'The Voice' winner: Are the judges the real stars of the show?

A new winner has been crowned on 'The Voice,' but a champion on the singing show has yet to really break through. Are the judges on 'The Voice' more of a draw than those competing?

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
'The Voice' judges include Blake Shelton (l.) and Adam Levine (r.).

The NBC singing competition “The Voice” declared another winner Tuesday.

Singer Sawyer Fredericks won the latest season of the reality show, while Meghan Linsey came in second place, Joshua Davis took third, and Koryn Hawthorne landed at fourth.

“Happy” singer Pharrell Williams won his first victory as coach for assisting Fredericks, according to Yahoo.

“I kind of want to get back to the farm, just to get a little break from all this," Fredericks said in an interview with Rolling Stone Country. “So I'm excited to get back home.”

So the question now is, where will Fredericks go from here?

Compared to contestants at rival reality singing competition “American Idol,” which brought the world such successful singers as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Phillip Phillips, “Voice” winners have struggled. Season-five winner Tessanne Chin had the lowest album sales debut for a "Voice" winner ever, in 2014, according to the Hollywood Reporter, debuting at number 41 on the Billboard 200. Winner Cassadee Pope's album "Frame By Frame" made it to number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart, but she hasn't become a household name like "Idol's" Clarkson or Underwood.

Not all "American Idol" champions break through either, but Entertainment Weekly writer Samantha Highfill was asking as recently as this past January, “Will 'The Voice' ever find a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood? ... considering 'The Voice'’s season 2 winner, Jermaine Paul, hasn’t even released a debut album, maybe there is something missing from 'The Voice' formula. Why can’t singers successfully transition from selling cover songs to selling albums of original music?” 

Are “Voice” viewers simply tuning in to see the judges rather than the contestants? Billboard writer Paul Brownfield certainly came to that conclusion, writing in 2014: "'The Voice' hasn't created an actual star – but is making bigger stars of its judges … the show, three years in, has never launched an actual star along the lines of 'American Idol' alums Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood … [the show takes] established artists and [makes] them bigger — much bigger — while showcasing a celebrity chemistry using high-caliber names that usually don’t tread in prime-time reality.” 

This season, the judges were Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine and singers Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera. Levine’s band currently has a song, “Sugar,” at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of May 23, while Shelton’s song “Sangria” is at number five on the Billboard Hot Country Song list for the same week. Williams’ song “Happy” became the top Hot 100 song for the year of 2014, according to Billboard, and Aguilera, who has multiple albums under her belt, recently won a Grammy at the 2015 ceremony for her song “Say Something” with the band A Great Big World. 

Now “The Voice” just needs one of its winners to have the same success as its judges.

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