‘The Voice’: Do Producers Want Gwen Stefani to Fight With Blake Shelton?

Creating mini reality segments for judging panels on reality/competition shows has become a new trope on TV over the years, mostly started by American Idol. The show helped create another layer of interest by having the judges either flirting with one another — the early Simon and Paula Abdul years — or viciously arguing. Things are fairly calm on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent, although not always.

On NBC’s The Voice, the dynamic between Blake Shelton and Adam Levine was one creating plenty of buzz in past seasons. Their bickering was often looked at as true rivalry when they were good friends in real life.

Now, with Gwen Stefani filling Levine’s chair after he announced his departure, the show might have relationship acrimony brewing between Shelton and Stefani. 

Is it a good idea to have dating companions on a judging panel together?

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In a TV universe that often has reality shows showing open and brutal arguing, maybe it wouldn’t be shocking to see a couple bickering on a competition show. After the Housewives franchise set a precedent for jaw-dropping fights between friends and spouses, everything else now pales in comparison.

Then again, NBC hasn’t gone there with their competition shows, or anything else. Seeing Stefani and Shelton arguing over a contestant on The Voice could breathe new fresh air into the judging panel, or potentially become annoying.

According to US Magazine, executives have already encouraged Stefani to spar with Shelton as much as possible to help fill Levine’s shoes. We guess that’s all the proof you need of how most reality shows work where producers encourage specific behavior.

To what lengths will this go, though? With the cat out of the bag about producers wanting Shefani to fight, will it look fake or too convincing?

The art of a faux TV fight

One could easily argue the fights on the Housewives franchise are all products of situation writers. Not that there probably aren’t small elements of truth to those fall-down screaming matches.

Deciding what’s real and what isn’t has created plenty of debate over the value of reality shows. Reality-competition shows have moved into the same arena, including creating situations for the contestants, or enhancing certain personal stories for the sake of emotion.

Any fights we see between Stefani and Shelton are going to be immediately scrutinized for being concocted, unless they can make it convincing. Most real couples have moments when they argue once in a while. The mystery of whether Stefani’s arguments are real would probably generate more interest in viewers on whether the couple takes their beefs home with them.

At the same time, it could also take away too much from the competition itself.

Will the audience believe anything anymore?

Reality shows still take the chance the audience will believe a fight if they see one. Producers likely know the audience knows how many reality show fabrications there are nowadays. Since there’s always room for doubt, the Stefani-Shelton arguments might fool more than a few people.

Some rumors have gone around about the two arguing backstage in past seasons of The Voice when Stefani was just a guest judge. These stories might give a bit of an edge to maybe some of the arguments being real, if maybe coaxed in the beginning.

Prompting situations to happen that ultimately turn into something unexpected is how situation writers do their jobs. Then again, this could all bite back if we see Stefani going at it too much to the detriment of paying attention to the singers.