While there’s no longer a question as to whether or not American Idol can survive without Simon Cowell (it’s doing just fine if you haven’t noticed), Cowell’s highly anticipated X Factor isn’t the only upcoming series attempting to get a piece of the musical competition ratings pie. Tonight, in fact, NBC launches its latest entry, The Voice, which is based on the popular The Voice of Holland series in the Netherlands. The Voice differs from Idol in that it starts the competition with four coaches – pop songstress Christina Aguilera, singer/rapper Cee Lo Green, singer Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and country star Blake Shelton – merely listening and picking contestants without seeing their faces in order to each build a team of singers that will eventually battle each other to the finish.
And while that’s a novel way of launching the series, what comes after the contestants are chosen by the coaches? How does the talent pool get whittled down to just one winner who takes the title of The Voice as well as a recording contract and $100,000? And how well (or not) does the chemistry of these four very different superstars gel onstage? To find out the answers to these questions and much more, I talked to Executive Producer Mark Burnett who explained bringing the show to the States as well as why he thinks the show could unveil talents along the line of Idol alums Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
Jim Halterman: Can you tell me the origins of the show and your involvement with it?
Mark Burnett: From a background point of view, Paul Telegdy, [EVP of reality programming] at NBC and myself were working to come up with a talent show and we wanted to have teams of singers paired with celebrities but we hadn’t figured out the element of it and then Paul called me one day and said ‘Go online and look up ‘The Voice of Holland.” I did and we called each other back and said ‘I wish I’d thought of that because that’s what I was thinking!’ What it was specifically were these auditions which you do with the voice only and the backs turned and what nobody had seen…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE