The Voice is NBC’s most successful reality show franchise on air, and the highest-rated musical competition currently on television. The premise of the series is simple: four celebrity judges (also known as “coaches”) listen to a contestant’s voice without seeing him or her, with each of the judges’ respective red chairs turned to the audience. As one of the judges becomes interested in a contestant, they press a button and have their chairs turn around to see the person. The contestants go on to join the judges in their teams, being coached by them throughout the competition.
The original lineup of judges and coaches was composed of Maroon 5’s lead vocalist Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton, pop star Christina Aguilera, and soul singer CeeLo Green, who was then best known for his work in Gnarles Barkley.
Throughout the seasons, however, the judging panel has rotated, bringing in other established musicians to coach The Voice contestants. Artists such as Shakira, Alicia Keys, Usher, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Hudson have all served as coaches on the competition, meaning Adam Levine and Blake Shelton the only two judges who worked in every single season of the series.
These are the 15 Secrets Behind The Voice That You Had No Idea About.
15 CONTESTANTS HAVE TO SIGN CRAZY INTENSE CONTRACTS
Generally, competition reality shows are known for protecting themselves from any liability when it comes to the contestants who are competing for the prize. Though that is true, it certainly looked really bad when a particular contract between The Voice and one of its contestants leaked on the Internet in 2014.
Among other things, the leaked document stated to contestants that “The show ‘may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing and may expose them to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation,’” and that “Contestants can be forced to undergo medical and psychological evaluations, and NBC is allowed to publicize the results.”
Again, it is standard practice for a reality show to protect itself from contestants who may want to sue the production team and network for this or that reason, but for a family-friendly show such as The Voice, the leaked document did not bode well, and seemed to go a tad too far.
14 WHY THEY REPLACE THE JUDGES SO MUCH
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have been coaches on The Voice for 13 consecutive seasons that aired in a span of 7 years. They reportedly make more than $13 million per season, and have become very expensive assets to NBC as the show ages and their salaries go up.
One explanation to the rotating chairs on The Voice is that NBC is constantly trying to cut costs when it comes to the judges, meaning that it is cheaper to bring new talent to the judging panel with each coming season in order to keep the show’s budget low.
Producers obviously have to pay Christina Aguilera – who has been a judge in 6 seasons – more than they would have to pay Gwen Stefani or Miley Cyrus, both of whom have only done 3 seasons. For the 13th season, Jennifer Hudson was brought in for the first time as a coach, also in an attempt to pay less to newcomers.
13 CHRISTINA AGUILERA FEUDS
Alisan Porter, who was on Christina Aguilera’s team, was the winner of season 10 of The Voice, which aired between February and May of 2016. After so many seasons trying to win the top prize, Christina Aguilera was celebrated, and her fate in the franchise seemed to have been solidified for many more seasons to come.
Then something weird happened: Aguilera never came back to the show.
Two years and three seasons later, Xtina is still missing from The Voice roster of coaches. Rumor has it that it is because of her alleged feuds with fellow coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
According to the reports, Shelton was obviously rooting for his newfound girlfriend Gwen Stefani to stay on the series, which rubbed Christina Aguilera the wrong way. Levine, who is close friends with Shelton, obviously also took Stefani’s side.
12 SEASON 1 WINNER GAVE UP HIS PRIZE
Since its inception, the big prize of winning The Voice is leaving the show with a record label contract. Winners are signed to Universal Republic Records, which is deemed as a huge deal for contestants who couldn’t previously make a living off of their music careers.
The truth, however, is that being signed to a record label is not a guarantee of success.
Ironically, the very first winner of The Voice eventually broke ties with Republic Records, citing an overwhelming disappointment with the entire process.
Javier Colon won The Voice season 1, and is often remembered for being the franchise’s first-ever winner. He signed to Universal Republic Records in June of 2011, as soon as his season ended. However, literally one year after signing to the label, Javier announced that he would no longer be attached to it, citing “the unforeseen bad marriage between the label and I.”
11 THE SEASON 6 VOTING GLITCH
The Voice’s season 6 finale faced a major voting controversy due to a problem that had little to do with the show: a glitch on iTunes.
If you watched The Voice during its early years, you probably remember that buying the show’s singles on iTunes counted as votes for the contestant whose single you purchased. During the season 6 finale, three contestants were battling for the top prize: Christina Grimmie, Jake Worthington, and Josh Kaufman. However, while Christina and Jake were battling it out on the iTunes charts, Josh was mysteriously not even on the Top 10, which was – according to Apple – a glitch on the iTunes platform.
Due to the iTunes glitch, all of those purchases (that would count as votes) had to be discounted from The Voice’s final calculation to choose a winner. In the end, ironically, the winner was Josh Kaufman, who was the biggest victim in the voting glitch.
10 GWEN STEFANI’S MARITAL DRAMA
Gwen Stefani joined The Voice as a coach during season 7, which aired between September and December of 2014. During that season, she brought on her then-husband Gavin Rossdale to serve as a secondary advisor to the contestants on her team. Gwen later admitted to the fact that she and Gavin “got in a little fight” about the whole situation, justifying that they had “only collaborated on babies before.”
Less than a year later, it was announced that they were separating.
Despite the fact that their divorce was only fully concluded in 2016, Gwen Stefani was quickly public about her newfound boyfriend: Blake Shelton, her fellow The Voice coach, who was also in the middle of divorcing Miranda Lambert.
It is definitely odd that Gwen was reluctant to work with her husband and then proceeded to date a co-worker, but hey, it all worked out in the end.
9 THE VOICE LIVE TOUR FAILED
From its very first season, The Voice was a massive television hit. So NBC had an idea that originally sounded brilliant: why not take the show on the road, featuring season 1’s contestants? And so The Voice Live on Tour was born.
During the season 1 finale, host Carson Daly announced a series of summer concerts, which later were named The Voice Live on Tour, featuring the top two finalists from each team. The tour would have six stops – Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Wallingford – and tickets were made available for sale almost immediately.
Though the New York stop sold out eventually, sales for the other five cities were lackluster, prompting the tour to be canceled altogether. An attempt to revive the idea was made in 2014, featuring contestants of seasons 5 and 6, but it was once again not received well by the public.
8 THE CEELO CONTROVERSY
Along with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green was part of the core group of four coaches that were featured on seasons 1, 2, and 3.
On season 4, which aired between March and June of 2013, Aguilera and Green decided to take a break, which created the tradition of rotating coaches sitting on The Voice red chairs. Producers of the show said that the two coaches would always have their spots whenever they felt like doing the show, regardless of what other artists came into the franchise to fill in for them.
But that promise quickly changed as, in 2014, Green found himself in the middle of assault accusations and was caught tweeting out things such as “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! So WITH implies consent”
Green’s last time on The Voice was season 5, which aired in 2013, before this controversy.
7 ELIMINATED CONTESTANTS DON'T EVEN GET TO SAY GOODBYE
According to former contestant Kat Perkins, it feels very “abrupt” when you’re eliminated from The Voice, because producers make you leave their set and the hotel they’ve given you almost immediately.
It is true that The Voice has professional psychologists on set to deal with the aftermath of one’s elimination, but according to reports, as soon as those psychologists deem that a contestant feels okay about being eliminated, that person is sent home immediately, not even getting a chance to say goodbye to fellow contestants, coaches, and production team.
There are obviously many logical reasons for this “abrupt” departure: The Voice has to keep costs low, and paying for the housing of an eliminated contestant doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, the show probably wants their ongoing contestants to remain focused on the competition, which means that interactions with eliminated singers are probably unwelcome distractions.
6 JUDGES PICK SONGS FOR CONTESTANTS
During the season 1 "Battle Rounds" phase of The Voice, contestants Tarralyn Ramsey and Frenchie Davis battled it out to Beyoncé “Single Ladies,” a popular song choice that was brought up by coach Christina Aguilera and the show’s producers.
According to Frenchie, however, she didn’t really understand that choice of a song, adding that it is “hysterical when the judges say, ‘I don’t think that was a good song choice for you,’ and I’m thinking, ‘You picked that song.’” She certainly made it sound like, sometimes, contestants have no alternative to the song chosen by producers on The Voice.
Despite her concerns, Frenchie won that "Battle Round" and advanced to the next phases on The Voice. She moved forward until the semi-finals, finishing that season in fifth place.
5 THE “WHOOSH” IS FAKE
One of the most recognizable and iconic elements of The Voice is the turning of the coaches’ red chairs, which is accompanied by a now-famous “whoosh” sound effect.
Despite what many thought, the “whoosh” does not happen as the chairs turn during the taping of each episode. It is a sound only added later, during the editing and post-production of The Voice, to create more of a dramatic effect during the turning of the chairs.
Though it is disappointing to know that the contestants don’t get to hear the “whoosh” in real time, it probably makes sense that the sound is only added later. The sound effect would probably be distracting to contestants performing songs - if facing a celebrity judge isn’t already disconcerting enough.
4 MONTHS OF TRAINING FOR THE SHOW?
Also according to season 6 contestant Kat Perkins, months can go by between the time a The Voice contestant receives an audition call and the time the person actually makes it to the Blind Auditions. Kat stated that contestants are trained to face all sorts of different situations: feeling sick on stage, fainting, reacting to failure or success, social media training, and even interview prep.
It is definitely not common for competition reality shows to help their contestants in such a comprehensive way. However, The Voice is known for being a reality series that aims to help talent fully realize their potential, so it makes sense that such training happens even before a singer actually makes it into the show.
3 KELLY CLARKSON LIKES THE VOICE BETTER
Season 14 of The Voice, premiering this February of 2018, is introducing a new coach to its lineup that has caused a stir among fans: singer Kelly Clarkson.
If you’re not familiar with Clarkson, here’s a quick roundup: the singer came to prominence for being the very first winner on American Idol, in 2002. As Idol is rebooted and has a 2018 airing date, many speculated that Kelly would be the perfect judge to join the revival, but instead went on to join The Voice as a coach.
Speaking about the matter with E!, Kelly Clarkson said that “a lot of people reach out to me to be a part of singing things,” but regarding The Voice, she stated that “I love this show, and I’ve been trying to be a part of it.”
2 FIRST FEMALE COACH TO WIN?
When Alisan Porter won The Voice on season 10 (which aired in 2016), a huge fuss was made about this being a groundbreaking moment. Alisan was on Christina Aguilera’s team, and that was the first time a female coach had won the U.S. version of the show.
However, the fuss was so great and the wording was so ambiguous that the show led many fans to jump to the conclusion that this had been the first time a female coach had ever won a The Voice series.
That's definitely not true.
On The Voice of Holland, for instance, coach Trijntje Oosterhuis won season 3 (aired in 2012). On The Voice Brasil, coach Claudia Leitte won season 2 (aired in 2013). A female coach won the first two seasons of the Canadian La Voix: Ariane Moffatt won season 1, and Isabelle Boulay won season 2.
1 THE SHOW'S BIGGEST SUCCESS DIDN'T EVEN WIN
By far, the biggest criticism in regards to The Voice is that, unlike American Idol and The X Factor, this show has produced virtually no mainstream superstar, despite having gone through 13 seasons in 7 years.
What makes matters even worse for The Voice is that the closest thing the series has to a superstar is singer Melanie Martinez, who was a contestant on season 3 that ended up being eliminated on Week 5.
It is definitely awkward that a singing competition TV show has yet to produce a single significant mainstream singer to the music industry, and that the closest it has ever gotten is with a contestant that was quickly eliminated. 13 winners with recording contracts later, the top The Voice contestants have yet to prove that their placement in the show can yield a solid career afterwards.
Do you have any The Voice trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!
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