As told to Marc Snetiker:
What you’re seeing is a perfect snapshot of the amount of bickering and play fighting, and some of it gets escalated. I noticed last night Blake and Christina starting to go at it. That’s something we didn’t see season 1; they really didn’t go at each other, and Christina had her hands full with Adam in particular. Next week, there’s a whole Christina/Cee Lo thing that’s out of left field. You never would think they would go at it. There’s a lot more this season — we’re seeing a different dynamic. I feel like they know each other a little bit more, and so they’re testing their relationship as a coach and as peers in the business and “friends.” It’s playful, but it’s highly spirited and it’s very competitive.
If you like the coaches going at each other, it’s next week, and it’s from an unlikely place. Without giving anything away, Cee Lo and Christina have a few exchanges that took us all by surprise, and I think people will be talking about it. You start to feel the heat of the blind auditions, and it’s the episode where the stakes really start to show through. The teams are filling up, and the coaches are more picky than ever. The emotions are higher, the stakes are higher. There are some tough no’s next week, and I think the coaches blow it on somebody in particular that I was very surprised at. This week, the theme was that the gloves were on and they were definitely going toe-to-toe. But next week, the gloves are off between the coaches.
They’re being really, really picky, and what happens when they’re really picky, when they only have a few spots left, is that good people don’t make it. Sometimes they just panic and press their buttons on voices that, in that split second or in that two minutes, they feel has something special, and maybe it pans out and maybe it doesn’t. If more than one chair turns, I think people are really responding well to the power shifting to this person.
Pip’s a good example. He wears a bow tie and his name’s Pip. But he went out there and really commanded the room, with his “House of the Rising Sun” rendition, which I thought was really, really great. It was a dominating performance from an unlikely source. So here’s Pip, who his whole life has never had control over anything, including his own nickname, and now he’s telling four of the biggest names in music. The power shifts to him and he gets to ask them questions.
The thing that struck me most about James Massone that I could relate to was how much his family meant to him. My dad is in a family business — he has a men’s clothing store — and James’ dad had the auto shop in Boston for 60 years. They were the tightest family unit I’ve seen yet on The Voice. They came in very, very close, and there was so much support for James. James is a good example that if you want it bad enough, you can almost will a chair to turn around, because he really gave it his all out there. He was so grateful and so emotional and he really wanted this so bad.
Erin Martin is somebody who, if you looked at her, obviously she might have star potential. We have yet to really see her ability, and that may come back to bite Cee Lo… but it might not! We’ve seen that people do mature. Last season, people that I thought were marginal, once they go through this coaching stuff, really do get better. And Jordis Unga got a warm welcome. The female rock thing is not a commodity — it doesn’t happen that much. There are not a lot of women coming out there really just wanting to rock the stage, so when the coaches hear that, their ears really perk up. It’s something that diversifies their team, which Christina is really doing this year. They pay really close attention to it.
On the diversity of this year… we had Chris Mann last week doing that opera. I love that about the show. It showed through a little bit last night with Moses Stone, who’s our first MC that made it to Team Christina. We’re seeing a lot of really great diversity, and once the dust settles, these four coaches are going to have 12 really, really great, strong and unique artists heading into the battle rounds.
A lot of people react to my time with the families. There are a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but my objective is to make sure that they’re comfortable. You want people to feel welcome. It’s important to me — it’s important to all the producers of the show, actually — that this become a really wonderful experience for people and not just a cattle call. I want them to feel like this isn’t just a TV show taping. They’re not just a number; they’re all potential artists to us. I’m rooting for them, all of them.
Probably what I’m most proud of, being a part of this show, is that my parents and my son, who’s 3, and my girlfriend and my best friend were all sitting around watching The Voice last night. I really was proud of the family television part of it. It means a lot to me. Television gets so racy these days — it’s a really hard thing to do to be cool and popular, and I feel like The Voice really captures both of those things.