Maroon 5 frontman and "Voice" judge Adam Levine might have the moves like Mick Jagger, but when it comes to carrying a tune, he says he’s just a singer in the band.
“I don’t consider myself a singer. I’m a musician and a guitar player,” Levine told TODAY.com. “I’m ... not a true vocalist.”
That said, he believes his experiences as a singer are valuable when working with the aspiring performers on "The Voice."
And even though he’s considered a judge on the NBC singing competition, which debuts after the Super Bowl this Sunday before moving into its regular time slot at 8 p.m. on Monday, Levine thinks of his job as being more of a non-competitive coach with his fellow chair-folk Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.
(FYI, TODAY.com is powered by msnbc.com, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
“We mess around with each other on the show and it’s totally playful and it’s not real,” he shared with us. “Our job is to help these people get where they want to go. It doesn’t matter who wins. I don’t care if it’s someone on my team, someone on Cee Lo’s, Christina’s. Makes no difference to me. I just want these people to all to get a shot.”
Aguilera makes it plain that she didn’t sign on to play the queen of mean.
“We all told (the producer) we’re not signing up if it’s about ridiculing someone or poking fun at their inability to sing or lack of talent,” the sassy singer told us. “That’s not in support of anything we do as artists and we wouldn’t be a part of that.”
That said, look for a little more critiquing to take place in this go-round.
“Last year we were all finding our own comfort zone and were tired of seeing the attack, we wanted to give genuine opinion without tearing people down,” Aguilera said of last season’s gentle approach to the singers. “This year we’re actually diving more into critiquing.”
But not tearing down.
“You don’t have to tell somebody they suck when you know exactly what was wrong with the performance,” Shelton said. “You pinpoint whatever (was wrong).”
And there will be more mentors on the show this season including Jewel, Lionel Ritchie, Kelly Clarkson and Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert, who got her start placing third on "Nashville Star."
“I chose Miranda and Kelly because they both survived reality talent television shows,” Blake told us. “I wanted someone who could talk to them about what they are going through and how to handle it and how to appropriate it.”
So what are the judges – make that coaches – looking for this time?
“It’s not hearing myself in them, but hearing something in them that inspired me as well,” Green told us. “This second season I’m looking for those kindred spirits in the selections I made.”
Levine said even though they have their backs to the singers in the beginning when they make their selections, once they come face to face with their charges, image plays into their development.
“To say no one cares about image is a big fat lie," Levine told us. "Once the chairs turn around, we try to nurture them as singers and performers. Whether you are talking about Dylan or Janet Jackson, both have a vibe, an image that put out into the world. You need that to succeed in this business.”
And maybe moving like Jagger means more than being the best vocalist on the stage.
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Want more on "The Voice"? Tune in to TODAY Friday for Adam Levine's appearance.
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