The gang is back together on the newest season of “The Voice” — Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green have rejoined Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in their spinny red chairs for the fifth season of NBC’s reality hit. While the first four winners haven’t exactly made a huge splash in the music industry, that’s no matter for the coaches’ panel, who will try yet again to find the next big singing superstar when “The Voice” returns on Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on NBC.
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Want to know what’s in store for the new season? Aside from more arguments, more of Blake’s solo cups o’ booze, and more uber-talented contestants with tear-jerking backstories, here are five things to expect from “The Voice” Season 5:
1. Familiar Faces. Although the new energy provided by first-time judges Shakira and Usher was certainly welcomed in Season 4, there’s something nice about having the original lineup reinstated. Green’s wacky energy (and even wackier costumes) couldn’t be replicated, and the bickering between Aguilera and the boys was definitely missed. Don’t worry — Shaki and Urshur have already signed on for Season 6, in case you miss them too much. One person you won’t see? Social media correspondent Christina Milian, who’s competing on “Dancing With the Stars” this season instead.
2. New Mentors. The four coaches have each recruited a top musician to advise their teams during the battle rounds, and there are some very interesting pairings in the mix — well, most are pretty normal — but there’s one head-scratcher courtesy of the drunkest reality judge currently on TV. In the “sure, that makes sense” column are Levine with One Republic’s Ryan Tedder; Green with Best R&B song Grammy-winner Miguel; and Aguilera with British singer/songwriter (and possible Taylor Swift boyfriend) Ed Sheeran. In the “whaaaaat?” column is Shelton with … Cher. Yeah, that Cher. This will be some glorious television.
3. More Format Tweaks. While the auditions and the live shows will adhere to the same format we’ve seen four times over now, the middle rounds are where the producers are happy to experiment. The battle rounds are still there too, but we could a new wrench thrown in the mix, especially since the experiment that led to the steal turned out so well. “If we do see a drop-off [in ratings], we reserve the right to introduce a new feature to the format that breathes new life into it,” host Carson Daly told reporters during a panel for the show at the 2013 Television Critics Association summer press tour.
4. A Superstar — or Maybe Not. Compared to the “American Idol” alumni, none of the “Voice” winners have yet been able to find Kelly Clarkson- or Carrie Underwood-level success in the music industry. But Levine argues that finding the next sensation is not necessarily the goal of “The Voice.” “I think it would be nice if we were to launch a huge star,” Levine told reporters this summer, but “a lot of things have to happen in order for that to take place. I think the goal of the show is to do what we can do for these amazing singers while they’re on the show. … I think that we all know that that the lightning in a bottle you have to capture in order to be successful in this business is extraordinarily difficult. I’m not sure that that is the overall mission statement of the show.”
5. A New Sidekick? Now that Green is back in his red chair, it’s time to speculate what kind of animal friend he’ll bring with him. Season 2 saw Purrfect the Cat meow on his lap during auditions, while Lady the Bird perched on his shoulder during Season 3. What kind of buddy will he bring for Season 5? A reptile seems like a good fit, but who knows if this season’s budget allows for animal wranglers at all. We’ll find out when “The Voice” returns Sept. 23.
“The Voice” returns on Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on NBC.