In season two of NBC's "The Voice," the four teams will be expanded to 12 singers per coach, more blind rounds will air and the opening performance following the Super Bowl will be "kick-ass." Or at least that's what Christina Aguilera's take on the season.
Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee-Lo Green and Maroon 5's Adam Levine took their places in oversized red seats on "The Voice" set late Friday afternoon to give a rundown on what to expect in the coming season and provide an update on the first-go-round. Show producer Mark Burnett was on hand to add extra hyperbole, noting the chairs themselves were stars and that his daughter and her college-age friends talk about no other vocal competition show. The self-congratulatory mood reached its apex when the traditionally soft-spoken Shelton chimed in with "we're gonna make the Super Bowl look small."
Production has already begun on season two, which will premiere Feb. 5 after the Super Bowl, though the coaches were cautious about giving away too many details. "I have everything from an opera singer to a powerhouse MC to soul singers," Aguilera said, adding that the diversity and quality was stronger than the first go-round.
Shelton and Levine each gave examples of how not only did they have a greater understanding of how the process worked but so, too, did contestants. One singer who got several coaches to turn around their chairs to see them perform -- the sign that the singer is wanted for a team -- asked for guarantees beyond being drafted; the singer wanted judges' commitment to keeping them around for a few rounds. That gave the coaches pause.
"All of a sudden, we're the ones pitching ourselves," Levine said.
Perhaps the greatest surprise was the amount of involvement the coaches have had in the musical careers of the singers they mentored in season one. Levine said he sang on several songs for winner Javier Colon's album, which Universal will release on Nov. 22. Pharrell Williams produced the Levine and Colon tracks.
Shelton took his two finalists, Dia Frampton and Xenia, on the road with him and has worked on their albums. Frampton, who posted on Facebook last week that she has written 70 songs since the conclusion of "The Voice," plans to release a single, "The Broken Ones," in mid-November and her album in December. Xenia duets with Jon McLaughlin on the song "Maybe It's Over" and has an album in the works.
"Having been a guy who has done this for 10 years now, it's easy to get calloused," Shelton said at the event held on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif. "It's easy to forget what it's like to not have (success). Xenia and Dia rejuvenated me -- maybe that's why I got so attached to those two. They made me feel alive again."
Aguilera gave no details about her finalist, Beverly McClellan, who started recording in mid-October. Green's ace singer, Vicci Martinez is writing and recording with Peter Svensson, Tim Pagnotta and the Matrix team. She has created a contest inviting fans to help her name her album.
Burnett said it's highly likely Colon will return to perform on the show, but none of the performers addressed the question of whether they hope to unveil material during the show's run. That was a recipe for success last year as "The Voice" was the launch pad for Shelton's "Honey Bee," a country chart-topper, and the Maroon 5-Aguilera single "Moves Like Jagger," which hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 and is currently No. 3 in its 18th week on the chart.
"We'll have great fun with guest appearances throughout the season," was all Burnett would divulge about singing beyond the contestants