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‘The Voice’ Coaches Respond to the Pressure to Find a Star

While “American Idol” has a long list of success stories to its credit — Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, to name a few — “The Voice” has yet to create a household name.

But according to Pharrell — who returns along with original coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera, who’s back after a two-season hiatus — that’s not the point of “The Voice.”

“The show is not a record company,” Pharrell said at a recent press conference for season eight, when a reporter pointed out “The Voice’s” failure to create a breakout star.

“People ask that same question every time, and I think it’s because… you’re looking for something…that’s going to really bite and make your bosses excited that you got something good. That’s not why we’re here to do this interview. We’re here to do this interview because we want to explain to you what this is and what it means to us.”

Instead, the point of the show is discovering new talent, Pharrell said. “There’s a lot of good that comes out of this show,” he said. “We’re reminded that there’s a lot of talent in America with this show. And we’re also reminded that there’s goodwill in TV shows because you’re watching someone go through it.”

Levine said that while he does think a big star will eventually come out of “The Voice,” that’s not necessarily the sole measure of a singer’s success.

“I think that people judge success like it’s this all‑or‑nothing thing, and that’s not the case,” he said. “There have been plenty of successes to pinpoint, but people really don’t choose to look at that. They choose to look at all the things that haven’t happened yet. But a lot has happened for a lot of these artists who are all better off and are all at another level of their careers as a result of being on ‘The Voice.'”

Success, Levine admitted, is difficult to achieve. “A lot of things have to come together at the right moment for that to happen, whether it’s on a television show or it’s on a record label. So it’s going to happen, I genuinely believe that. [But] I don’t believe that there’s any sort of formula that can guarantee that.”

Christina Aguilera called the series an important “training ground” for singers.

“People like to watch the journey,” Aguilera told Variety, adding that the show resonates with viewers because it’s “honest” and “human.” The new mother of two reminded the room that she didn’t win “Star Search,” pointing out, “Sometimes whenever the journey on the show ends, we don’t need instant gratification for their success right away. Their journey is kind of just beginning.”

She said she’s eager for the opportunity to return to the show and mentor singers. “It’s great that you can share and feel proud of somebody that you’ve supported for all through this journey, which is crazy, and it’s a lot of work for them,” she said. “It’s a competitive format, which I love and I hate because I don’t like music being so competitive. But it’s a great training ground to prep them for what comes in the future, once they are not on the show.”

“The Voice” returns to NBC on Feb. 23.

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