The Voice – Battle Rounds and Cool New Steals
By: Lynn Barker
This 3rd season, NBC’s vocal competition show “The Voice” adds a new twist. When artists compete by “dueting” in the Battle Rounds, starting Monday night, one of the other coaches can opt to add the “loser” to their team. If more than one coach wants the artist, the singer can choose whose team to join. It gives artists one more chance to stay on the show and capture their dreams.
Kidzworld is on the Universal lot in Hollywood to get the deets from coach CeeLo and host Carson Daly and ask for personal memories, plus, we got to see Monday’s show early and wow, the pairings are awesome. You get some of the best and most equally-balanced Battle Rounds ever.
Kidzworld: CeeLo, which artist that you have picked for your team has been the best match for your special brand of coaching? Who did you click best with?
- CeeLo: Well, just here recently, we just picked up Juliet Simms, and she's under my management now. And so I have truly kept my word and remained committed to everyone. I'm actually doing a Christmas special; next week I'm filming. And so I've invited about 19 people. All of my people are coming from Season 3 as we stand, and I'm going back to Season 1, getting Nakia, Niki, Vicci, Jamar, Cheesa, Tony Vincent, Nakia.
- Carson: You're like George Foreman having to name all his children. It’s impressive.
- CeeLo: (laughs) We're going to come and share that spotlight and that success and the Christmas season, so I think people should check that out too. But I'm doing my part to really, really endorse and continue to do my best to push them forward. But, Juliet Simms to answer your question, though, yeah, that’s my girl.
Kidzworld: How has the new “Steal” worked out for you? How did that idea come about?
- Carson: A couple of things happened. Early in Season 1, we noticed, as producers on the show, with Niki Dawson and Vicci Martinez and their particular battle round in Season 1, they had this incredible performance. It made for great TV for us.
It was a great moment for everybody but CeeLo, who had pitted them against each other, and he ultimately had to say goodbye to one of them. And as Niki Dawson walked out of the room, I think we all went “She has such a great talent, wouldn't it be interesting if there would be a way to keep her?” And cut to Season 3, The Steal enables us to offer a second shot if another coach is so inclined. We also saw the other coaches sort of salivating as Niki was walking away. I think, like Fantasy Football, The Steal enables all of the coaches to be incentivized, to keep their eye on all of the teams, all the contestants, which is great ultimately for all the contestants, because our coaches care about all of them, not just their team. I think you'll see the steals added a level of intensity, because you see the coaches light up. When we shot it, it was like Gladiator. I mean, people went nuts and it felt right.
- CeeLo: And that's when some of that friendly competition does kick in. Because it's like “Great, now I get a chance to work with someone and I thought, initially, that I could do a better job with them anyway”.
Kidzworld: Carson, you're backstage a lot in the blind auditions with the families and friends. These folks get really wild and emotional. What is that like for you?
- Carson: It's one of my favorite things. As I read my Twitter thread, it's the thing that connects most people to me. I feel so much a part of these families. I see my dad in the dads. I see my grandmother in the grandmothers. We invite these talented people and their families to come down here on this lot, in these four walls, and I want them to feel at home. And this experience in this room, watching their loved ones sing in front of these coaches, it's a lot of high highs and lot of low lows, and I'm just screaming "Turn your chair, CeeLo!" I mean, it's real emotional for me.
Kidzworld: Any particular funny or sad memory?
- Carson: There's been everything. I had one woman get so excited. She was holding her newborn and she was so excited cheering for her sister that she just said, "Here, Carson," and she handed me the baby. And I was actually expecting my baby, so I took it as training for a new kid. We run the gamut of moments where I'm proud and happy for them and moments where I'd say, "Hey, come back and try this again."
Kidzworld: Speaking of babies, how is everything going at home and will there be a nursery backstage?
- Carson: We bring all of our families, so yeah, we're going to have to address that. But, yeah, Etta Jones, my daughter, was born a month ago yesterday. She's great. She's eating constantly so we're not getting a whole lot of sleep, but it's been amazing.
Kidzworld: How does your little son react to you being on the show?
- Carson: My son Jack is three and a half, goes to all the shows. He calls it "The Big Hand Show." So, he's excited to take "baby sissy" to “The Big Hand Show”. And we're excited that NBC has ordered so many episodes of Big Hand Show, so my children will be growing up and we'll feel lucky to be able to do that. She's doing great.
Kidzworld: There is not only competition among the artists but the coaches too. CeeLo how does that work to the advantage of the show?
- CeeLo: I believe that there's enough variety to distinguish us. But we do share a creative space here at "The Voice." Particular contestants that may choose Christina, that may be going for her for her immense ability to be technical. She's classically trained. And if someone doesn’t feel that ideal or they feel a little eccentric and they know that about themselves, then they know they can seek solace in me. Blake is the only authority on country music here at "The Voice," so all the country artists go to him. But I have had a country artist on my team before. The reward is in the risk you take, you know? We truly do coexist and we don't really compete.
Kidzworld: With the addition of The Steal this season, do the judges get the chance to look at any of the footage shot during the training with the other teams and see what's going on, who's having problems, who's doing well? Or are you guys just basing it off the auditions originally and then the Battle Round?
- CeeLo: As rare as it is, it's completely honest and completely organic. We have no prior knowledge of anything or anyone. I'm proud to say that.