Season 4 of the reality TV singing show "The Voice" has started up, and not too soon for NBC considering how laughably bad the network's ratings have been during the show's absence. This is the show where the four judges compete against one another for bragging rights in picking their teams. The gimmick is that in the audition rounds, they sit with their backs to the contestants, so that they only hear the singing; they can't see the singer. If a judge likes what he/she hears, there's a button to hit, which turns the chair around. If multiple judges like a contestant, the contestant gets to choose which judge to work with.
In the first three seasons, the judges were Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera. Adam picked the winning contestant in the first season, and Blake picked the winners the past two seasons.
I wasn't really familiar with Blake's or Cee Lo's singing before the show, and I wouldn't say that I'm rushing out to buy anything of theirs now, but I've liked Blake's persona a lot; he comes across as very down to earth, self-effacing, and genuine. Cee Lo has been funny at times but also strange.
Adam's songs are the ones that appeal to me the most, naturally, but in season 3, he and Christina developed an unpleasant antagonism toward each other that played out with fairly catty comments by Christina about Adam's final contestant. I got quite sick of Christina's me-me-me-me attitude, her rude interrupting of the other judges, and her general obnoxiousness.
When NBC announced that Cee Lo and Christina were taking a break in season 4, to be replaced by Shakira and Usher, I rejoiced!
And thus far, it's been so much better having Shakira instead of Christina!! Shakira is really funny, like the time when she was trying to woo a country singer to her team -- a formidable task, given that Blake is the country singer among the judges -- and she whipped out a "Country to English" dictionary and started drawling, "Well, ah reckon you oughta join Team Shakira."
I'm going to be sad if/when season 5 brings back Christina. . . .