Christina Aguilera tells Lisa Donna Too what to expect from the third season of The Voice
THE idiom “love is blind” may be proven still, as the celebrity coaches of the hit TV show The Voice fall in love with the voices they hear and choose their singers “blindly” for their respective teams.
In the show’s “blind auditions”, as it’s called, contestants vie for a spot on the team by singing without being seen by the coaches who are seated on their chairs with their backs facing against the hopefuls. It’s one of the reasons why Christina Aguilera loves being on the show.
“It’s promoting and supporting upcoming talent that sometimes otherwise wouldn’t get to really show their voice because of preconceived notions,” she says in an interview to promote the show’s third season, scheduled to be aired here on Sept 16 over AXN.
Together with Aguilera in the show are celebrity coaches Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, who will pick their team of singers to battle it out with each other.
The show’s executive producer Mark Burnett, in a separate interview, elaborates that the blind auditions “replaced the need to find terrible singers and rip them up”. Fair enough.
Following the blind auditions, as the battle round ensues, coaches whittle down their teams of 16 to eight. New to this season, they’ll also get an opportunity to steal two singers from another team. Choosing whom to keep will be more agonising considering, the one you let go, may end up as the one that got away.
Burnett explains, “This year there’s much more at stake. When they have their battles and select one person to leave, the other coach can buzz in and steal that person that the coach has sent home.”
While there’s camaraderie and mutual respect between the coaches, it’s clear they are competing with each other to find “greatness”, as Levine put it. In stealing a contestant, the coaches essentially give singers second chances at being great.
As in previous seasons, each contestant is afforded extra guidance from the team’s guest mentors. Viewers will see some interesting contrast between coaches and their team’s mentor, namely, Green with rock recording artiste Rob Thomas and Shelton with Grammy-winning crooner Michael Buble. Aguilera is paired with Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, while Levine has Grammy-winning R&B singer Mary J. Blige on his team.
Also new to Season Three is the introduction of the “knockout” round. For the first time, singers get to pick their song. It’s shorthand for defining the kind of artiste they would like to be. On a stage akin to a glitzy boxing ring, teammates are paired up against each other, and try to knock out the competition with all their vocal strengths. Only five singers from each team will move on to the live shows.
Aguilera chats from Los Angeles:
In a career spanning almost two decades, at 31 years old, you’ve covered everything from music to fashion, philanthropy, film, and now, judge on The Voice. What made you decide to join the show initially?
It was Mark (Burnett) talking to me about the concept behind the show. I was so moved by the fact that the show was really judging people based only on their voice and it was a concept I hadn’t encountered before. It is also a chance for us to lift new talent up rather than tear them down. I knew I wanted to be part of something so positive.
With talent competition shows such as the The X-Factor and American Idol vying for viewer loyalty, how is The Voice different?
Our concepts and format are different so I see room for us all. We are a very different show.
Can we expect to see more of you singing on The Voice, perhaps the debut of your new single, Your Body?
Absolutely. I am so excited to share with you that I will be debuting Your Body on the show. Plus there are great coach group performances the fans will love.
During the blind auditions of The Voice’s previous seasons, it appears as if the judges are more enthusiastic upon turning their chairs to see a younger, more attractive contestant. Is it an instinctive nature of the music business that can’t be helped?
I don’t think that is true at all. I always think we are surprised to see what is behind the chairs and at times, Cee Lo jokes about the pretty girls but our goal is a GREAT voice.
Speaking of beautiful, how do you keep yourself in such super shape?
When I am not working, I try to work out and eat well but I am a firm believer in not depriving yourself and being kind to yourself no matter what.
And speaking of super, how do you keep your voice in top form?
I always keep myself hydrated, stay away from smoke and keep the air as clean as I can. Hydration and rest are the best thing one can do for a healthy voice.
Do you practise, vocalise daily, or it is all second nature by now?
Your voice is like any musical instrument. The more you warm it up and care for it, the better it performs, so certainly before I sing, I warm up with vocal exercises.
Any vocal tips for aspiring singers?
Know your range, study your idols and always do what you can to grow and learn.
Any beauty tips?
Keep your face clean before bed, don’t be afraid to play with make-up, and if you have an area of your face you particularly love then emphasise it.
Your work as the global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief has helped raised millions to feed the poor. While Xtina is a terrific pseudonym, could St Tina be your next re-invention?
The work I do with the World Food Programme is so important to me, so I appreciate you taking notice of that. Having a voice is wonderful but using it for good is something I take seriously. It is so easy to lose sight of what is important but giving back is something I teach my son (Max Liron Bratman) about as well.
While you are known as a vocal powerhouse, many of your fans may not know you as a survivor of domestic abuse. You’ve overcome your past to reach the pinnacle of success. How did you do it and what gave you comfort to get through it?
Music was my salvation and an outlet that really helped me through rough times. It allowed me to escape pain and I hope now, my music can do that for others.
Your seventh studio album is expected to be released this year. Will a world tour follow, and will you swing by Kuala Lumpur?
I sure hope so.
The Voice Season 3 premieres on Sept 16 at 8.10pm on AXN (Astro 701) and AXN HD (B.yond 721)
Aguilera (third from left) with other celebrity vocal coaches (form left) Levine, Green and Shelton