Breaking News: Usher and Shakira Join THE VOICE; Christina Aguilera & CeeLo Green Take Season 4 Off
On the heels of its potent debut last week, NBC's "The Voice" has announced that it will music superstars Usher and Shakira to the family as two new celebrity musician coaches when it returns next spring for its fourth cycle. Christina Aguilera, who is releasing a new album and going on tour, and CeeLo Green, who is developing new music plus a scripted comedy series for NBC based on his life, will take the next cycle off, it was announced today by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.Current celebrity musician coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will remain through season four."We are thrilled to welcome Usher and Shakira to 'The Voice.' The addition of these popular iconic artists continues the tradition established by Christina, CeeLo, Adam and Blake," said Greenblatt. "Doing two back-to-back cycles of this show requires a tremendous amount of time, and we are happy to accommodate the commitments made by Christina and CeeLo. The participants on our show benefit from our coaches' expertise and their continued success in the music business allows for significant new contributions to the contestants when they return." "'The Voice' has always been known for pairing incredible up-and-coming talent with superstar coaches who are top-level current artists," said executive producer Mark Burnett. "Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour. Whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life. This is exactly why, after three seasons, we needed to allow them to rotate out so they can get on the road amongst their fans. Meanwhile, we're incredibly excited to have singular artists like Usher and Shakira joining the fold.""Being a coach on 'The Voice' is a wonderful experience and the relationship amongst us all is like an extended family," said Aguilera. "I am so proud of being part of the show from the beginning, all the work we've done, and proud of what the show stands for as a whole. As I have expressed since day one of the show, that I am a singer and performer first and I am so excited to get back to that love. Since this year NBC and 'The Voice' have decided to tape back-to-back seasons, requiring a full-year commitment, it is important for me to take season four off, allowing me to support my music that my fans have been waiting for -- with the release of my new album 'Lotus' on November 13. By pursuing my first passion of music during the break, I am also able to come back and offer even more to my team on 'The Voice' in the future." "First ...thank you NBC for supporting my decision to take this season four hiatus! It says that I'm seen and respected as a complete artist and not just a cast member. I'm highly enthusiastic about focusing my undivided attention on my additional endeavors and interests like my upcoming solo album, new Goodie Mob album, Las Vegas residency 'Loberace,' new memoir, and new NBC comedy," said Green. "It's great to also give a host of other talent the chance to experience what a joy it is to be part of what is truly THE BEST SHOW of them all, THE VOICE! I will return for season five and will be watching season four. NBC is home and as far as Usher and Shakira are concerned - 'mi casa su casa.'"Usher is a singer, songwriter, actor and dancer who soared to fame in the late 1990s with his second album "My Way." The album provided his first Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit "Nice & Slow." The album was certified six-times platinum by the RIAA. Usher's next album, "8701," yielded the Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits "U Remind Me" and "U Got It Bad," and has been certified four-times platinum by the RIAA. Usher's album "Confessions" sold over 10 million copies in the United States in 2004, and has been certified diamond by the RIAA. It gave four consecutive Billboard #1 hits, including "Yeah!," "Burn," "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo." Usher's album "Here I Stand" sold over five million copies worldwide in 2008, and its lead single "Love in This Club" climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2010, Usher released his sixth studio album - "Raymond v. Raymond," which resulted in his third-consecutive album to open at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It has been certified platinum and originated another Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit in "OMG". As a result, the song became his ninth #1 single in the U.S., making him the first artist in the current decade to register #1 singles in three consecutive decades. Usher then issued an extended play and deluxe edition of "Raymond v. Raymond" in "Versus," which debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album's the lead single -- "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" -- reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.In addition, the RIAA ranks Usher as one of the highest-selling artists in American music history with over 23 million copies sold in the United States alone. To date, he has sold over 65 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Usher has won numerous accolades, including seven Grammy Awards. At the end of 2009, Usher was named the number one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. Billboard named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, with his 2004 album "Confessions" ranked as the top solo album of the first decade of the 2000s. Billboard also placed Usher at #6 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. Over the course of her career, Colombian singer-songwriter and Grammy winner Shakira has sold close to 60 million albums worldwide and has won numerous awards, including two Grammys, four World Music Awards, three American Music Awards and five Billboard Music Awards, to name a few. Her collaborations with such stars as Beyonce and Alejandro Sanz have helped keep her audience expanding continually and she is the only artist from South America to have a #1 song in the United States. She has had four of the 20 top-selling hits of the last decade, more than any other artist -- including 2006's unforgettable "Hips Don't Lie," the biggest-selling single of the 21st century, which reached the #1 spot in an astonishing 55 countries.Shakira began writing songs at the age of 8, learned to speak English by studying the work of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Walt Whitman, and took history classes at UCLA during her break between albums. At the age of 18, she founded the Pies Descalzos (Barefoot) Foundation, which currently provides education and nutrition to over 6,000 impoverished children in Colombia and is expanding its work to other countries, including newly launched projects in Haiti and South Africa. "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," along with its Spanish language version, "Waka Waka (Esto es ?frica)," was another worldwide sensation. It sold over two million singles and was the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the event's biggest song ever released. The official video has seen nearly 500 million YouTube hits, making it the #3 most watched video of all time and the #3 most watched music video. The track was also the soundtrack to Shakira's 1Goal campaign for universal education. On her ninth album, "Sale El Sol/The Sun Comes Out," the global superstar continued her creative journey by looking both forward and back. Released on the heels of the worldwide success of "Waka Waka," the album also marked the next chapter after 2009's critically acclaimed, dance-oriented "She Wolf," the long-awaited follow-up to 2005's groundbreaking one-two punch comprised of "Fijacion Oral, Volume 1" and "Oral Fixation, Volume 2" -- a pair of albums which sold over 12 million copies combined worldwide and secured the young Colombian-born singer's place among pop-music royalty. Shakira is currently in Barcelona recording her new album. "The Voice" returns with the strongest vocalists from across the country invited to compete in the blockbuster vocal competition show's third season. Celebrity musician coaches Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton return along with Carson Daly as host and Christina Milian as Social Media Correspondent.The show's innovative format features four stages of competition: the first begins with the blind audition, then the battle round, the brand new knockouts and finally, the live performance shows.During the blind auditions, the decisions from the musician coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches hear the artists perform, but they don't get to see them -- thanks to rotating chairs. If a coach is impressed by the artist's voice, he/she pushes a button to select the artist for his/her team. At this point, the coach's chair will swivel so that he/she can face the artist he/she has selected. If more than one coach pushes their button, the power then shifts to the artist to choose which coach they want to work with. If no coach pushes their button, the artist is eliminated from the competition. Once the teams are set, the battle is on. Coaches will dedicate themselves to developing their team of artists, giving them advice, and sharing the secrets of their success along with the help from their celebrity advisers. During the battle rounds the coaches will pit two of their own team members against each other to sing the same song together in front of a studio audience.After the vocal battle, the coach must choose which of his/her singers will advance to the next round of competition, while the losing artist is available to be stolen by another coach. Each coach has two steals during the battle rounds.At the end of the battles, only the strongest members of each coach's roster remain and proceed to the new knockout rounds. The artists will be paired again with a member of their team, but this time they find out only minutes before performing who they are being compared against. The artists each select their own song to perform individually, while their direct competitor watches and waits. They are vying for their coach's confidence and decision to take them to the live shows. Their coach will choose the winner and the artist not selected will be sent home.In the final live performance phase of the competition, the top artists from each team will compete each week against each other during a live broadcast. The television audience will vote to save their favorite artists and the two artists with the lowest number of votes will be sent home each week. In the end, one will be named "The Voice" and will receive the grand prize of a recording contract."The Voice" is a presentation of Mark Burnett's One Three Inc., Talpa Media USA Inc. and Warner Horizon Television. The series is created by John de Mol, who executive-produces along with Burnett, Audrey Morrissey, Stijn Bakkers and Lee Metzger.