Cee Lo Green had the chance to join Simon Cowell on his highly anticipated singing competition series, The X Factor, but he said no. Instead, he joined NBC's rival, The Voice. Why did he turn down one of the most famous judges in reality TV history?
"I was unfamiliar with the concept of X Factor," Green told reporters Friday at NBC's Summer Press Day. "I didn't see it as distinctive enough."
The Voice looks to have no such problem standing apart from those other singing competitions (read: American Idol). For one, don't expect any bad auditions that — thanks to William Hung — have become a trademark of Idol. "We made a conscious decision to not try to do that at all. Not one person stepped on that stage that wasn't good," executive producer Mark Burnett said. "I don't want to embarrass myself or [the judges]."
Also gone are the restrictions Idol places on contestants: The Voice will include singers that have previously signed record deals, singers that have been on tour and even singers that have been on other competition shows. Burnett said he wanted the show to be an equal opportunity for everyone, and that it felt wrong to discriminate against those who had tried before. "We decided let's just give people the chance," he said.
Aside from the competition between the aspiring vocalists, there will be also be some heated competitive fire between the four coaches panel, which also includes Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. If more than one judge wants to work with a contestant, the contestant then must decide which mentor to pick. [Each judge will mentor eight singers and then send four to compete in the final live rounds.] "That's a delicate thing. As an artist, I don't want to do anything that might hold somebody back," Shelton said of the fight to work with certain singers. "The only time you really see us go head to head is when you see someone that you really, really believe you can help."
Above all, Burnett is excited to see how his judges stack up against their Idol counterparts. "That was really, really important to me. We wanted to pick people who are at the top of their game," he said. "I think it makes a huge difference to the audience."
Burnett also said that the talent among the contestants will help The Voice stand out. "There's a big line between very good and great. And on this show, there are great people," he said.
The Voice premieres Tuesday, April 26 at 9/8c on NBC.