With the premiere of season 7 just a heartbeat away, the newbie and veteran judges of NBC’s hit reality competition reveal how they felt about working together… guess who squabbled with whom?
Will Season 7 be a lucky one for new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, who’ll take on returning — and winning — coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton? All will be revealed when new episodes of The Voice begin airing on September 22nd!
Two-time winner Levine is taking the addition of the Grammy Award-winning performers in stride, saying when he heard the names of the new coaches, he thought of them as more of a challenge than a threat.
“I never like to operate out of fear,” Levine says. “I wasn’t scared. I was excited. I was like, ‘Yeah, awesome. Amazing.’ Blake and I have been so lucky. You just never know what the chemistry is going to be like when people come in… And then these guys came in, and, instantaneously, we all just kind of congealed… the chemistry was so quick with all of us and immediate, so I wasn’t afraid of anything. I was really genuinely excited.”
Williams, too, is delighted about the opportunity to work on The Voice, especially since he’s enjoying the back and forth banter between Levine and Shelton as they select their teams. He says that alone would be enough to make him do the show. But he’s also sizing up how the two veterans operate.
“[Blake’s] way of competing is awesome because he’s just being so genuine the entire time,” Williams says. “It’s literally who he is on and off camera. His ability to peer into an artist and see their best … it’s the voice, and then there’s the thing that you have, and he just spots it. I’m definitely envious of that quality of his. And then Adam is like a wordsmith. He’s the guy that’s joking, and he’s going to poke fun, and he’s not going to allow you to sit still. He’s going to keep you going.”
Going into Season 7, Shelton says he doesn’t really have a strategy, like he did in Season 4, when his goal was to put together a great group of country artists, and produce a winner.
“There’s no way to do all country artists because you still have to hit your button and fill your team up with people you believe in,” he says. “I definitely was a little more lenient towards country artists that season just because one time I wanted to go, ‘You know what? I’m going to find a country artist, and I’m going to win this thing, and I did that with Danielle Bradbery. I couldn’t do it again.”
Interestingly enough, Williams and Stefani had previously worked together on the song “Hella Good” and recently reconnected at Coachella, but when it comes to The Voice, the two have no plans to team up. It’s every man or woman for himself, but Stefani has plans to lean on hubby Gavin Rossdale to work with her to mentor the talent.
“I went back and forth about having Gavin on because we have only collaborated on babies before,” she says jokingly. “I think that I was really nervous about just coming on the show and doing something so different, and I didn’t know what it was going to be, and when the mentor comes on, it’s right away… We got in a little fight about it the night before because I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can handle this. It’s just too much.’ Then I slept on it, and in the morning I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do this. It’s going to spice things up.'”
Other than the addition of Stefani and Williams, Season 7 is going to be structured the same as Season 6 according to executive producer Mark Burnett, who operates on the “don’t try and fix what’s not broke” premise. So if you’re looking for surprises, you’ll have to find them through the unscripted moments from the competitors and coaches.
To date, the success of The Voice has been more in ratings for NBC than in launching a major recording star like American Idol did with Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. But what it has done is added spark to the careers of its coaches. For example, Levine may not have launched his acting career without the exposure from the show, nor been named by People as the Sexiest Man Alive; plus there’s the news that Maroon 5’s new album V premiered at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
“When I met with Mark in his office four years ago, I didn’t want to do this at all and needed to be convinced, and I could never have imagined that the result of deciding to do this was going to be this amazing,” Levine says. “I just didn’t think it would snowball out of control like this. I wasn’t planning on it. It wasn’t deliberate. It just kind of happened so I’m still adjusting to it, but it’s crazy, and I never could have predicted that.”
The Voice returns for its seventh season on Monday, Sept. 22nd at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.