Addition of Shakira, Usher to 'The Voice' an 'effortless transition': Adam Levine

Addition of Shakira, Usher to 'The Voice' an 'effortless transition': Adam Levine
Adam Levine speaks in Toronto on Monday February 18, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
by: Canadian Press

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TORONTO -- Adam Levine said he'll miss fellow judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green on "The Voice," but the show's two new superstar additions are helping to fill the void -- and those famed swivelling chairs.

Shakira and Usher will join Levine and country star Blake Shelton on the judging/coaching panel when the singing competition series returns to the airwaves next month.

"The show has really hit its stride, and Blake and I have really taken the reins here because obviously we have two newbies who haven't done the show yet," a laidback Levine said in an interview at a swank downtown Toronto hotel in support of his new line of signature fragrances.

"But I think what's cool is that they're learning very quickly and Blake and I are very comfortable, and we want to make them feel comfortable too. It's been a blast, it's been a lot of fun."

The Maroon 5 frontman said he had no idea that the hip-shaking songstress and R&B crooner would be joining the panel, but was pleased they were selected to round out the quartet.

"I'm happy that it is them. We obviously respect the hell out of them and their careers. It's been fun," he said. "They have a quick capacity to learn so it's been... an effortless transition."

While the series hasn't had an issue recruiting high-wattage talent to the judging ranks, some past "Voice" victors are facing challenges maintaining their momentum after taking home the top prize.

Inaugural winner Javier Colon, a member of Levine's team of contestants, parted ways with his record label, reportedly over a lack of promotion of his album. Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul is still awaiting his album's release.

Meanwhile, Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope recently inked a deal with Republic Nashville, and landed in the top spot on the iTunes singles chart with her cover of Miranda Lambert's "Over You."

Levine said once someone wins "The Voice," the judges' role -- beyond their personal connection with contestants -- is more or less over, and it's up to the artists and those around them to seize control.

"Obviously I love Javier, everybody loves their artists that are on their team, (but) our job is over and we lose control of the ship," he said. "Can that ship be steered in a better direction in a more efficient way by the people who take the reins after we give them up? Definitely. Have they? No.

"That's not on me. That's not on us," he added.

"We take them to the place that they get to and then it's their job to pick up the slack and keep it moving. I think it should be done differently. I think they definitely should change the way that they do things but unfortunately that is out of my wheelhouse and my jurisdiction. So now I'll shut my mouth."

The 33-year-old is keeping plenty busy beyond his judging duties, with Maroon 5 in the midst of a concert tour as well as the launch of his signature line of fragrances for men and women set to be sold in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart.

The move may seem surprising for Levine who once tweeted calling for a "official ban on celebrity fragrances."

He admitted the initial incentive for signing on to his own scent was financial in nature, but it was the chance to play a role in the creative process that was the selling point.

"I just wanted to make it something that I would be into if I saw the bottle or if I smelled it," Levine said. "I think that a lot of times what happens is whether you like the fragrance or not or whether you like the design or not, a lot of times it winds up not reflecting the person because the person doesn't spend the time dedicating themselves to doing it.

"So that's why I thought it would actually be cool because I could change the perception of what it was to actually have a celebrity fragrance -- as much as I hate saying that term. I thought I could change things up."

After hosting "Saturday Night Live" and appearing on the recently wrapped season of "American Horror Story," Levine will be heading to the big screen playing opposite Keira Knightley in "Can A Song Save Your Life?"

"I'm not going out there trying to land every major role that you could land. I don't think that would be intelligent or a good idea for me because I'm very new to this whole thing and I'm just getting my feet wet," he said.

"This was a role that I thought I could handle, and John Carney -- who directed this amazing movie and also directed the movie 'Once' -- and he really believed in me. And I said, 'OK, man, let's do it."'

Canadians will get a chance to see Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 in person as the pop-rockers take to the stage at Montreal's Bell Centre on Wednesday, the Saddledome in Calgary on March 7 and Rogers Arena in Vancouver on March 9.

Season 4 of "The Voice" premieres March 25 on CTV.




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