Details are now coming out about Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine's unexpected departure from The Voice ahead of Season 17. Reports say that Levine's issues tie into the final weeks of Season 16 and drama surrouding NBC's Upfront advertiser presentation.
Now the details of how that sudden decision came about have leaked, and it dates back to Levine's behavior during the Season 16 semifinals and NBC's upfront presentation last week.
Sources told TVLine Levine did not want to attend Sunday's semifinals taping, as he had no artists left in the competition by then. Once he was there, Levine made it known he did not want to be there, with one eyewitness describing him as "very difficult." He often refused to offer comments on other contestants.
Levine was reportedly not a fan with a Season 16 rule change that did not guarantee at least one performer from each coach's team in the Live Playoffs. The Live Cross Battles took the place of the Knockouts, and his team was cut down to just four performers. By the time they reached the semifinals, all of Levine's singers were gone.
During the May 13 episode, Levine's frustrations even made it on air. While he did praise Blake Shelton's singer Andrew Sevener, John Legend contestant and eventual winner Maelyn Jarmon, Legend contestant Shawn Sounds and Kelly Clarkson contestant Rod Stokes, Levine was quiet for the rest of the show. When Levine talked about Stokes, he was clearly not happy with the new rules.
“I still don’t understand how you’re not on my team. I don’t think anybody does, just ’cause it’s weird how it works now,” the "Moves Like Jagger" singer said. “I’m still learning the rules of the new show.”
Levine's performance at NBC's upfront presentation also disappointed executives, according to TVLine. Levine sang a bit during the presentation, but was nowhere near as animated as Shelton, Clarkson and Legend.
“Adam had been checked out for a while, but this was a new low," an insider told the outlet. "It was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Paul Telegdy was reportedly so "furious" and "embarrassed" by Levine, he wanted him fired right away. Eventually, he backed down on that idea, and one source said Telegdy and executives were actually appreciative the coaches went to New York in person during the week they were filming live shows in Los Angeles.
When NBC announced The Voice would be coming back for a 17th season on May 10, the peacock network said all four Season 16 judges would be back. But on Friday, Daly announced Levine was leaving, and Gwen Stefani was picked as his replacement.
After the news broke, Levine took to Instagram, where he thanked everyone involved in the show and said it was "time to move on." He also reflected on his friendship with Shelton, who served as a judge with Levine for all 16 seasons.1comments
"I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried. Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it," Levine wrote of Shelton. "Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, Im just happy I got to experience it with you. You’re my brother for life."
Photo credit: NBC