HomeEntertainment'The Voice' is in its 25th season. John Legend, Gwen Stefani...

‘The Voice’ is in its 25th season. John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Carson Daly reflect on the show’s staying power and why its ‘real DNA’ has never changed

When The voice premiered on NBC in the spring of 2011, the move was not without risks.

The television landscape for singing competition shows at the time was largely dominated by American Idol, still popular on Fox. There was also a plethora of programs with a similar theme, such as The X Factor And The Glee Project with the aim of capturing a piece of the musical pie. Adding to an already cluttered climate of music competition shows seemed like a minimal return on investment.

The gamble paid off.

Almost 13 years later, The voice is deep into its 25th cycle and shows no signs of slowing down. Despite traditional television’s ratings steadily declining as audiences’ viewing habits evolve in the streaming age, the eight-time Emmy winner has proven his staying power and become one of network TV’s most consistent powerhouses.

The voice was among the top 20 most-watched shows during the 2022-2023 television season, beating Idolnow on ABC, in total viewers.

“When we launched, American Idol was so strong. The marketplace for television singing competitions was full,” said Carson Daly, host and executive producer of The voice, told Yahoo Entertainment. “People thought we were crazy to put on another singing show. They thought we might only last a year. It’s ironic that it lasted 25 seasons.”

Executive producer Audrey Morrissey credited The votes sustainability to the unique format, in which the coaches are the gateway for viewers and pure talent is put in the spotlight through the blind auditions.

“What people come back for is entertainment, whether they like the coaches or the banter and jokes — all of that was unique,” ​​she told Yahoo Entertainment. “From the beginning, coaches compete to field teams; they all want to win. Ultimately, people love a good underdog story and want to see deserving, talented people excel. They want to see them grow and achieve great performances.”

Why ‘The Voice’ it’s noticable

Adapted from the Dutch format from 2010 The voice of the Netherlands, The voice differentiated itself from its competitors by focusing on the voices of aspiring participants, without any visual bias. During the blind auditions, the singers had the upper hand, showcasing their vocal and musical talents in hopes of a red chair turn from one (or all four) of the coaches.

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Some competitors were so impressive that it took just seconds for that to happen, like Jesse Campbell’s five-second turn in Season 2.

Combined with the power of a dynamic coaches panel, The voice had the key ingredients ready to outpace the competition.

In the early seasons, when the show was still in its infancy, attracting superstar coaches was not easy.

“Early in Season 1, no one knew what the show was, so that was really the big test: who was going to do it and why?” Morrissey recalled.

“It was very difficult to find people at first,” Daly added.

The first three seasons of The voice featured a coaches lineup of Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. They “set the tone for what the show would become and still is,” Morrissey said. “Those original four were truly magical.”

From left: Blake Shelton, Carson Daly, Christina Aguilera, executive producer Mark Burnett, CeeLo Green and Adam Levine, seen on the set of The Voice.

From left: Blake Shelton, Carson Daly, Christina Aguilera, executive producer Mark Burnett, CeeLo Green and Adam Levine at a press conference for NBC’s The voice. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The blind audition was tempting for many coaches The Voice has attracted over the years. It reminds us that the first interaction one usually has with one’s music is often auditory.

“Barring a single one, everyone was intrigued,” Morrissey said. “You’ve got the signature sound, you’ve got the personality that comes through, and they all felt like that’s what the blind auditions were like. Then of course you turn the chairs and everything else comes along.”

John Legend joined The voice in 2019 during the 16th cycle, and after returning in 2024 from a hiatus, this will mark his ninth season as coach.

‘There’s nothing like it [the blind auditions] on every other show, and I think that’s the emphasis The voice has always made our show stand out,” Legend told Yahoo Entertainment. “It was such a cool way to experience listening to a singer by not looking at him and really focusing on what he sounds like.”

Gwen Stefani, who competed in Season 7 and has sat in the red chair for seven cycles (and served as an advisor twice), shared similar sentiments. “You connect with the person on stage purely because of their voice and how it moves you and the connection you feel that makes you press the button and turn around,” she told Yahoo Entertainment in an email.

John Legend and Gwen Stefani sit in their coach's chairs on The Voice.John Legend and Gwen Stefani sit in their coach's chairs on The Voice.

John Legend and Gwen Stefani. (Griffin Nagel/NBC via Getty Images)

Jordan Smith, who won season 9 of The voice in 2015, as a member of Levine’s team, he acknowledged that the show offered him an opportunity he wouldn’t otherwise have.

“I didn’t look like a pop star. I didn’t necessarily have that star quality that people look for as an artist,” the singer told Yahoo Entertainment. “The thought of being able to do a blind audition where my chances of success were based solely on my talent and the quality of my voice and not on what I looked like or where I came from was very appealing to me.”

What brings coaches, viewers back

In its early seasons, the show regularly averaged 14 million to 15 million viewers per episode. While the ratings may never return to those peak levels, the show is still scoring healthy numbers. The season 25 premiere drew 6.2 million viewers on February 26.

Since The voice‘s debut features an impressive stable of music stars and producers in the red chairs, including Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, Shakira, Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas and Usher. Mentoring hopefuls has been a big reason coaches keep coming back, hoping to pay it forward. Some even return to it The voice at different stages of their careers, Morrissey said.

“Someone like Gwen is a good example,” Daly said. “She likes to get to work The voice because she can help young girls and boys.

On his The voice It’s been a motivating and life-changing experience for Stefani, who met her now husband, Shelton, when they were both coaches. “The most memorable moment. It’s something I never expected,” she said. “There are so many wonderful memories we have together on the show, and it has been an incredible chapter in my life.”

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.

Stefani and her current husband, Blake Shelton, met on ‘The Voice’. (Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photobank via Getty Images)

Shelton was the coach with the longest tenure The voicewho remained on the show for 23 seasons before leaving in May 2023.

“Someone like Blake, who was on the show for 13 years, started the show and left the show at two very different places in his career,” Morrissey said. “There really does come a time when someone says, ‘I’ve lived my dream, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve done it all, and I’m excited to pay it forward and shine a light on all of you. ‘ I think that’s a big part of why they do it.”

That applied to Legend, who won The voice during his first season as a coach with folk singer Maelyn Jarmon.

“The opportunity to coach these artists, give advice, compete with those artists and hopefully create great entertainment for our audiences has been a lot of fun for me,” he said. “When they ask me to come back, if I’m able and my schedule allows it, I’m always excited.”

By updating the line-up of coaches, there were new reasons for the public to participate again.

“We felt like we could survive that [revolving door], and we used it as a sales tool,” Daly said. “We lose Pharrell, but we get Usher.” We just made that work for us.”

It also created a new dynamic and allowed coaches’ personalities to emerge. Morrissey recalled being surprised by Alicia Keys (“She was really silly and had a funny laugh – America got to see that”), who was a coach in seasons 11, 12 and 14, and Williams (“He’s a great personality , very funny, very competitive”), who was a coach in seasons 7 through 10.

“What makes a good coach is a good person,” Daly said. “Whoever you think is one of our best coaches, they are an extension of who they are. You can’t really be a coach The voice and pretend.”

‘We never changed the real DNA of the show’

Retain The voice relevant and engaging has been a constant learning process, say producers. Adjustments and additions to the general rules of the show were created to improve and develop the singing competition.

“I think it’s trying to pay attention to what’s going on around us in pop culture and making sure there’s an appropriate way to reflect that in the show,” Morrissey said, “while not taking your eye off the price of the fundamentals – the things you have to deliver: the right coaches with the right personalities and attitudes towards the show.

Daly credits the show’s format for its ability to withstand the competition.

“The format is so strong – stronger than any coach, any host, anyone. I think that’s why the show has been so successful,” he said. “We added the steals, we added the saves, we added the block. We changed the format to make it more interesting, but we never changed the real DNA of the show.

Daly is confident The voice has a long shelf life and says: “The show shows no signs of aging.

“People look at content differently,” he says. “Viewing figures have fallen across the board with traditional television viewing, but the way in which The voice gives people the feeling that it is still at an all-time high.”

The voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC

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