Televisa's 'La Voz' applies 'The Voice' formula to Mexico

Months before the Sept. 11 debut of "La Voz Mexico," executives from Mexican TV network Televisa and Universal Music Group were already having meetings about a second season.

It's a sign of how enthusiastic the two sides are about the prospects for Mexico's counterpart to NBC's hit singing competition "The Voice." Talpa Media Group of the Netherlands licenses the show's format in about 15 countries.

Universal executives helped vet the talent, selecting 48 contestants from an initial pool of 200,000 people who auditioned for the show. The winner of the program, who will be announced Dec. 18, will receive a recording contract that'll include three albums in a period of about five years, according to Universal Music Latin Entertainment president Victor Gonzalez.

The music that's heard on the show, he says, will also be released on iTunes Mexico and likely iTunes in the United States.

"We believe that the show will become a platform for discovering new talent," Gonzalez says.Televisa will continue supporting the winner in future seasons, Gonzalez says.

"La Voz Mexico" will feature one-on-one battle rounds and live showcases. Actress Lucero, singer/songwriter Aleks Syntek, regional Mexican crooner Espinoza Paz and Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz will mentor contestants. Each coach works with 12 singers in genres ranging from pop to rock and regional Mexican to jazz.

The mentors will also have "assistant coaches" joining them for a three-episode arc including pop singer Joy paired with Syntek, Spanish pop star David Bisbal with Paz, Mexican singer/songwriter Mario Domm with Sanz and in a twist, singer/actress Lucero with her reportedly estranged crooner ex- husband, the famed singer Mijaresjust one name each?.They announced their separation in March, then divorced, after 14 years of marriage.

"Our coaches are a big deal to the Hispanic community," says Miguel Angel Fox, executive producer of "La Voz," who has also produced Mexican versions of "Fear Factor" and "Big Brother."ho spent time on the set of NBC's "The Voice."

"The market is saturated with these shows, but 'The Voice' broke the mold. It's also done great things for the celebrity coaches involved. The NBC show has revived interest in Christina Aguilera."

"La Voz Mexico" will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. on Televisa, but will not have broadcast rights in the United States, Fox says. "If people have satellite television, they can watch. The show can also be seen on the Internet at LaVozMexico.com."

Sanz says that he chose to do "La Voz" after seeing the NBC version and realized that it nurtures talent in a gentle way. "My goal is to help the participants with their form of singing and help them find a way of putting soul into the music," he saysin a statement?.

-Justino Águila

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