The Voice returns for seventh season on NBC

One of TV’s hottest reality shows, The Voice, returns this month, offering singers from around the country a chance to make it big—or bomb. This is the seventh season for the high-stakes vocal competition series that boasts a cast of famous coaches who—along with fans watching at home—decide which contestants make the cut and which should be ditched.

The Voice debuted in 2011 and proved to be a smashing success rankings-wise for NBC. The show was inspired by a European series called The Voice of Holland. Hosted by MTV alum and Today host Carson Daly, the show takes a unique approach to the competition process. There are five high-pressure phases to the competition. During the first phase, known as the Blind Audition, the coaches, who are seated in swiveling chairs, can hear but not see the contestants. A coach who likes what he hears will press a button and choose the competitor for his team. (If an artist is selected by more than once coach, then he gets to decide which one he wants to go with—a tough decision!) When the teams have been established, each coach works on honing the talents of their chosen vocalists.

The show’s winner is ultimately chosen by TV watchers, who cast votes for their favorites via phone, Internet, and text, and by buying the artist’s music through iTunes. The show’s champ receives a hefty cash prize of $100,000 and—even better—a record contract with Universal Music. Previous winners of the show include singers Cassadee Pope, Josh Kaufman, Jermaine Paul, and Javier Colon.

The Voice's 'Jeffery Austin'
The Voice’s ‘Jeffery Austin’

The Voice’s cast of musical coaches represents every spectrum of the industry, and they’re part of the show’s appeal. Past coaches include CeeLo Green, Shakira, and Usher. Two new coaches join the cast this season: vocal goddess Gwen Stefani of the band No Doubt (stepping in for a pregnant Christina Aguilera) and hip hop star and producer Pharrell Williams. Their presence on the show is sure spice things up! On board again this year as coaches are heartthrob rocker Adam Levine and country superstar Blake Shelton.

The Voice’s unique mix of personalities, artistic styles, and, of course, high-pressure competition has made it a hit with viewers. The show has garnered an incredible 2,271,981 followers on Google+. Tune in on September 22 at 8 p.m. EST for the season premiere.

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