"American Idol" may have Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, but soon it won't be the only TV singing competition with two marquee-worthy music stars above its title. After weeks of negotiations, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine have signed on to help judge the upcoming Mark Burnett-produced NBC reality show "The Voice."
According to Entertainment Weekly, "The Voice" plans to steal some thunder from "Idol" when it launches with a two-hour program on April 26, which would put its debut near the end of the season 10 run of "Idol." The new show will then shift into its regular time slot on May 10 at 8 p.m.
"I am so happy that Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green have joined the coach panel for 'The Voice,' " Burnett told EW. "Aside from being incredible voices, they bring years of experience in the music industry and a really cool vibe that has never been seen before on a music competition series."
Even with the signing of the two contemporary music stars, there are still two judge/coach seats left to fill. Speculation continues to swirl around Christina Aguilera as a possible panelist, though the singer's reps have not commented on the rumors. "I was absolutely thrilled to be invited by Mark Burnett to join 'The Voice' as a coach," Levine said in a statement. "I look forward to working with these singers and helping them push forward throughout the competition to make their musical dreams become a reality."
Cee Lo expressed similar enthusiasm for his first TV gig in a statement that read, "It's an honor for me to be able to help mold a malleable and new talent in such a fashion as 'The Voice' ... Being a coach on 'The Voice' is a substantial responsibility, and I take it with sincerity and distinction."
Seeming to take a little poke at the sell-by dates of the new "Idol" judges, NBC's Executive VP of Alternative Programming Paul Telegdy said his goal was to sign marquee performers who are also popular with fans now and, let's say, younger than someone like the 62-year-old Tyler. "Not to diminish other people on other shows, but it's a different job to break through the clutter now than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago," Telegdy said.
Hosted by former MTV personality and late-night talker Carson Daly, "The Voice" is based on the hit Dutch program "The Voice of Holland," which strays from the traditional singing-competition format.
"The Voice" will feature a panel of four celebrity judges who will sit with their backs to the talented hopefuls in order to focus on their vocals rather than their physical appearance. If they approve of the audition, the judges will push a button that will send the competitor to the next round, claiming them as one of their students. In the case where more than one judge likes the singer, then the competitor gets the opportunity to choose between judges.
Once the teams are chosen, the celebrity judges will mentor their contestants and eventually duel the teams against each other, with viewers picking the winners. NBC has announced that for those potential singing stars who can't make it to the auditions, the reality competition also will let hopefuls try out for "The Voice" via webcam.
How do you think Cee Lo and Levine will do as panelists on "The Voice"? Share your opinions in the comments.