It was a surprise hit last spring, even as a resurgent American Idol was reaching its climactic finale. And it's back next month with the best launching pad on television: the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.
NBC's reality show The Voice returns with a second season of swivel-chair "blind auditions," mentoring coaches and elimination rounds, with Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton vying for their favorites. (The show moves to its regular slot, Mondays at 8 ET/PT, on Feb. 6).
Simon Cowell, famously acerbic on Idol, has become nicer on his new Fox series The X Factor, and that show did not match his lofty predictions. Says Voice producer Mark Burnett: "The lesson there is say less about your big predictions."
But Voice judges, not known for their harsh words, promise they'll find more of their own voices in the second season, even as they claim the caliber of talent has increased sharply.
"This year we are diving more into critiquing it," says Aguilera. "We're finding our own comfort zone."
But "there's a difference there between being critical and being willfully mean," Levine says. "Using the tactic of, 'Oh, you were terrible' doesn't get us anywhere."
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