Shakira and Usher are near deals to join the spring edition of NBC’s The Voice, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
NBC is moving to set a new panel for its hit singing competition even as it’s still unclear who among current coaches Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green will return for the fourth cycle. Aguilera, who is working on a new album to be released later this year, has made no secret of her desire to make more time for her music.
During a recent interview with Billboard, she said The Voice has “kept me away from my heart, which is creating my own music."
"It’s been a joy to be a part of other people’s journey, to be able to inspire and be a part of new singers coming up in this business," she continued. "But I was staring to get really worried and concerned that I wouldn’t have the time to go and be an artist again.”
Aguilera said she was not likely to depart the show permanently, saying she would “probably be back. I just need to do my thing for a minute then I can come back and be that much better of a coach. I just need a second to get back to me.”
She added that Voice executive producer Mark Burnett “made it very clear that these chairs are always our chairs.”
Both Shakira and Usher would fit into the Voice mold of recruiting recording artists that are still topping the sales charts. Burnett also has a relationship with Shakira, who was recruited for the 2009 season finale of America’s Got Talent, his other NBC competition show.
NBC declined comment. But Paul Telegdy, the network's president of alternative and late night programming, recently told THR that that “a chair on the panel is not a job for life, nor should it be.”
And he added that the coach's “authenticity, relevance and credibility are all wrapped up in what they do and how they define themselves, which is as active, relevant touring musicians. That may mean a seat on the panel becomes available.”
Representatives for Usher and Shakira declined to comment.
As the competition between singing shows has heated up, it has become increasingly important to lure big-name talent. American Idol last week announced its new judging panel with widely rumored additions of Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban joining Mariah Carrey, who finalized her $18 million-deal last summer. Minaj will bank about $12 million and Urban is taking home about $6 million. Randy Jackson, who has been behind the judge’s table since the show’s inception and is Carey’s manager, also returns as a judge for season 12.
The new panel replaces Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
The fresh faces among The Voice coaching panel is in keeping with a growing trend of musical chairs at singing competition shows; an imperative in order to stand out from the pack.
The X Factor this season signed up Britney Spears (for about $15 million) and Demi Lovato (at $1 million) to replace fired first-season judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.