News Column

Reality TV turns up volume for 'Voice' guys [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

July 31, 2013

YellowBrix

Musicians must make good music to succeed, but appearing on a popular reality-television show can boost their fame, too.

Take Blake Shelton, for instance. The country-music star, who used to perform at smaller venues for a few thousand, will be headlining a show Aug. 2 at the First Niagara Pavilion, and has been selling out shows on his Ten Times Crazier Tour. Four days later, pop rock band Maroon 5 will headline a concert at the same venue.

What do these two acts have in common? Shelton and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine serve as judges on the NBC hit show "The Voice."

The two headliners have other reality TV connections. Kelly Clarkson, opening for Maroon 5, won the first season of Fox's "American Idol," and Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, was a finalist on USA Network's "Nashville Star."

Michael McCall, an editor and writer for publications at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, says that "The Voice" has lifted Shelton to a new level of stardom. He won the 2012 Entertainer of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music.

"Blake had a long career and had been doing well before 'The Voice,' but it certainly changed after 'The Voice,' " McCall says. "It boosted his recognition level, and more people became aware of him.

"He has always struggled to get to the A level," he says. Shelton "was always a well-recognized B artist ... not winning awards or headlining arenas."

Fans of "The Voice" who weren't previously country fans may have liked Shelton's warm, funny persona on the show, checked out his music and became his fans, McCall says.

"If you look at country music and music in general, TV shows have become one of the ways that talent rises and gets recognition."

Bubba Snider, who does the morning Bubba Show on WBZZ-FM (100.7), says that "The Voice" and other reality shows have given Levine and other stars more personal exposure, but their music carries them. Maroon 5 didn't seem to get more requests for airplay at 100.7 because of the show.

"The artists already were A-level music stars before they ever were judges on reality TV shows, but I don't necessarily think, from a musical standpoint, that it made their music better," Snider says.

Still, "In the world of Hollywood, being a star and (getting) exposure is always good," he says.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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