How 'The Voice' judges are boosting song success through the show

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed the duet 'Go Ahead and Break My Heart' on a recent episode of 'The Voice,' a program for which Shelton is a judge and Stefani has previously served as a judge. 

Tyler Golden/NBC
'The Voice' judge Blake Shelton performs on a May 9 episode of the NBC program.

"The Voice" judges Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani performed their new song on a recent episode of the NBC singing competition "The Voice." 

Mr. Shelton is currently serving as a judge on the reality competition along with Adam Levine of Maroon 5, singer Christina Aguilera, and Pharrell Williams. Ms. Stefani has been a judge on "Voice" in the past. 

The two performed their duet "Go Ahead and Break My Heart" on the May 9 episode of the program, which also included contestants such as Laith Al-Saadi, Alisan Porter, and Nick Hagelin singing their latest numbers. Another added emotional layer to the duo's performance is the fact that they are in a relationship and wrote the duet together.

"Go," which will appear on Shelton's new album "If I'm Honest" to be released on May 20, is currently at number three on the iTunes top songs chart.

Both Stefani and Shelton have experienced commercial success with their songs in the past, with Stefani's newest album "This Is What The Truth Feels Like,”'which came out last month, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200, which measures album sales, and Shelton's 2011 album "Red River Blue" reaching that same ranking on the Billboard 200. 

And now they may experience even more success following the performance of their new song. Judges on popular singing competitions are often performers in their own right and so sometimes do renditions of their tracks on the shows. This can lead to an increase in the success of a song.

Hollywood Reporter writer Fred Bronson noted in 2014 that all three judges of "American Idol" at the time – singers Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. – were all experiencing good sales and that Ms. Lopez and Mr. Connick Jr. had recently performed their songs on the program.

Mr. Bronson wrote of Connick Jr., "He performed on last week's results show, which was sure to cause a chart impact this week. His album 'Every Man Should Know' rocketed from 21 to 1 on Top Jazz Albums." 

The effect has been happening for some time, with USA Today writer Brian Mansfield noting that sales for Lopez's song "Dance Again" increased after she performed it on "Idol" in 2012, which Mr. Mansfield wrote "might account for a good chunk of its 39 percent week-to-week gain." 

The benefit for artists is clear. If their program is successful, they're reaching a large amount of viewers if they perform on a show.

However, Mark Carpowich of The Huffington Post feels that these segments can take the focus away from the program's contestants. "The show will likely feature [the judges] in a starring role, devoting valuable air time to their own performances, promotional opportunities, and playful banter," Mr. Carpowich wrote of "The Voice" in 2014. "The contestants, on the other hand, will probably once again take a back seat...."

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