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Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera Lend Expertise to NBC’s ‘The Voice’

Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton

Last night (April 26), finalists from auditions held around the country performed on the premiere of  “The Voice,” the new music competition hosted by Carson Daly.

The premise of the show and what makes it different from American Idol and other music competitions is that it is about showcasing real talent — the best voice, right attitude, unique sound and performances that make a lasting impression on the judges/mentors so that they will select the best voices for their teams.

The show features four megastar coaches who are some of the most talented in the industry today: Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. The show’s innovative format features three different stages of competition: the blind audition, the battle stage and, finally, the live performance where America will choose the person that will be named “The Voice” and one of the coaches will be credited with coaching the next great voice in the music world.

What I enjoyed most about the show was that, during the first phase of competition, the judges all had their backs turned to the contestants, forcing them to judge contestants solely on the quality of their voices, not their looks or performance techniques. It was just about the voice. There were several times during the show that more than one judge wanted the same contestants. In those cases, the contestant got to choose the judge with whom they wanted to work. That started the friendly competition and light-hearted teasing among the judges.

There were even a few familiar faces in the competition like Frenchie Davis, a former American Idol castoff and Broadway star of “Rent.” She sang Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” and, though the judges thought she could sing, it took a while before Aguilera finally turned around, but all you need is one. Another music industry veteran was a part of the auditions last night, and that was 33-year-old Javier Colon who wowed all four judges with his soulful rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s hit, “Time After Time.” He seemed to have the judges’ ears from the start.

“It was so perfect, but it was also tasteful,” chimed Levine while Aguilera remarked, “I know it would be amazing to take you under my wing.” Having tried his hand at the business before, some may remember Colon was signed to Capitol Records in 2003 and had a hit single titled “Crazy.” Though he was not successful in terms of record sales, he definitely has fans already, including myself. Colon eventually chose Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, to be his mentor.

Overall reality show mega-producer Mark Burnett seems to have yet another hit television show on his hands, and I can’t wait to see next week’s episode. You can catch “The Voice” on NBC on Tuesdays 9 p.m. EST/ 8 p.m. CST.  –christa e. jackson