From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert to perform during Super Bowl pregame
BAM: The eagerly awaited second season of NBC’s hit reality TV show “The Voice,” on which Shelton serves as a celebrity coach, will premiere Sunday night after the big game.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are going to the Super Bowl.
The country music power couple, who live in Tishomingo, will sing a duet of “America the Beautiful” during the televised pregame festivities Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the NFL and NBC confirmed earlier this week. “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson will belt the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl XLVI, which will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC.
That means that before the New York Giants and New England Patriots get down to the business of determining the National Football League’s 2012 champions, Team Blake already will have a bit of an advantage when it comes to deciding the Season 2 winner of “The Voice.”
After the reality singing competition’s surprising breakout last year, the peacock network opted to devote its coveted post-Super Bowl slot to the second season debut of the “The Voice.”
The special premiere of “The Voice” is set for approximately 9 to 10 p.m. Sunday, depending on how long it takes the Giants and Patriots to settle their score. The hit reality TV show will settle into its regular time slot of 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays the following night.
Musician-coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Shelton, who emerged as the show’s breakout star last year, are all returning for the series’ hotly anticipated second season, along with host Carson Daily. The superstar quartet will kick off Sunday’s season premiere by performing a rocking medley of Prince’s hits.
While the coaching panel remains the same, practically everything else about “The Voice” seems to be getting bigger and better. As Shelton predicted shortly after the show’s strong first season started, Season 2 will bring more of the series’ innovative blind auditions, and everyone involved with “The Voice” has promised that more talented contestants will be trying out before the coaches’ big, red, backward-facing chairs.
The four teams will be expanded from eight to 12 contenders, and each coach will get two celebrity advisers instead of one to ready their competitors for the dueling duets that are the battle rounds.
Team Blake will get its game on a bit earlier than the other coaches, since Shelton has tapped his fellow Super Bowl pregame performers Lambert and Clarkson as his Season 2 advisers. Since the Super Bowl is the biggest television event of the year — more than 162 million U.S. viewers watched last year’s big game, making it the most-watched TV program in history — a pregame singing slot offers an incredible showcase for the individual performers as well as for Team Blake.
Hey, considering how close Dia Frampton, Shelton’s Season 1 finalist and now tour opener, came to wresting “The Voice” title away from eventual winner Javier Colon, the finalist for Levine’s team, every advantage helps when it comes time for the fans at home to start casting their votes during the show’s third and final stage, the live performance phase.
Of course, since the series is called “The Voice,” Shelton and his fellow panelists emphasize that the talent of the performers, rather than the celebrity of the coaches, is what counts.
“Last year set the bar incredibly high. When you have four people who walked away from this show last year that got major record deals, that’s an eye opener,” Shelton says in Season 2 previews.
“‘The Voice’ is unique because there is a one-on-one interaction (and) connection with an artist who has broken through the wall of this business with someone who is trying to breakthrough. There is no other show like that; in fact, there’s no other opportunity like that in this business.”
It will be interesting to see how “The Voice’s” unique twists on the TV singing contest format help it this year as it goes head-to-head against the granddaddy of the subgenre: “American Idol,” which started its 11th season about three weeks ago. After years of dominating the ratings, “Idol” has started to show its age, with the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” defeating the reality show in their overlapping 30-minute timeslot last week.
“My fan base has definitely grown since doing ‘The Voice,’ but I think the biggest surprise to me is how young the fan base has become. I think a lot of young people must watch ‘The Voice,’ and I love that. I love to walk out on stage and see kids holding up signs that say ‘Team Blake,’” Shelton says.
“It shows me that maybe those people hadn’t even heard of me until this television show aired, and I’m very proud of that because I’m proud of what this show does. It’s coming from a real place, an honest place. It’s a celebration of music.”
Whether this season’s Super Bowl launch helps “The Voice” beat out “Idol” in the ratings, it’s clear Shelton considers himself a winner for being part of the NBC series.
“When you work that closely with a bunch of people trying desperately to make it in this business, you can’t help but see yourself in ‘em a little bit. They reminded, you know, how lucky I am that I’m in this position, because that was me not long ago,” he says.
“They really recharged me and made me excited about what I do again.”