The Voice smartly keeping all six coaches next year, including Usher, Shakira in spring

The Voice will keep all six of its judges next year, including Usher and Shakira, who have been the subject of reports in recent days suggesting they’re leaving. Instead, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will be on both seasons, while CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera will appear in the fall with Usher and Shakira replacing them in the spring, just like this year. EW reported the news, noting that “NBC is finalizing deals with Shakira and Usher,” meaning it’s not 100 percent locked in yet.

Usher and Shakira have been remarkable additions to the show: the panel’s chemistry has been as strong as its initial panel, and arguably even stronger, depending upon your feelings about Christina. (Compare that to American Idol, which has just stuck people with names at the judges’ table and hoped it would work, and it just hasn’t, even when there are strong individuals.)

While, as EW points out, some have argued that Usher and Shakira should be permanent judges, I agree that it’s smart to keep the configuration the same. NBC took a big risk airing two seasons a year. Last fall, I was a little tired of the show and format, since a season with the same judges had just concluded a few months earlier. Switching between two sets of judges with similarly strong but still different chemistry makes it seem less like one endless, year-long season and instead gives us something to look forward to.

Update, 17 May 2013: NBC confirmed this today, meaning deals have been done for all four judges. NBC entertainment chair Bob Greenblatt said in a press release statement, “We’re very fortunate to have these six incredible artists to weave in and out of the show as their performing and recording schedules permit. The show has taken off largely due to the rapport and commitment of these great coaches, in addition to the expert hosting of Carson Daly.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.