*Tonight marks the first battle round on NBC’s “The Voice,” which means celebrity guest-mentors – including veteran vocalist Lionel Richie, singer/songwriter Jewel, “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson and country star Miranda Lambert – will make their debuts on each of the four teams.
The choice of artists, according to judge/coach Christina Aguilera, boiled down to getting people who are not just musically talented, but also have particular skill in dishing out advice.
“A lot of artists in the business are true artists in the sense that that’s all that they do, and they’re great at being that. But it does take a certain level of skill and approachability to be able to know how to go into a situation and coach an up and coming artist,” Aguilera told TV critics at the TCA Winter Tour. “And so I really wanted to choose people who I knew were going to be good at giving the advice, who have had the experience. I mean, who better than someone as classic and legendary as Lionel Richie, and then you have Jewel, and it’s really nice because we all get very different perspectives, bringing in all different kinds of genres.”
Judge/coach Blake Shelton said of his wife Lambert, “For me, it was a no brainer – not because of Miranda being my wife. It was that I chose Miranda and Kelly Clarkson because they both survived reality talent television shows. A lot of people don’t realize Miranda was on a show called ‘Nashville Star’ and placed third and managed to come out of that and get a record deal and build on her fan base. That she got through that show, and of course, we all know what Kelly did, to me, I just wanted somebody that could talk to them about what they’re going through a little bit about maybe being on television the first time and how to handle that and how to appropriate it.”
Other guest mentors include Alanis Morissette, Robin Thicke, Kenneth “Babyface” Evans and Ne-Yo.
In comparing the show to competitors “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” the coaches on “The Voice” pride themselves on being able to deliver criticism without being mean. Below, Cee Lo Green, Aguilera and fellow judge/coach Adam Levine explain why the very nature of their show makes the Simon Cowell-like shredding of a contestant unnecessary and counter-productive.