Cee Lo Green surprised many with his announcement on Wednesday that he would not be returning to The Voice. Green made the announcement during a guest appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The current cycle of the show’s sixth season debuts on Monday, February 24 and features mainstay judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, along with recurring judges Shakira and Usher Raymond, who have previously served as replacement judges when Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera have taken time off to pursue other ventures.
The Voice judge and entertainer told DeGeneres that his decision to move on from the show was related to other upcoming ventures, including a tour with Lionel Richie that kicks off in May 2014, an album that is near completion, and a television development deal with NBC that could include a talk show in the near future. Green also stated that “he did not want to wear out his welcome” at The Voice. However, there is speculation that Green’s departure could be related to recent legal troubles, as well as, his inability to coach a winning contestant. To date, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are the only two coaches to produce winning contestants. Moreover, Cee Lo Green was recently charged with furnishing a controlled substance related to an incident in July 2013, which is a felony charge that could result in a prison sentence of up to four years. Green has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Regardless of the reasoning behind Green’s exit from the show, both NBC and the showman stated that it is a mutual decision and they have plans to collaborate on other projects together in the future. Cee Lo Green went on to comment that he will miss The Voice but feels it’s time to pursue other opportunities. There is already much speculation about Green’s potential replacement on the judging panel. Possible candidates include current recurring judges Shakira and Usher, Kelly Carlson, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Justin Timberlake among others. At this point, there has not been any hints when an announcement will be made regarding the new judging panel and none of the other judges have yet responded to the news of Green’s permanent exit.
Judging panel shake-ups are nothing new in the competition-based reality-TV arena. In fact, the revolving-door effect has become a commonplace scenario. Given the status of The Voice as one of NBC’s top-performing programs, the network will likely carefully consider its options in hopes of avoiding pitfalls suffered by other shows in similar circumstances. The next cycle of the show without Green’s presence could serve as an indicator of how things might play out. It will also provide the audience with a period of adjustment and give them time to prepare for another, more permanent shift in the judging panel, much like the previous shift to Shakira and Usher as fill-in judges provided. As for how Cee Lo Green’s exit will ultimately affect the show, only time will tell.
By Leigh Haugh