Oh, drama. Or should we say – UGH, drama.
Anyone who watched “The Voice” this season could tell the tension between coaches Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine was palpable and not just for the cameras. Aguilera was easily the most outspoken judge on the panel and rarely sugar-coated her opinions, coming across as overly harsh at times. Levine opted to go in the exact opposite direction, playing the nice guy.
(Which, as MTV’s resident “Voice” recapper, is not to say we think she was necessarily wrong most of the time. Indeed, it was strangely refreshing to watch a judge, you know, judge contestants, and Aguilera certainly knows a thing or two – perhaps more than any other judge on “The Voice” panel – about the technical side of singing. It was her directness and sometimes callous delivery that were controversial, not her actual opinions.)
Now, the conflict has reportedly reached a fever pitch, as Aguilera opted out of the red carpet at yesterday’s NBC Upfronts, during which Levine tweeted, “I thrive on awkward moments.” Aguilera did appear on stage with Levine and Cee Lo Green during the official presentation, though Levine stood far away from Aguilera on stage (above).
The pair started butting heads early in the season over contestant Tony Lucca. Lucca was a co-star of Aguilera’s on “The Mickey Mouse Club” when they were tweens, though the “Beautiful” belter didn’t seem to initially remember him during the blind auditions. Levine picked Lucca up for his team, and throughout the competition, Aguilera went after him hard. So hard in fact, it seemed that other motivations might have been in play.
The “feud” became a running theme of the season, so much so that by the finals, Levine, anticipating Aguilera’s criticism of his contestant’s final competitive performance, wore a glittering “Team Xtina” T-shirt under his flannel and revealed it when the pop star expectedly started laying into the singer-songwriter.
Reports that things were even more uncomfortable behind the scenes are rampant. Did Levine and Lucca pick Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” for his final song as one last dig at Aguilera? Was she so hard on the contestant because of an unrequited teenage crush? Did Levine really call her that backstage after the show’s final performance episode? Who knows, but there is a laundry list of rumors about the feud, and no one (especially Levine) comes across very well.
The apparent trouble between the two has fans of the show (me at least) concerned for its future. NBC announced yesterday that the show will air two cycles during the 2012-2013 TV season (both fall and spring) with a September 9 return date already announced. Open-call auditions around the country begin in July, with the Blind Audition rounds with the star judges likely to begin filming sometime in early August ahead of the premiere.
That’s only a few months away and if Aguilera’s past feuds with Kelly Osborne and Mariah Carey are any indication, she’s not exactly one to forgive and forget. And to be perfectly honest, as a fan of the show, I’m not really interested in seeing these two bicker their way through another season because of unresolved personal problems. Their job is to fairly judge the singing talents of “The Voice” contestants, not spend months engaged in passive-aggressive taunts to satisfy a personal vendetta for which they appear equally culpable.