this,’” Aguilera said at the Television Critics Association tour.

An episode? As in, one episode? That’s it?

You might think Aguilera didn’t mean it literally, but later she added, “Thank God for Shakira. She did a beautiful job. You know, just sweet, lovely energy, and lovely for the show. And Usher apparently came and stepped up with a lot of creative stuff. I’ve yet to watch back the episodes. Maybe I can check out what happened there.”

Both Aguilera and Cee Lo Green are returning to The Voice this fall for its fifth season on NBC and CTV, rejoining fellow coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Shakira and Usher stepped in for Aguilera and Green when they took season four off, but Shakira and Usher will be back again for the sixth season of the show next year.

Members of Shelton’s team have won The Voice three seasons in a row. He’s currently on tour and wasn’t with Aguilera, Green and Levine when they spoke with reporters, although Levine observed, “(Shelton’s) lying. He’s at home.”

Aguilera said. “Well, I understand that I am coming back to The Blake Shelton Show at this point. He’s like, ‘I’m so glad that you re-signed your contract with me.’ It’s hilarious.

“I think we can all agree it’s the contestants that do win at the end of the day, and not us (the mentors). But you know, if anybody were to win three in a row, I mean, Blake keeps it funny with his trophies.”

The one time the panel session got a little tense was when a reporter brought up Levine’s controversial comment that he “hates this country” when he was disappointed in a public voting result on the show. It turned into a bit of a Twitter and media storm.

“Welcome to my world, Adam.,” Aguilera said, referring to the pressure of people analyzing every word that comes out of your mouth.

Frustrated that he still was talking about it, Levine said, “You know, listen, everyone makes mistakes. If your intentions are good, if someone misunderstands you, regardless of what the scenario is, I think people can see through stupid media hype. No offence.

“If part of my personality is to say things that are going to piss people off sometimes, then fine. That’s okay with me.”

The mentors and host Carson Daly also were asked why The Voice hasn’t produced a post-show star yet.

“What’s really the definition of ‘success?’ ” Aguilera asked.

Daly added, “I’ll put it in perspective. Danielle Bradbery won last year. Danielle Bradbery is 16 years old. She has eight years to figure it out, her voice, an album, whatever it might be. And in eight years she’ll be the same age as Taylor Swift is right now. She’s got time.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

The Voice: My embarrassing personal awakening

- December 16th, 2012

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Judge not lest you be judged? Hardly.

Perhaps the best way to gauge what reality-competition television shows do for the careers of their hosts is to analyze it on a really personal level.

The hottest reality-competition series right now is The Voice (NBC, CTV), and I’ll be 100%, embarrassingly honest about it.

The background: I’m a big music person historically, but because my job focus these days is TV rather than music, my musical world is limited to the music I prefer – like any average fan – rather than keeping up on the entire industry. So …

1) I had never heard of Blake Shelton before he was a judge on The Voice. Recently during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live broadcast (CBS, Global), Shelton got nominated for something, and I was like, “Hey, the guy from The Voice.”

2) While I had heard of the band Maroon 5, I did not know Adam Levine’s name, and I could not have picked him out of a police lineup before he was a judge on The Voice. Now, when I see him performing, as I did on the Grammy noms show, or in a recurring role on American Horror Story: Asylum (FX Canada), I think, “Hey, it’s that Moves Like Jagger guy from The Voice.”

3) I vaguely was aware of Ce Lo Green before The Voice, but I initially thought his performing name was Gnarls Barkley. Turns out that was a musical duo, of which Green was one-half (the shorter half, I presume). But I knew the 2006 song Crazy, which was everywhere.

4) Of course, I was well aware of Christina Aguilera (pictured above) long before The Voice. But admittedly, that had more to do with her, um, “assets” than her music. To this day, I don’t think I could name one of her songs. Nothing against her, it’s just not my genre.

The wider point being, with the music business essentially in the toilet, there is definite value for Shelton, Levine, Green and Aguilera – and their cohorts on other reality shows – to appear on these projects, at least for a year or two.

It keeps their names “out there.”

There isn’t a direct impact on CDs any more, with sales of actual physical CDs dwindling every day. But when you’re talking about touring, or appearances on other TV shows or in movies, either as themselves or as actors, any added “face time” with the public provides a leg up on the competition for a piece of an ever-shrinking pie.

Being on a high-profile reality show sends the message that you’re “relevant” – not necessarily to people who keenly follow modern music, but more to the vast majority of the population that follows music only casually or peripherally.

You know, people like me.

I know who Blake Shelton and Adam Levine and Ce Lo Green are now. And Christina Aguilera, you just keep doin’ whatever it is you do.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv