A 'Voice' tells us it's a keeper for NBC

Pictured: (l-r) Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine in Pictured: (l-r) Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine in "The Voice" Episode 102. Airdate: May 3, 2011. Photo Credit: NBC/Lewis Jacobs

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REVIEW

REASON TO WATCH: Could be that hit NBC's been scrambling for.

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday night at 9 on NBC/4

THE SHOW "The Voice"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 9 on NBC/4

REASON TO WATCH Could be that hit NBC's been scrambling for.

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WHAT IT'S ABOUT On the off chance you missed last week's premiere: Four coaches/judges -- Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton -- listen with their backs to a performer, and then hit a button if they want that singer to join their team. Each judge will coach their singers and get them ready for the big time: a sing-off in June when viewers vote for and crown a champ, who gets $100,000 and a record contract. So-called battle performances begin next week, and everything wraps in June -- no date set -- when live episodes will air.

MY SAY Last week's "Voice" launch was a rocket to the moon for NBC -- nearly 12 million viewers and an undreamed-of victory over ABC and Fox in young-adult viewers. A repeat aired the next night (Wednesday), and naturally was slaughtered against "American Idol," but that's irrelevant.

That first-night number was astounding, and NBC was justifiably thrilled. But were viewers? Obviously, drive-bys were gonna stop to see stars of the magnitude of Aguilera or Cee Lo sitting in those huge chairs that looked like something out of a Disney ride. That was irresistible. Also, each of the judges, coaches or whatever-you-wanna-call-'em, offered enough chemistry and wattage to make you forget that this is really just "Star Search" with a gimmick or "The Sing Off" with better pipes. What's odd here, if not necessarily fatal, are the contestants themselves. They're all very good, but the show neglects to tell you that they're also professionals with a real body of work behind them, as well as other reality TV appearances; alas, contestant Frenchie Davis revealed a bit too much of her body of work during "Idol's" second season and was forced to leave when old topless photos of her surfaced. Tarralyn Ramsey even won VH1's "Born to Diva" in 2003.

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BOTTOM LINE While you're left to wonder why these four stars need a reality show, or why the contestants never made it in the first place, "The Voice" should remain a solid performer for NBC -- which so badly needs it.

GRADE B

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