“The Voice” turns five, not in human years but in biannual TV season years. The music competition has officially been around long enough to make us nostalgic for the good old days, the simpler times before Usher and Shakira invaded our beloved coaches’ panel. And to reward us for the long wait, the old team has reunited! Starting Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on NBC, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera return to join their old buddies Blake Shelton and Adam Levine in their usual antics, and I cannot wait.
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I’m so excited to recap “The Voice” once again, after a rough season 4. It’s not that Usher and Shakira were bad mentors, but the chemistry of the original fab four just couldn’t be outdone. I missed Xtina’s overwrought eyeliner, I missed Cee Lo’s menagerie; her girl power, his out-there advice. Luckily, my prayers were answered.
I’ve been following the show from the start—and blogging it here for the last three seasons or so. I’ve devoted a lot of hours to “The Voice,” and plan to spend many more hours with it in the coming months. Let’s just say I have some opinions. So in the hopes that the producer gods somewhere are listening, here are five more of my prayers for Season 5.
1. Produce a star.
It hasn’t happened yet. Everyone thought Danielle Bradbery might be the one, and for all I know, she’s tearing up country charts, but as a non-country listener, I haven’t heard a peep from her since her victory. Meanwhile, whatever happened to Cassadee Pope, that guy who sang backup for Alicia Keys, and Adam’s one win? Right. Who? As music competitions go, “The Voice” has always nobly emphasized pure vocal talent more than any other show, and yet, they haven’t cracked the formula for how to make a singing sensation that actually sells. Let’s turn that around this year, shall we?
2. Stop Blake Shelton.
This has gotten out of hand, guys. The country singer’s head has just gotten bigger and bigger with each successive win. Pretty soon his twinkling eyes will be floating down Fifth Avenue in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s time to spread the love and the votes elsewhere. Will he snag a fourth straight win this year? Possible, but entirely preventable. How, you ask? Don’t vote for his people!
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3. Lots of Fab Four musical numbers.
Usher lent the coach performances some cool last year, but Shakira’s voice didn’t blend with anyone’s, so the productions were usually a hot mess. But Xtina and Cee Lo go great with anyone, especially Blake and Adam. The four coaches are at their best when they are vocally outdoing one another at every turn, then coming together in powerhouse harmony. I want to see lots of teamwork and good times on that stage.
4. Consummate the bromance.
Guys, it’s time. The teaser for the new season previewed a smooch between the two frenemies. I say it’s time Adam and Blake run off and settle down in the country somewhere in Vermont and make beautiful music together, and cook gourmet meals with herbs plucked directly from their organic garden, and turn all of Adam’s old white t-shirts into quilts, and all is well in the world. Sorry, Miranda.
5. So. Much. Cher.
Look, Cher’s been in this industry longer than Blake’s been alive. She knows how to entertain. Blake choosing her to be his guest mentor is a bit loopy, though. (I guess “Just Like Jesse James” is a country song.) The point is, it doesn’t matter what the perennial showbiz queen has to teach aspiring country darlings. Cher is everything. I am beyond thrilled to watch her coach these kids. In fact, just cancel the rest of the show and have her strut around yodeling in a fauxhawk and leather three hours a week, I’m good. Meanwhile, I have no idea what’s in store with the other guests: Miguel joining Cee Lo, Ryan Tedder joining Adam and Ed Sheeran (Taylor Swift’s opening act) joining Xtina. Which brings me back to my original wish: More Cher, and then more Cher.
Season 5 of “The Voice” premieres Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on NBC.