“Never!” is the quick response Emmy winner Carson Daly has when asked if he predicted his hosting gig on “The Voice” would last for 20 seasons. “It was quite the opposite. People thought we were crazy. If you recall the landscape in television at that time, ‘American Idol,’ by all accounts, was kind of rounding third heading for home after their monumental success. Yet there still seemed to be an appetite for singing competitions because ‘X-Factor’ was coming over from Europe. When we got this format from Holland, we had a very small window of time to get it on NBC before ‘X-Factor.’ We never thought we’d last, we barely thought we would survive.” Watch the exclusive video interview with Daly above.
The reality TV series just wrapped its 20th season on NBC, 10 years after premiering in 2011. It has won seven Emmys including four for Best Competition Program, with Daly taking home trophies as a producer. Daly has acted as emcee throughout the entire run while coach Blake Shelton is the only other onscreen presence on every season.
When asked about his favorite contestants throughout the years, Daly pulls from the archives, citing memorable performances from Season 1. “On my phone I have a recording of Tim Mahoney,” he reveals. “[Mahoney and Casey Weston] did a duet of ‘Leather and Lace,’ the Don Henley/Stevie Nicks song. Them together was one of the best duets I’ve ever seen. And I also harken back to the initial [winner] Javier Colon when he covered Cyndi Lauper (‘Time After Time’). That promo, the very first promo that ever ran for this TV show, I still believe was a very big moment for the show.”
Daly considers his biggest struggle in recent seasons to be social distancing mandates that have prevented him from interacting with families of the contestants. “My favorite part of the show is in the blind auditions when I’m with the families,” he admits. “When a chair turns it’s the most jubilant, fun room to be in of all time. Then I go into the next room and a chair doesn’t turn and it’s really tough. The mood swing of emotions is tough to deal with but I feel like, as a host, that’s kind of my job and I just love being with real people.”
Season 20 concluded on May 25 with Cam Anthony taking home the trophy for Team Blake. Kenzie Wheeler was the runner-up from Team Kelly Clarkson while Jordan Matthew Young (also Team Blake), Rachel Mac (Team Nick Jonas) and Victor Solomon (Team John Legend) rounded out the top five. Pop superstar Ariana Grande will make her debut as a coach, replacing Jonas, in Season 21 this fall.
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