Nellie Andreeva

During a beach press event at Mark Burnett’s Malibu house on Sunday, the Voice executive producer addressed the long-rumored format changes that will be introduced on the upcoming third season of the NBC singing competition. He called them an “evolution of the format.” Originally, NBC brass had indicated that the goal was to extend the popular spinning chairs element beyond the blind audition early rounds. That doesn’t appear to be the case but the producers are shaking up the battle rounds that follow the auditions. “This year there’s much more at stake,” Burnett said. “When (the coaches) have their battles and select one person to stay with them and one person to leave, the other coach can buzz in and steal that person that the coach has sent home… it’s called the steal.” The four coaches are allowed to steal two contestants each, for a total of 10 artists on their team. Those hopefuls will then move onto a new round called “the knockouts,” where they will go down from ten to five each before heading into the live shows.

At the press junket, coach Christina Aguilera was asked about the perceived rivalry with fellow pop diva Britney Spears, which joined The Voice competitor, Fox’s The Factor. “I welcome her to this family of fun and entertainment and finding new talent as well,” she said. “Britney’s a pro, and she’s going to give, I think, great advice. So I’m like, ‘Come on.  The more, the merrier.’”

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