'The Voice' Alters Format, Opens Door for New Judges Next Year

The judges- Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine Finale of The Voice on May 8th, 2012.

For its third season, "The Voice" will see a shake-up in its early rounds that allows coaches to claim discarded competitors and forces singers to show off their skills without the assistance of mentors.

The singing competition show, which begins airing Sept. 10 on NBC, has added an element called "The Steal" that comes into play after a coach has cut a singer. Competitors will again go head-to-head in battle rounds and each coach -- Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton -- will decide to keep one of the two singers. The released singer is then fair game for the other coaches to claim.

As usual, each coach starts with 16 singers selected with their backs to the performers. The battle rounds get their pools down to eight; each coach will add two singers from the other coaches' discard piles.

To whittle each team to five singers, the performers will go into a Knock-Out Round. Each singer chooses their own song and performs while the next contestant is seated on a stool in the boxing ring they use for a set. It will then go into live competition shows, beginning at the end of October.

"It's a brilliant piece of TV," Levine said Sunday afternoon (Aug. 12) at a press gathering in Malibu for the show.

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Host and producer Carson Daly pointed to two battle rounds of the the first two seasons that saw legitimate contenders get cut and likened the new set-up to fantasy football. "It becomes an incentive to look at your team and the rest of the league," he said.

To illustrate the point, footage shot over the weekend was screened that shows two singers -- one male, one female -- belting out the Mariah Carey hit "Vision of Love." It was a tough call for Green to make and after he made his selection, the other three coaches buzzed in to scoop up the cut singer.

Burnett hinted that season three may be the last time the inaugural four are together. None of them are signed to contracts for the fourth season and it's highly likely the show will return in the spring when all four might have touring commitments.

"It's your seat for life," Burnett said, making a promise to the coaches that any replacements would be only for a season. "If someone goes on tour, they can help bring in another coach." While the show certainly benefits from having four active performers on it, Burnett emphatically said, "This is the producers' nightmare … They have tour dates and they have an obligation to their fans."

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Aguilera, who is preparing for the release of her next single "Your Body," put an extra spin on it, saying that having new experiences in making records and touring allows them "to bring fresh advice" to young singers.

Naturally, Aguilera was asked about Britney Spears appearing this fall on "X Factor"and she was gracious noting that their careers constantly cross paths and she know "welcomes her to the family" of singers working in television. "She'll give great advice," Aguilera said before adding, "I don't know formats of the other shows."