By David T. Farr
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NBC’s “The Voice” returns Monday night sporting an all new look. Well, almost. The seventh season finds Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams seated in the swivel chairs that were occupied last season by Shakira and Usher. Those two had been successors of Christina Aguilera and Ceelo Green. The only original coach members left are Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.

“The Voice” is the kind of show where the interchanging of coaches, or judges, can work and can be a way to stay fresh.

I think “The Voice” survives on the coaches’ ability to win over the viewing audience rather than the affection of its casting competitors. It doesn’t matter who ends up on whose team, eventually the judges eventually support all the contestants.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This show does not care about producing a winning talent. Instead, it thrives more on entertaining viewers. In six prior seasons, no one has reached stardom, not even the winners.

That’s not to say the show hasn’t found great talent. It simply means contestants don’t get a big enough push from the show to make it happen like “American Idol.”

Cassadee Pope (Season 3 winner) and Daniele Bradbury (Season 4) each looked poised to take over country music after leading coach Blake Shelton to victory. But the only person in that mix whose star shone even brighter afterward was Shelton’s.

I truly thought Levine’s Tessanne Chin from Season 5 would break the mold when she won. She did such an amazing job. Her voice was absolutely on par with every other major female icon. And yet, Chin has all but disappeared.

Why doesn’t anyone get anywhere from this show? That’s the burning question. All three mentioned above have released albums, but with little or no fanfare. I don’t get it.

I hate that I’ve invested all this time into it only to get nothing in return. Coaches or not, it’s getting old.

Stefani will prove to be a comfortable fit for the show. She should easily win over the viewing audience. Williams ought to do so, too, but I also don’t see him wasting his time and not producing a winner. He’s made stars out of other people for several years. Something tells me he could be the one to take the winner straight to the charts.

I want to like this show. I really do like the coaches, both past and present. I think it’s far too gimmicky for my tastes. Maybe Pharrell can change. He would make me “Happy” if he could!

Contact David T. Farr at farrboy@hotmail.com.