TIME Television

Watch The Voice Coaches Perform Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’

Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams welcome back Christina Aguilera

The Voice kicks off Season 8 on Feb. 23 with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams welcoming back coach Christina Aguilera.

The coaches open the season premiere with a performance of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” and EW has an exclusive clip of the collaboration.


The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME Music

Christina Aguilera Wants These Women to Record the Next ‘Lady Marmalade’

Christina Aguilera
Brian Bowen Smith—NBC Christina Aguilera is a coach on the eighth season of The Voice.

The singer talks to TIME about rejoining The Voice, her "Dirrty" days and her new album

It’s already been a busy week for Christina Aguilera, and she hasn’t even made her big return to television yet. On Sunday, Aguilera won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Say Something,” her 2013 hit with A Great Big World. This Sunday, she’s kicking off the 64th NBA All-Star game at Madison Square Garden. And later this month on Feb. 23, she’ll return as a coach on NBC’s The Voice alongside Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams after taking two seasons off to focus on motherhood. (She welcomed daughter Summer Rain Rutler last August.)

TIME caught up with the singer to talk about her home life, her plans for 2015 and what advice she has for Nick Jonas.

TIME: Congratulations on your Grammy win! Were you at the ceremony?

Christina Aguilera: No, I’m in steady dance rehearsals and vocal rehearsals for this Sunday, for the NBA kick-off performance. It’s a whole tribute to New York — I’ve got the Rockettes joining me and a special guest. I’m very fired up for this specific performance because it’s such exciting, classic material revamped. And then I had to record late [Sunday] night for a soundtrack deadline, so I was unable to attend. I think if I had had a record out, I would have made the trip. Maybe next year! But I was so happy. I felt the boys won it more than me. It was such an innocent, pure intention of a song that truly didn’t ask for anything — so humble in its approach. It didn’t have any formula. It was very honest with just a simple piano and a vocal. It was real music. It was truly organic. I was so happy to see such talented guys take that win.

Did you miss spinning around in those chairs on The Voice?

Yeah, the chairs can be kind of fun! Too bad it only lasts for the first section — the blind auditions — then there’s no more spinning.

What a bummer.

But that’s also a very nerve-wracking time because you feel the performer and the nerves they’re going through, and you feel nerves for yourself. You get hesitant on pushing your button sometimes, because you don’t want to fill your team too fast, but then you feel nervous that you might be letting some great talent go. It’s such a weird mind game at the end of the day. Truly, the company I come back to is so fun. I always have a great laugh with the boys. They kept it pretty hilarious for me, which is really important. I would be bored behind the scenes if I wasn’t coming back to Blake and Adam’s craziness.

You took two seasons off to focus on being a mom. Did you pick up any new hobbies while you weren’t on The Voice?

I don’t think anything new. I was consistent with my yoga throughout my pregnancy. I moved into a new house, actually, which has been taking up a lot of time and energy. Unpacking boxes, having a five-month-old — so just normal life stuff, which is awesome. It’s very important for me to stay grounded and keep honesty within my music and my artistry. No real vacations or anything like that. I pretty much stayed in L.A. and spent time with my son, my family and myself” writing music, gaining inspiration for my new future endeavors — my record being the biggest part of that.

Your son Max just turned 7. How long before he finds an old Christina Aguilera video on YouTube and asks, “Mom, can we talk about what happened in 2002?”

Luckily, he hasn’t discovered that yet. But it’s scary what’s out there for him to find: certain movies, certain song lyrics that I’m even hearing him come home with. I’m like, “Where did you hear that?” All of a sudden it’s like — oh my God, when did I become the parent?

What is he singing that you’re not wild about?

Oh my goodness, just songs with certain lyrical references. It could be anything as innocent as Beyoncé to songs about baking soda, you know what I mean? It’s crazy. It’s different for me because I really separate my business hat from my mom hat, to the point where my son will come back from school and basically say, “How do kids at school know who you are, Mom?” Because I literally am so sweatpants and flip-flops and no makeup at home. That’s my real time. Then I transition into an artist mode, which I keep completely separate. It’s tapping into a different side of myself, a side that I do for me. Even though it’s extremely hard sometimes to juggle all the different hats at once, it’s important for me to do that. But yeah, technology is so crazy — what’s accessible at your fingertips now. I’m a little scared.

But I know that I had really important principles for me at the time, and there’s a place and time for everything. Back in my “Dirrty” days, that was an empowering moment for me, when I was 21 and coming into my own. I will always explain to him the reasons why Mommy did X, Y and Z. They were plentiful! I’m prepared to tell him about who I am as an artist, and why he’s able to live the life that he now lives. It’s a lot better than how I was brought up!

I noticed Nick Jonas is a mentor for your team this season; he, like you, began his career very young and shocked people when he suddenly showed off a more adult side. What advice would you give him about that transition?

I love it when people go out on a limb and try new things. It’s very risky, and you never know how people are going to receive you, but that’s part of being a good artist and staying true to yourself. Whether people like it or not, you have to be the person that you really are inside. To be able to explore and experiment and be unafraid to take risks is, to me, the most important thing about what we do as artists. I don’t like when it gets too safe and people are afraid to make mistakes because of failure. I’m one that throws caution to the wind, and sometimes that ends in highs and lows. But you have to take the risks — you have to take certain chances and you have to live life. My biggest fear is that at the end of it all, I’ll look back and say, “I wish I would have had the guts to try that.” But so far, I put myself out on a limb, and that’s part of the beauty of challenging yourself — looking back at your body of work and being able to say, “Wow, I’m so glad I had the confidence to do that, to go out there, take matters into my own hands and have the balls to take it to my level.”

You worked with Sia several years before she had her big moment at the Grammys.

I like your research there. Sia, Nicki Minaj — yeah, I had a lot of great people on Bionic before crazy stuff happened.

So you clearly have an eye for spotting rising talent. If you had to pick artists for a 2015 version of “Lady Marmalade” [the 2001 song Aguilera recorded with Pink, Mya, Lil Kim and Missy Elliot], who would they be?

Miley would be great in that mix, because I think she’s a great risk taker and has a lot of fun. Maybe Nicki Minaj. Those are the two that directly come to mind. But I actually thought “Bang Bang” [featuring Minaj, Jessie J and Ariana Grande] was a pretty good “Lady Marmalade” reference, in a way. It’s always great to see girls come together — especially in the face of the media sometimes, trying to pit us against each other. It’s never ending, no matter how young or old you are. Anytime I can encourage girls to get together and actually support each other and encourage risk-taking, I’m all for it. I love it. So yeah, I’m waiting for the next new group of people.

A version of this story will appear in the Feb. 23 issue of TIME, on newsstands this Friday.

TIME Music

10 Pharrell-Produced Songs That Sound Nothing Like Pharrell

Pharrell Williams
Todd Williamson—/nvision/AP Pharrell Williams

The hitmaker has some tunes that don't sound like him at all

Every music producer has their signature style, but to have a decade-spanning career like Pharrell Williams’, you have to know when to switch it up — unless you want to drop off the face of the earth when that style goes, well, out of style. (Speaking of, whatever happened to Rich Harrison?)

Pharrell has a few tricks he employs quite often — almost to the point of parody — but the “Happy” hitmaker and The Voice coach isn’t afraid to hunt down new sounds, and sometimes that has unexpected results. Here are 10 songs that Pharrell either co-wrote or produced (either solo or as a part of the Neptunes) that you’d never guess he had a hand in creating.

No Doubt, “Hella Good”
Before she teamed up with Pharrell for “Hollaback Girl” and “Wind It Up,” Gwen Stefani worked with the Neptunes on this danceable tribute to Bay Area slang (though they’re sometimes only credited as songwriters, the band has said Pharrell and Chad Hugo concocted the beat). The song was the band’s first major collaboration with an outside artist, and the two acts have already reunited for as-yet-unreleased new music (including a session with Sia).

Missy Elliott, “On & On”
Thanks to the Neptunes’ menacing chainsaw synthesizers and bubbling sound effects, the only thing dated about this cut from the rapper’s 2005 album is her shout-out to America’s Next Top Model winner Eva Pigford. It may not have been a Timbaland production, but it’s the kind of sonic curveball the rapper has made a career out of providing.

Solange, “I Decided”
The younger Knowles sister became an indie darling with her slick 2012 EP True, but she recruited Pharrell to help her travel back to the 1960s and 1970s on her Motown-inspired Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Perky pianos and handclaps make this song one of his most unplugged tracks (at least, unplugged-sounding) to date.

Scissor Sisters, “Inevitable”
The Scissor Sisters worked with the likes of Calvin Harris and Diplo on their fourth studio album, Magic Hour, but the band says Pharrell came in with a particularly unique agenda — to get the Scissor Sisters “on black radio,” as band member Scott “Babydaddy” Hoffman explained. Too bad for Pharrell — the song was never released as a single.

Fefe Dobson, “In the Kissah”
The Canadian musician’s spunky pop-punk got some help from the Neptunes on her sophomore album, Sunday Love, but even a collaboration with a A-list producers couldn’t change the album’s fate. The record was canceled when she was dropped by her label shortly before its scheduled release. (It eventually saw the light of day online.)

N.E.R.D. featuring Santigold, “Soldier”
Pharrell has always indulged his rock side with his band N.E.R.D., but the punk sounds of this frantic, drum-heavy contribution to the 90210 soundtrack instead recall Santigold’s old band, Stiffed, more than they resemble the producer’s usual output (and he’s on the track itself).

Ed Sheeran, “Runaway”
Some of the production on Ed Sheeran’s sophomore album, x, wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Justin Timberlake’s solo debut, Justified. But when Pharrell messes around with acoustic guitars, he usually can’t resist leaving his fingerprints all over it — keyboard blips and beats that sound like they were banged out on empty paint cans.

Adam Lambert, “Trespassing”
When pop artists work with Pharrell, the end product can feel a little farmed-out, with the performer relying more on Pharrell’s beats-for-hire than the other way around. It’s rare that a Pharrell production sounds like it was custom-created for its star, but the funky title track from the American Idol runner-up’s second album appears to be an exception.

Fall Out Boy, “w.a.m.s.”
If it weren’t for the space-age synthesizers that rear their heads halfway through the track from the band’s 2008 album, Folie à Deux, Pharrell’s presence would be nearly undetectable on this guitar-driven track. “Pharrell was really cool,” drummer Andy Hurley said about their sessions. “He laid down beats and [frontman] Patrick [Stump] would come up with vocals and melodies. It happened so fast.”

Travis Barker, “Come N Get It (featuring the Clipse)”
Virginia rap duo Clipse worked closely with Pharrell when they signed to the Neptunes’ Star Trak Entertainment — so closely, in fact, that the Neptunes produced the entirety of two of their albums. But on this mixtape track with the Blink-182 drummer, the sound that made them famous is nowhere to be heard while Pharrell stays behind the scenes.

TIME Television

Spoiler Alert! Who Is the Season 7 Winner of The Voice?

The Voice - Season 7
Trae Patton—NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images Craig Wayne Boyd, Matt McAndrew, Carson Daly, Damien Lawson and Chris Jamison, left to right, on the set of The Voice on Nov. 16, 2014

Only one star could walk away with The Voice title

The stage lit up as Jennifer Hudson and Jessie J serenaded the crowd with number one hits during The Voice Season 7 finale Tuesday night, but all eyes were on the four finalists who sang beside them, battling it out to win the competition.

Matt McAndrew, Damien Lawson and Chris Jamison of Team Adam Levine and Craig Wayne Boyd of Team Blake Shelton sang their hearts out from the start of the blind auditions down to the moment the winner was revealed.

In the end, only one star could walk away with The Voice title and it was Craig Wayne Boyd from Team Blake.

Boyd, the 35-year-old singer from Nashville, Tennessee, hooked the country’s vote and proved he had what it took to become America’s next musical superstar after belting “Sweet Home Alabama” on stage with the iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“There has never been a more deserving person to hold that trophy than Craig Wayne Boyd,” Shelton said after the show as he stood next to Boyd.

On Monday night, Boyd awed America as he performed original song “My Baby’s Got a Smile On Her Face” – gifted to him by his coach.

Shelton had been “carrying the song around in his back pocket for years” not knowing what to do with it, and even admitted that he didn’t record it himself because of the difficulty level.

“You know, looking back, I don’t know if I’m really one of those guys that believes in meant to be’s,” said Shelton, about the song. “This may have been one.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Music

Italy’s Singing Nun Gives Pope Francis Her ‘Like a Virgin’ Cover

Vatican Pope Singing Nun
AP In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis greets Sister Cristina Scuccia as she presents him with her CD at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Dec. 10, 2014

This nun feels "touched for the very first time" (by God)

Italy’s famed singing nun met Pope Francis this week and brought him a gift: a copy of her first album.

Sister Cristina Scuccia, who won the Italian version of The Voice in June, presented the Pontiff with her debut CD during his general audience on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The album’s tracks include her ballad-like take on Madonna’s pop classic “Like a Virgin.”

Though some members of the Catholic establishment have criticized the nun for the saucy track, Scuccia told the Guardian last month that she saw her version as a religious interpretation of the 1984 hit. In the original, Madonna croons that someone — ostensibly a new lover, but who knows, since Madonna never clarifies that it isn’t God — makes her feel “touched for the very first time.”

“I’m giving it a new interpretation from a faith standpoint,” Scuccia said. “We can all feel incomplete. I felt that when I was touched by God, then I felt loved like I’ve never been loved before.”

Scuccia also told the Guardian that her next big goal was to speak with, and perhaps even sing for, the Pope.

“I’d love to give him a copy of my album,” she said presciently.

TIME Music

Watch a Totally Different Take on Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ From Last Night’s Episode of The Voice

By a self-described "Amish hipster"

Last night on The Voice, Taylor John Williams, a contestant who proudly describes his personal style as “Amish hipster,” decided to take on Taylor Swift’s recent single “Blank Space.” This wasn’t super surprising, as it’s kind of Williams’ thing to perform new, soulful takes on pop and hip hop songs. In his initial audition, for example, he sang Kanye West’s “Heartless,” and he’s also taken on Lorde’s “Royals.”

Still, though, it was interesting to hear a different arrangement of Swift’s infectious hit. He slows it down, turning it into more of a ballad than a catchy pop tune. Also, when he sings the lyric “got a long list of ex-lovers,” you can actually hear what’s saying, and it doesn’t sound like “Starbucks lovers,” so that’s something.

Granted, this was certainly not Williams’ best performance (we prefer his rendition of “Mad World,” for example) but props to him for taking on Tay-Tay.

TIME Music

Gwen Stefani: I Don’t Regret the Harajuku Girls At All

Gwen Stefani
John Shearer—Invision/AP Gwen Stefani performs at KIIS FM's Jingle Ball on Dec. 5, 2014, in Los Angeles.

"You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud," the singer tells TIME

Between three kids, a coaching stint on The Voice and a solo music comeback, Gwen Stefani is keeping herself busy. So busy, in fact, that the No Doubt front woman had to lock herself in her bathroom to find a quiet moment away from her children during our interview. TIME caught up with the singer — just a few hours before she performed her new single, “Spark the Fire,” with Pharrell at KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball — to talk about her upcoming album (due next year), Pharrell’s recent comments about feminism and what’s up next for No Doubt.

TIME: How did this third record come about? Were you itching to make another? Was Pharrell just sending you beats until you agreed?
Gwen Stefani: We were doing a No Doubt record — we did it, we put it out, and as soon as we came back from Europe in January, we decided, “Let’s go back into the studio.” The record had taken so long to make because all of our parental commitments and lifestyles, and because of the way we work. It’s my fault, but I get really lazy around those guys. We were working within the band and didn’t have any collaborators, so it just took a long time. We went back in the studio and worked for about six months, and I think the last session that we did was with Pharrell. It was six months of struggle. It wasn’t coming really naturally. I got pregnant unexpectedly, and it was a good time to take a break. I didn’t even know that I was going to have another baby, but it was such a miracle. Hold on one second, my other kid is here.

No problem!
My son’s tooth just came out — sorry. They just got home from school. [To her son in the background: Go put this under your pillow!] I’m going to go in my bathroom so I can lock myself in there, hold on one second.

Happy to wait.
Are you there still?

Okay, so, we decided not to do any more work because I was pregnant — I was so sick. I didn’t know that was going to happen, and then I had the baby, and then four weeks later Pharrell called me to do Coachella. My kids were such a fan of him at the time because “Happy” was at the top of the charts. He was like, “Do you want to come do it?” I was like, “I want to! I’ll wear a black jumpsuit, I’ll be fine!” The first time I had left the house after giving birth was to step on stage and do “Hollaback Girl” with Pharrell. It was just magical. Then I found out a week later I was going to do The Voice, and I had no idea that was going to happen.

When that happened, the opportunity came up — maybe I should put something out, even if it’s a collaboration, or hop on someone’s record. Pharrell kept asking me to do “Hollaback Girl,” and I was like, “I’m not going to keep doing the same song from 10 years ago!” The only way to do that would be to not do it with No Doubt, because we take forever. I just starting thinking about having an open-ended thing: let’s just see how far we get. I hooked up with Benny Blanco, who I’d been working with possibly to do some No Doubt stuff earlier during that time period. He got all these different writers together — Charli XCX, Ryan Tedder, Calvin Harris. I started hanging out with Pharrell and we went into the studio.

I wanted to put a record out quick, like, I don’t want to think about it! Now, maybe I need to spend a little more time on it and not rush it. I’m going to continue to write a little bit. It’s been this weird surprise, doing new music. With the first solo records, I had a very clear plan of what they would be that was very distinct to that time period. Now it’s open-ended. I went in and did mood boards, a visual mood board of what it would be and started that way. With music, you sometimes just can’t really predict it.

On Love. Angel. Music. Baby., you sang about the fear of going solo. And then on the follow-up, The Sweet Escape, you sang about feeling guilty for doing it again.
Because of No Doubt or because of my kids? I can feel guilty about so many things.

Because of No Doubt — you had that line, “Only one solo / I swore.” Do you still have that little voice of hesitation inside your head?
There was a little bit, because I have so many different hats that I wear. I have my own life, I have my life as a wife, as a mother, as the singer of No Doubt, I’m on The Voice, and then I have all of my fashion designing things that I do. I’m always feeling like, am I giving enough to that? Am I giving enough to that? I just have to follow my instincts. When I did The Sweet Escape, I knew that I needed to do that. If you’re not inspired to do something, nothing comes. When I was about to do that second record, I did feel, “Should I go back and do another No Doubt record?” Everybody was waiting for me to do that, meaning my band. I just didn’t feel ready to do that music-wise, because I still wanted to do quirky dance music.

This time, that wasn’t even a option. It was either no new music and do The Voice or do some more dance music and just be free and see what happens. It wouldn’t be an option to do No Doubt because there was was no time! I had a baby, and then eight weeks later I was shooting the campaign for The Voice. It was very quick and unexpected. No Doubt has a bunch of stuff that we’ve worked on, and we’re going to see where we go next. It’s interesting, because it’s not one or the other. No Doubt doesn’t have to be on a complete hiatus for me to do new music on my own. It can happen simultaneously.

When Love. Angel. Music. Baby. came out 10 years ago, it didn’t sound like anything else out there. “Spark the Fire” is the same way — how do you pick sounds that still seem fresh years later?
That is such a flattering, sweet compliment, but I obviously don’t think about that. When you’re going in, you’re just thinking about what’s going to come out. Pharrell is a genius. He’s not scared, and he is only interested in doing something that’s different from what’s out there, in a really dangerous, punk rock kind of way. I just love being around him, because he’s such a purist, and he’s competitive in such a positive, creative, artful way. Just being around his energy puts me in a whole new chapter. He’s just been so supportive of me, and I don’t understand it. I’m like, “You’re the biggest, most incredibly talented, forward, modern producer-songwriter-artist of our generation! And I get to hang out with you and piggyback on all your success?” I’m so happy about it. He’s so generous and just wants me to do that.

He presented two songs to me that he wrote, and they were so weird and crazy. I was like, “But I really want something hard” — I don’t remember saying that, but he says that’s what I said. He came into my trailer at The Voice and was like, “I gotta play this!” He was crazy about it. We were meant to be going on [stage], and he’s like, “I don’t care!” He’s setting his Beats Pill up. “It has to have bass in it, if you’re going to hear it!” He plays me this song, and it was the beat for “Spark the Fire.” I was like, “That’s it, that’s it, we’re going to go in.” It sounded like a really good idea that morning, but by the end of the day, it was like, “Are we really going to the studio right now?” We went in and wrote that song. It’s so weird. Come on! I mean, it has this weird intro, this weird bridge, the lyrics are all over the place. It’s perfectly a mashup of us together, and it totally defines where I’m at.

Pharrell says this song is about feminism, which I’m not sure I get.
He calls it a feminist anthem. I would never call it that! Because it’s just not. That’s what he sees in me — I don’t see that. I see it as a personal song that is a really positive message about don’t mess with my vibe. I’m going to be up here, don’t bring me down. Get off my cloud, because no one’s going to take me away from this positivity. If I don’t do any other songs in this moment in my life, this one is definitely a good one to define this period. That’s all I can ask for. I just feel more grateful than ever if anyone pays attention. The longer that you have a career, the more precious you are about it, the more grateful you get, the more you realize that at any point it’s going to be gone. You don’t let one minute tick by where you’re not grateful for anyone listening to your song or getting joy out of that.

Looking back on Love. Angel. Music. Baby., do you regret the Harajuku Girls given the criticism you received?
No. There’s always going to be two sides to everything. For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. You can’t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? Of course you can. Of course you can celebrate other cultures. That’s what Japanese culture and American culture have done. It’s like I say in the song [“Harajuku Girls”]: it’s a ping-pong match. We do something American, they take it and they flip it and make it so Japanese and so cool. And we take it back and go, “Whoa, that’s so cool!” That’s so beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing in the world, how our cultures come together. I don’t feel like I did anything but share that love. You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud. Because, seriously, that was all meant out of love.

And the girls themselves, it was just a magical thing to get to know them. They were dancers that were cast, but they became real. One girl was a Japanese girl that grew up in L.A., and she got to hang around with three different Japanese girls that were from different places in Japan and had different backgrounds. They became best friends, and she got to go to Japan and see her heritage and see how we are all the same. And I got to hang out with girls for the first time.

TIME Music

Watch Gwen Stefani’s Kaleidoscopic ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ Video

The singer has some green-screen fun

Gwen Stefani just released her solo comeback single “Baby Don’t Lie” yesterday, but she’s already delivered the kaleidoscopic video, directed by longtime collaborator Sophie Muller. The clip is appropriately colorful for the stylish pop star, but it must have been a bore to shoot for Stefani, who probably had to spend a couple hours rolling around on the floor and strutting back and forth in front of a green screen. No wonder the singer checks her iPhone halfway through. (Kidding! It’s probably product placement.)

Wisely, Stefani chose not to reunite the Harajuku Girls for the video’s big alleyway dance-off.

TIME Television

Christina Aguilera’s Return to The Voice Doesn’t Make Sense

Christina Aguilera
Barry Brecheisen—Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP Christina Aguilera performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans on Friday, May 2, 2014. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP)

The pop star returns home, but her over-the-top image has never fit in on reality TV

There’s nothing like the original. Christina Aguilera, one of the inaugural coaches on NBC’s The Voice, is to return to the show next season following a maternity leave, replacing substitute judge Gwen Stefani. Pharrell Williams is to remain in place as a judge following the departure of Cee Lo Green.

It’s a boon for Aguilera, since a (rotating) seat at the table is a powerful promotional opportunity for any artist; it’s helped Williams, already famous for songs like “Happy,” become better known as a personality, and has further vitalized the careers of fellow coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. But Shelton and Levine’s act was scaled for a reality show. The two of them seem, for all their success and recording-industry experience, like pals that might very well come over for a beer. Something has never quite connected with Aguilera, who in her early years on the show was better known for baroque costumes than for a “likable” personality. Aguilera, pouting and vamping as her co-stars tossed jokes over her head, failed to do what Jennifer Lopez, a female pop star as iconic as Aguilera herself, had managed on American Idol — to seem approachable.

There’s great camp value in Aguilera’s self-consciousness as she fans herself or purses her lips in response in reply to a performance; she has the awareness of the camera’s gaze that befits a pop star who’s been making hits since she was a teen. But her fun staginess isn’t in line with the chill, lo-fi characteristics that tend to make a relatable star. Perhaps that’s why, unlike Shelton and Levine, Aguilera’s been unable to convert her time on a huge hit show into commercial success; she’d previously taken a season off, in 2013, to promote her album Lotus, widely perceived as a commercial failure.

Aguilera has always been a bizarre fit for a show whose very conceit is that vocal performance is more important than image. The pop star’s own performances on the show (contestants aside, the coaches are and always have been the stars of The Voice) were competent if poorly judged in just how much she deployed her signature melisma. They were also reliant on costuming and weird spectacle to the point of incoherence. Aguilera’s Voice performances, like her duet with Lady Gaga, suffer from a labored-over diva act that runs entirely counter to the earthiness and humility of the aspirant singers on The Voice. Perhaps her time away will have brought her back to earth.

TIME Television

Singing Nun Becomes Winner Of Italy’s ‘The Voice’

Sister Cristina Scuccia has won the final of Italy's version of 'The Voice'

Singing sensation Sister Cristina, who garnered millions of YouTube views, has won the final of The Voice of Italy and a contract with Universal Music.

Dressed in a nun’s habit and wearing a crucifix, 25-year-old Sister Cristina Scuccia said her win was “not up to me, it’s thanks to the man upstairs!” before reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the BBC reports.

The young nun quickly became an Internet superstar after her first appearance on The Voice. Her cover of Alicia Keys’ song “No-One” has attracted over 50 million views on YouTube alone. However, Sister Cristina suggested she wouldn’t let fame go to her head, saying that she was happy to return to singing with children in her chapel in Milan.

Sister Cristina, a reformed rebel who has become incredibly popular in predominantly Catholic Italy, said she was following Pope Francis’ advice to make Catholicism more accessible to ordinary people. In her first audition in March she told judges, “I have a gift and I am giving it to you.”

Her gift wasn’t lost on Whoopi Goldberg, star of comic film Sister Act, who tweeted a link to Sister’s Cristina’s audition writing, “for when you want a taste of sister act!” In subsequent appearances Sister Cristina covered Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”.

Sister Cristina, a native of Sicily, decided to become a nun after auditioning for a musical about the founder of the Ursuline Order, Saint Angela Medici, the Telegraph reports. She became a novice in 2009 though she has yet to take her final vows.


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