By JUDY SLOANE
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—This has been quite a week on NBC’s popular reality show “The Voice.” Last Monday, Christina Aguilera eliminated one of her singers, Jesse Campbell, from the competition, shocking her fellow judges, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and the show’s host, Carson Daly. The next day, following the sing-off from his singers, Erin Willett and Raelynn, Shelton decided who was staying, but it wasn’t an easy choice. He announced the eliminated contestant after the credits started rolling.
Green, Shelton and Daly came together at the historic Langham Hotel in Pasadena to speak with the press about their controversial week.
Front Row Features: When the contestants are forced into a sing-off at the end of each show, do you judge them on their entire time on the program or just on that performance?
Shelton: There’s no point of having a sing-off if you’re going to base your decision off the other episodes. That’s what sucks. They’re put into one of those battle rounds and I don’t like it. I think it’s a lot of pressure, and it’s hard for them. But one of them does better than the other.
Front Row Features: It seems you had a tough time making a choice. What went into your decision-making?
Shelton: I went into that show last week thinking I would probably pick Raelynn if (she and Erin Willett) did an equal job because, as a country artist, I feel like maybe I can help her along a little bit more. But erasing everything, I knew just listening to the sing-off, which is what that is, Erin had a better performance. I feel like my job sitting in that red chair is to do the right thing, and it wouldn’t have been fair to Erin for me to pick Raelynn based off the fact that she’s a country artist and she’s cute, because she just got out-sung.
Green: Some contestants show they have this infinite possibility about them. Some have promise and others are just a period. I hope that makes sense to you. What I’m saying is, you judge for what is possible. I think the show has a very optimistic approach.
Front Row Features: What do you think you contributing to the world of music through the show?
Green: I’m hoping that everyone appreciates the opportunity, as we do, because we’re artists as well, and this is quite a vehicle for exposure and carrying on with our careers, separately and associated with the brand of “The Voice.” So we can only hope that the contestants share that same winning, positive, optimistic attitude. If they do not, you’ll be able to see that, and that may have some effect on your relationship because it does get personal.
Front Row Features: Carson, what did you learn on your late night show that you applied to your juggling act as host for “The Voice?”
Daly: It really stems from my background in live radio and my work at MTV. “The Voice” is literally the perfect show for me. It just caters to everything that I have to say, it enables me to use my broadcasting skills. I’m very aware of all of our cameras, the timing of the show, the needs of the network, the needs of the producers, the needs of the artists, the needs of the coaches to have enough time to be able to articulate their thoughts.
Front Row Features: There have been time issues lately, like last week where Blake had to make the sing-off decision very fast. Are the judges told to keep their comments to a minimum?
Daly: You’re in that 11th act, and you have six minutes and 48 seconds left until you’re into “Smash.” We don’t tell the coaches what to say, and they are certainly caught with very heavy, dramatic and sometimes controversial decisions they’re about to reveal. You do the best you can to produce through that.
Front Row Features: What can you say specifically about Blake’s last-minute decision?
Daly: You really can’t produce the moment that Blake had this week. That’s the beauty of the live show, what’s fun about it, and it’s exciting for me. Last week, there (were people) watching “The Voice,” looking at their clocks going, ‘Oh my God,’ and then the credits started rolling. That’s exciting. He did manage through it, and everybody’s talking about it today.
Front Row Features: Last week Christina eliminated Jesse Campbell from the competition. How shocked were you about that, as many people believed he probably would win?
Daly: For me, seeing Christina eliminate Jesse, you could hear a pin drop. It was a “wow” moment on the show. I think that’s one of the great things about this show. Christina’s got a philosophy and a strategy where she wants people that she can continue to work with, and she let Jesse go into the world. The guy’s an incredible artist.
Green: We definitely don’t share the same strategy as coaches, and it was very unbelievable. It was awesome. Like wow. This is the guy that everyone (thought) would be the (winner).
Front Row Features: If you were contestants on the show, how do you think you would do?
Shelton: I think that Cee Lo would thrive on a show like this because he’s so versatile. He can do, and does, so many different things. I’m a one-trick pony. I think I maybe could get through the blinds and then I think I’d probably start sucking soon after that. But I really think that Cee Lo is the kind of person that can get up there and dominate on a show like this.
Green: I don’t know about that. It would be interesting, to say the least.
Shelton: He’d be pissed because they wouldn’t let him dress like he wants to.
Front Row Features: A few weeks ago there was a report that you were going to follow up this season with a fall season. Can you confirm or squash those rumors?
Daly: We’re certainly excited about the opportunity to put this show that so many people are so passionate about on again. At this point, we, on the production side, are all ready to go and excited by it. The truth is it’s really a call from the network that we haven’t gotten yet, but we obviously would be thrilled by that.