Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5 singer in talks to judge Mark Burnett's NBC singing competition -- EXCLUSIVE

Cee-Lo-Green-Adam-Levine_320.jpg Image Credit: Adam Bielawski/PR Photos; Mark Dye/PR Photos Grammy scene-stealer Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine are in serious discussions to join Mark Burnett’s singing competition The Voice for NBC, EW has learned exclusively. Producers also considered Lenny Kravitz, Roger Daltrey, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, and Enrique Iglesias about occupying a judging seat on the show. Plus, there’s a major-name female star who’s in talks to join as well, but is not yet close to a deal (according to two unconfirmed sources, it’s Christina Aguilera, which would obviously be an enormous name for any talent show).

Deals are not signed and things could still change. But NBC hopes to close deals with the male singers within the next few days, and then sign another judge sometime next week. While taking a break from his work on Gnarls Barkley, Cee Lo has been on a star-making run with his hit single “F— You” and Grammy performance with Gwyneth Paltrow (during which he was dressed, appropriately enough for a man who may judge a show on NBC, as a peacock). Meanwhile, the L.A.-based band Maroon 5 released their most recent album last fall and played Fox’s Super Bowl pregame earlier this month.

As Fox discovered last year when trying to fill spots on Idol, securing high-profile judges can be difficult, as pop stars tend to come with prior commitments. Signing with a network for a TV show often means canceling other obligations, sometimes at a price.

Clearly NBC is going after pop stars instead of record-label suits for their judge spots, and is hoping to land current and relevant artists. If hired, Cee Lo and Levine, along with the third judge, should lend some name recognition and industry experience to the show, as well as generate press interest.

The Voice seeks to gain market share when it launches this spring in the toughest of reality genres just as Idol is ramping up for its Top 12. It’s a high-stakes plan, especially since Idol has already bested one competitor this season, CBS’ performance series Live to Dance starring former Idol judge Paula Abdul. But NBC has proven it can draw good ratings with a singing competition with its winter a cappella competition The Sing-Off.

The Voice is based on a Dutch hit where contestants audition while judges face the other direction, unable to see the contestants. The Susan Boyle-friendly format has judges making their verdicts based on the singer’s vocal talent alone rather than being influenced by the contestant’s physical appearance. Once they hit a button deciding whether to accept the performance, their chairs swivel around (see clip below). Unlike Idol, contestants will not be sequestered during the competition, but will be free to interact with fans and perform on their own (such as doing club dates) while trying to build their fan base.

Last week NBC announced The Voice will take the unique step of opening its audition process to any singer with a webcam. Carson Daly will host.

Here’s a clip from the Dutch version:

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  • dryedmangoez

    Well, those would be okay choices.

    I am looking forward to the show because the blind auditions should be interesting.

  • LOL

    More reality crap.

    • Latimore

      Actually, I think this one looks pretty good. The judges not being able to see the singers audition… I like it. When you first hear a new artist on the radio you don’t see what the singer looks like so I think this is good.

    • Tarc

      There’s a difference between ‘reality’ and professional competitions. All those insipid shows that show people at their worst (Survivor, Bachelo-hos, the Biggest Lard_ss, etc) need to go – immediately. I’ve got no problem showing people with actual skills or talent (but I insist that the coverage of personal drama be minimized – who cares?).

    • Cindi

      Reality? Never heard of ‘em.

  • nezzo

    don’t do it Adam. YOu’re better than this crap.
    Plus you’re hot! :)

  • Dave

    Please not Christina Aguilera. I can’t stand listening to her speak.

    • keans manaois

      hey! you dont have an idea what is a true performer and a great artist(christina aguilera)

  • jk

    I would rather Christina worked on a new album and released it before the year is over. She takes long enough breaks in between albums and taking on another job would push an album back even further. I want a good album and tour from her sooner than later after waiting four years for her to release one song and abandon the album entirely. Not to mention, this show just sounds kind of lame to be honest.

    • Shaun

      I agree completely. Christina needs to get working on a new album before her career is over.

      • Tarc

        Christina’s career will be ‘over’ when she’s dead. Get real – she’s got a great rolling career now.

  • Grammar Police

    “A myriad.” Really? Aren’t you guys journalists?

  • PM

    Getting those pop stars to judge those talent shows is HARD! They’re about to do some concert tours and promoting their albums and singles and having them to make the live or taped tapings of those shows is very difficult. I think Cee-Lo and Adam Levine are good choices for that show–this way the competitors can get pointers from current experienced singers instead of snarky record execs. And I also think that Christina Aguilera should focus on her next album instead of wasting wads of time with judging on a talent show.

  • maya384

    i think christina aguilera is so talanted and she would be great for any talented show i think she is cool girl she hosted before many shows and coz of her anthem :) people will turn to tv to watch dispite anything yes thier is x factor but it is good to somthing compete against simon cowell i hope she dose it but deep inside me i think no ( by the way simon these days dont like christina maybe because of that:)but i still think she must foucs on her music coz in the end of the day she is soooo talanted than these shows she must only use them to perform only

  • remmez

    The voice [of Holland] was and is a dutch conceptwich starts out quite unique and ends up worse than X-Factor.

    A complete dumb move for america to buy it and redo it. Nobody cared about the judges here.. only the very firstround they have a role.. The rest of the show is just like x-factor, idols and america’s got talent.

    waste of time

  • Maartje

    I live in Holland and this show was huge! It was even bigger than when Idol first aired about 8 years ago. The cool part too, is that the contestants get to choose their judge for a mentor, so the judges get judged for a change ;) The live shows are totally different from all the other shows as well, so i hope it’ll be just as succesfull as it was in Holland!

  • Eleonoor

    I’m Dutch and I loved this show. Contestants get picked for their talent, not because they look good. It’s a very feel-good concept. You watch and you’ll be addicted within one episode.

  • Elizabeth

    You had my interest with Cee-Lo and Adam… and then lost it with Carson Daly.

  • Kevin

    At least Carson Daly has hosting experience. All Nick Lachey knows how to do is tilt his huge head.

  • Matt

    I like the idea that the contestants are free to perform in public and build a fan base, but once you’re down to the final 10 or 12 or whatever, I can’t imagine how it’ll stand out from Idol or any other singing show.

  • willian

    i think christina= the most talented female artist of all time

    i will love see her on tv beautiful as always

    • justin

      you’re an idiot- she’s not the most talented-

      Talented people remember lyrics and remember NOT TO FALL off stages.

      • Tarc

        Yeah, Justin, you just keep up with that delusional state wherein you’re perfect. The rest of us live in the real work where occasional lyruc flubs and little stumbles happen as a matter of course. That said, she’s hardly the greatest singer of all time, merely on the list of mentionables.

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