Is the age of the mean judge over? With the new "American Idol" panel going pretty easy on this year's top 13 so far, it's starting to sound like there will be more of the same back-patting on the upcoming NBC singing competition "The Voice."
"There is no good and bad," said Christina Aguilera, one of the show's mentors, in her first public appearance since her arrest for public intoxication earlier this month. Aguilera sat in one of the oversize swivel chairs alongside fellow judge/coach Adam Levine on Tuesday to talk up the show, which premieres on April 26.
"This isn't about tearing people down. I want to bring these people up," she added, according to Entertainment Weekly. " 'The Voice' really does stand for what it says. Instinctually, you can judge people based on the way they look. I love the fact we get to sit here with our backs turned away from these people and completely use just one sense to hear these voices. I'm not looking for vocal acrobatics, who has biggest range [of] high and low. I'm looking forward to getting moved."
Unlike other singing competitions, the judging panel on "The Voice" — which also includes Cee Lo Green and country singer Blake Shelton — will listen to the prospective stars with their backs turned, in order to focus on their voices, not their looks.
"It's less about being judgmental and more about helping them out," said Maroon 5 singer Levine about the show's conceit, which involves the judges hitting a red button to signal they want to snag the unseen vocalist for their team. After getting advice from the professional singers during battle phases — where they can also call in professional choreographers, stylists and producers to help their charges — the wannabe stars will go on to live performance shows where the TV audience will vote on who advances and wins the $100,000 prize and recording contract.
"It's a new experience for all of us, so we will be learning as well," said reality TV newbie Levine. "We really don't know. We are hoping to gain something as human beings, which is definitely different for us. We've never been in this position before, which makes it really exciting."
It won't be the first TV work for Aguilera, whose on screen career began in 1993 when she joined the cast of "The Mickey Mouse Club" alongside Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling. But, according to Billboard, the elusive singer will join Twitter "in honor of the show" as a means of promoting her prime-time gig.
"We're looking to get more involved with people starting out just like we did," Aguilera said. "We're not just making commentary and then going home. We're getting completely involved. I wish there was a show like this when I was starting. I'm ready to share it all."