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.”