Interview: Kelly Clarkson and Producers on What Viewers Can Expect on American Song Contest, Monday on NBC

American Song ContestOn Monday, NBC premiere its newest live entertainment event, American Song Contest. The series is based on Eurovision Song Contest. The series will feature original live musical performance from across the country, featuring both new talent and legendary icons, in different styles and genres. Both solo artists and groups will be featured.

The competition is host by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg.

Recently, Clarkson, along with executive producers Audrey Morrissey, Ben Silverman, Anders Lenhoff, and Christer Björkman took part in a Zoom conference to discuss the competition series.

Clarkson has previously worked with Snoop Dogg on The Voice and was happy to get to work together once again. “I love Snoop,” said Clarkson. “I loved working with him on The Voice. We worked really well together, and the thing I loved most about him is that he really took his time listening and kind of taking it in, each performance because, honestly, you only see the edited version on TV, but we are actually there...We were there for hours, and he still took the time to really invest. He really cared, and he gave really solid feedback. He was into it, and you can really tell, and America can tell...While we are from, like, different areas, we both really love people succeeding. We both really love watching people nail it. We both really love supporting other artists, and he's just fun to work with. So, I know we might seem like the odd couple, but we get along well."

One of the things people questioned during the conference was if smaller populated states would still have an equal chance. “Everybody competes on equal terms,” explained Lenhoff. “So, it means that every single state has its own equal voting power. That goes with the territories too. So, whoever wins the popular vote in California gets twelve points, but whoever wins the popular vote in Guam also gets twelve points. So, to win this competition, you need to find support in as many states and territories as possible. You need to find a broad base.”

Morrissey also explained that they feel both new talent and established artists will have an equal chance. “What is playing out over this show is the actual music business. All of these up‑and‑coming stars are competing with the Jewels and the Michael Boltons and the Macy Grays and The Weekends and the Kelly Clarksons and the Blake Sheltons and everybody. It's just, it is what it is. You can't undo people's experience and their profile when you are trying to come up. So, what we are doing is giving everybody an even playing field on a platform and to make of it what they can, and everybody is being given the same support. And, yes, Michael Bolton and Jewel have more of a profile, I'm sure, with some groups of the American public but not all. And I would also add, like, Americans love to discover new people, new musicians, new songs, new everything, and they also love an underdog.”

“They love an underdog...I almost feel like legacy artists are going to have to work harder,” added Clarkson.

During the conference, the group also discussed how contestants were chosen and much more about what viewers can expect.

Be sure to stay tuned for more coverage once live shows begin.

Zoom Conference
March 14, 2022

American Song Contest

Audrey Morrissey, Executive Producer/Showrunner
Ben Silverman, Executive Producer
Kelly Clarkson, Host/Executive Producer
Anders Lenhoff, Executive Producer
Christer Björkman, Executive Producer

Edited for clarity and length

Hello and welcome to our conversation with our executive producers for NBC's upcoming, all‑live music competition series American Song Contest...I will just kick it off and go to Ben to talk about how he brought the show to America.
BEN SILVERMAN: I've always loved this incredible show. And, you know, to collaborate and work with the people who actually produced the finale in the Swedish qualifying show is an amazing privilege. And, then, with Audrey and Kelly and Snoop joining our party, this is a dream come true. I've pursued the rights for this for over 25 years, between being an agent, a network executive, and a serial producer and show‑creator entrepreneur. This has been the granddaddy of all music competition shows. It's not only the first, it's the most ambitious and unique, and I'm so thrilled that we are all doing it together for NBC. I think this is the ultimate in broadcast television. It's a show that the rights are actually controlled by the European Broadcasting Union, one of the largest conglomerates of different broadcasters from around the world and a not‑for‑profit. And Eurovision has just gone from strength to strength year to year and remains arguably the most popular and important entertainment television show in the world, and I think it translates beautifully to America and our diverse culture that is only unified through its music and song, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. I'm so excited that Kelly and Snoop are hosting it. I can't wait for how well they do in this kind of live environment but also that they represent such different parts of our country, and I think they are a dream couple and team to drive this show for us. And I just think you've got to tune in. This is going to be surprising every step of the way. It's two hours. It's live. It's filled with regional passion and state‑by‑state brilliance. And I think you are going to be amazed to see some professionals, some amateurs, all different kinds of genres of music, which Kelly had pointed out earlier to our group as we were prepping for this. And I'll stop talking, but I'm just thrilled that we are all together synthesizing this incredible moment because American Song Contest is filled with so much potential and so much cultural relevance, and I think we can get everybody involved and engaged.
American Song ContestQUESTION: Kelly, I have a question for you and a follow‑up for Audrey or Ben. You know, Ben mentioned how diverse the country is. So, if you think of this in terms of food, from New England, we have clam chowder to California cuisine. What are the ingredients that you feel go into making an American song?
KELLY CLARKSON: Salt and sugar. That's not what your doctor wants you to say. No. I don't know. I think that's the beautiful thing about it, that we were all talking about and Ben slightly touched on, is, you know, when we were all - before we got in this room - I don't know what you call them, whatever, different rooms - but we were all talking about how it's so cool because I literally was sent - because I was interested. I want to know, like, all of the artists, like, who all is going to be competing. And that's when I actually found out - I didn't know there were such legacy artists on. And I knew there were up‑and‑coming and rising stars, but I didn't know how broad it was, which was really cool. I thought it was different than any other thing I've heard of or worked on. And, then, also, I love that everybody represents such a different - like, it's such a - and I've toured so much in the States, like, for 20 years now. So, like, there's so many different pockets of the world. And even in Texas, like where I'm from, there's so many different pockets even in Texas. So let's say the show goes on and on and on like Eurovision has. You could find completely different artists. You've got everybody from Destiny's Child, Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson. You've got so many people, me, pop music. Just as much as there's a wide variety of, like - which, by the way, I love you, and we are kindred spirits with your food question, but there's many diverse options with food‑cuisine culture, all of that kind of thing; but, like, it's even cooler musically because I think we think of Kentucky as maybe just country. It's not. There're so many different pockets of music there, going on, just like Texas, just like New York. Everybody thinks Nashville, Tennessee - I lived there for 15 years. It's more than country music. There's rock. There's soul. You've got Memphis in Tennessee. There're so many different pockets to all of these different states. And I think the exciting thing is and I think what I thought was really cool, looking at the list of artists, was what you think may be represented in a certain country is actually a completely different genre of music that you maybe didn't expect.

But I think that that's what's cool about this show is it's going to open up all of this conversation and all of this diversity that I feel like we've been divided for in this country for quite a bit because people have their preconceived notions of who is from where. And that's just not true anymore, especially in such a digital age and the Internet age. We are all very similar more than not. But, also, we do represent different cultures, which is going to be cool. So I don't know. I think it's going to be an exciting surprise. I think these artists are going to surprise us. Definitely, the Spotify playlist surprised me. That was a long‑winded answer. I'm sorry. It was long.
KELLY CLARKSON: Sorry. And tacos. Tacos should be represented. I think every state loves tacos, if we are coming back to food.
QUESTION: Kelly, first, what did you say when you heard Snoop was going to be your partner on this? Did you go "Oh, my God," or was it "I've always wanted to work with him"? Then, the second question has to do with regionalism. There are smaller populated states that maybe couldn't beat out a Texas, for example, if they had somebody that they got behind. So how do you deal with that kind of a situation?
KELLY CLARKSON: I want to address the second part first. I don't even know if you are asking me or anybody else, but I'm going to jump in because that's who I am. But the latter, the second question, I don't think it's going to matter. Yes, there is a lot of state pride that will happen, but what I've seen in the past is, like, just in general -
BEN SILVERMAN: Kelly, I'm going to give it to them because we actually have an entire mechanism that protects population versus population just like the Eurovision, which has countries like Moldova.
KELLY CLARKSON: What do you mean "technically"? Oh.
BEN SILVERMAN: Yeah. Ukraine winning, I think it would be really interesting, our partners from Europe, if you would explain how that works.
ANDERS LENHOFF: Everybody competes on equal terms. So, it means that every single state has its own equal voting power. That goes with the territories too. So, whoever wins the popular vote in California gets 12 points, but whoever wins the popular vote in Guam also gets 12 points. So, to win this competition, you need to find support in as many states and territories as possible. You need to find a broad base.
BEN SILVERMAN: And that is why Israel and the Ukraine have won the Eurovision.
KELLY CLARKSON: And that's also what I wanted to say. I loved it. I knew that was built in. Sorry. I didn't know the technical answer to that. But what I'm going to say about the musical part of it is people are going to - it's about the song that touches you. People are going to end up going for, like, "Man, I love my Texas person, but that girl from North Dakota, like, whoa. Like, that was an amazing song. I've got to give my support to her." I think that that ends up happening, like, in the end, I feel.
BEN SILVERMAN: Yeah. It's also America's song. So, you are rooting to find America's song, not -
KELLY CLARKSON: Yeah. You are going to go for, like, the one - that's just like saying on radio "Why are California and New York artists more popular?" There are so many people from different states that become popular. It's because of their music, not because of the population of the state, you know.
CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN: Yeah. And, I think, when you sit down to watch the show in the beginning, of course, you root for your home state, but then you are going to fall in love with any song that you like.
KELLY CLARKSON: And then they start falling out, right? Then it's the semifinals, and then other people vote for the other.

KELLY CLARKSON: … I love Snoop. I loved working with him on The Voice. We worked really well together, and the thing I loved most about him is that he really took his time listening and kind of taking it in, like, each performance because, honestly, you only see the edited version on TV, but we are actually there. Audrey, I don't know if you remember, but our day, there was a huge technical difficulty on stage that had never happened in the history of working on The Voice, and, of course, it happened to Snoop. He was there. So we were there for hours, and he still took the time to really invest. He really cared, and he gave really solid feedback. He was into it, and you can really tell, and America can tell. It's very transparent with people when they are, for lack of a better word, bullshitting you or really being honestly into it. That's transparent, and that's who he is. And that's what I love about it. While we are from, like, different areas, we both really love people succeeding. We both really love watching people nail it. We both really love supporting other artists, and he's just fun to work with. So, I know we might seem like the odd couple, but we get along well. And, honestly, I remember talking to Audrey. I was, like, "Man, okay. So, a cohost. Is it going to be Snoop? because I really want to do it with Snoop," because we were hearing talks of, like, you know, with if it was going to be me and Snoop doing it. And I was, like, "That would be really cool." I just think it's a really odd pairing that would work. So, I was really, kind of, going for this too in my own world if this was going to happen.

So, I'm really excited about it, and I think that it's also a pretty good representation of us standing there because he covers different music. He's done pop. He's done rap. He's done all of these other things, and I've done country and pop and all of these other things. So it is, kind of, a cool thing to have - our faces are, kind of, like - we like a lot of different styles of music, and there is literally so many different styles of music. I was making a joke earlier that I think the only thing we don't have is, like, a polka artist. People are seeing different languages, different styles, different everything. It's really cool.
QUESTION: How did you choose each representative from each state, and specifically how did Allen Stone from Washington end up on the show?
AUDREY MORRISSEY: I think I should take this question. We basically put out all of our feelers and, you know, through a very exhaustive submission process, but a lot of us had worked on The Voice and Songland for 11 years. So, we had a really vast network of A&R scouts, managers, booking agents. You name it, we knew them. But what we really did was took a lot of time to personally explain to people a big outreach as to how this show is different. This show is not for the 15‑year‑old whose family doesn't know they sing, and they are going to come out on The Voice or American Idol or AGT and blow people away. This is a professional platform. This is for the artists, the person who is committed to "This is what I'm doing in my life, and I've been grinding it and working it on the road for years. I'm kind of a known entity. A&R scouts know about me. Maybe I am about to be signed, or I already have been signed, or I've turned down deals because I want to go it alone." So, a lot of it was, sort of, really educating the American music industry how this show is different. So, we really had the right people on this. And to that point, in Europe, for "Eurovision," all the countries have their own national selection shows where the public votes, but here we had no mechanism for that. And, hopefully, down the road, we will; but in the meantime, we had to, sort of, kick‑start this. So, we used our network, we explained everything, and then we had an independent academy filled with all of these different types of professionals in the music business to weigh in and help evaluate along with us who would be the best candidate in each particular case, whether it be a territory or a state. And that's how we arrived at them, and it's been quite a process, let me tell you.
KELLY CLARKSON: It is pretty cool that Allen Stone - I'm just going to bring it up again.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: Oh, right, and Allen Stone. Thank you for that. Part of the legacy of Eurovision is that there are - pretty much everybody that does Eurovision is signed, and many of the artists that go out for Eurovision are huge stars in their own right in their home countries. So we really wanted to deliver on that aspect too with this show. And just through outreach and different discussions, people were interested, Allen being one of them, superexcited to represent his state of Washington. In talking with him and his team, it's a big deal that he's never left the state. I mean, there has been plenty of opportunity and plenty of encouragement for him to leave and come to other places to be closer to maybe the epicenter of the music business so to speak, but he's never left, doesn't want to, has no plans on it, and was really, really excited and honored to represent his state.
KELLY CLARKSON: Supergifted.
QUESTION: This is for Christer and Anders and then for Kelly. Christer and Anders, how did you introduce all of the concepts of Eurovision and Melody Festival to your American partners? I know, for Ben, this has been a long‑term passion project. I asked you 15 years ago, Ben, "Is this still happening?" And you said, "Yes." And now it is.
BEN SILVERMAN: Enough noes, and you finally just believe it.

QUESTION: I believed in you the whole time. And, Kelly, did Christer and Anders - how did they introduce Eurovision and Melody Festival to you? Did you screen past contests? And did you relate your own experience of competing in a television to what you saw in Eurovision and Melody Festival? So, Christer and Anders, if you want to start.
CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN: So, well, you know that I've been breathing and living the Eurovision since I was a kid and then as an artist and then as a producer. But when we started looking for collaborations over in the States, there was someone who called us and literally told us "You don't dare do this without me." That's sort of how he was introduced. That was Ben. So we were hit by his enthusiasm, and it's obvious that you heard it already. And you heard the passion with which he talks about this. So, for us, it was a very easy choice to go and make a deal with Ben.

ANDERS LENHOFF: Yeah. And then to, sort of, fill in on that, the big thing I think for us was trying to find what is the soul of Eurovision? What is that that we bring into a new country? What are the elements that cannot be changed? What should be adapted to a new market and a new time? We are not doing something for the 66th time. This is something that has to work today.
CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN: Yeah. And it has been so fantastic to work with Audrey and her team on the adjustments of making this, like, a really fresh, new show, but having the elements of the tradition from the Eurovision, like the 12 points, which is, by the way, very interesting because we who know - we lived the 12 points every year. And, then, of course, Audrey would say, "Why 12?" I'm, like, "Because. Just because. Don't go there. It just has to be there. Twelve points is 12 points." "Well, it would make more sense with 10." "Yeah. Well, never mind that."
AUDREY MORRISSEY: Guess what? It's 12 points.
KELLY CLARKSON: Both of my children were born on the 12th. So, I'm in. It's a good number.
CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN: Yeah, it is a good number.
KELLY CLARKSON: Well, I'll come in on what you asked me, Fred. I actually found out about Eurovision - I was 19, 20 - whenever I first traveled over - well, it was 1990. I was 20 when I went overseas for the first time. And if anybody remembers, it was a U.K. manager, Simon Fuller, that was the head of all of the American Idol artists that came out. So, I went overseas, and that was, like, my first experience. I went everywhere, right? And I kept hearing - because people kept bringing it up because "American Idol" at the time, it was the first time I'd ever done it, and nobody knew what happened. And I kept being compared to this contest I'd never heard of. And I was, like - literally, everybody talked about Eurovision anywhere I went, like, in Europe. And I was, like, "What is this contest?" So, I finally ended up finding out about it, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I had no idea some of the artists that I had heard of were from it. I thought it was, honestly for me, being afraid, like, in the very beginning because a lot of people thought it was a joke, you know. Like, I was the first season. Nobody knew anything would come of it, and it was a thing I had to defend basically everywhere I went. So, it was awesome to find out. They were very accepting, with open arms, about the whole idea of just, like, "Hey, yeah, you compete your way up here, and then you earn your way to, like, possibly having a career."

So, it was a really cool thing to me. I loved how all of the countries were represented because I'm very much an inclusive person and love any kind of team sport. So, I thought it was a really cool concept. Then I thought it was even more amazing. I did not know this about it after all of that, after all of those years about knowing about Eurovision. I didn't know how it began, and I thought - and I had this conversation with Audrey, actually, before a Voice live taping one night. And I was, like, you know, "This could not be" - and I wasn't even involved with the show. I was just excited for her to be doing it. I was, like, "This is such a cool concept for this country." Like, we are so unfortunately divided, and having the talk show and realizing that with all of these different human‑interest stories of all of these different people coming on and COVID, having so many things just going on. It's just been a very hard couple of years especially, and now it's getting even more serious in the news. So it's one of those things where, I think, feeling like you are not isolated and feeling like you are a part of something that's bigger than your every day world is so important. And it sounds cheesy, but it's so important right now for everyone. And I get that direct feedback just from everyday working with people from all over the country, like, on my show. So it's so important. The things people say the most is, like, "Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much. We love the songs. We love the" - "It brings" - "It makes us happy, just something happening that's happy." That's what this show is going to do for people, and everyone is feeling like they are not left out. Everyone is being represented. I know, politically, faith‑wise, people can feel excluded or isolated. This is for everyone. So, I think that that is so important and that everyone is represented. We are a giant melting pot of, like, immigrants that came from somewhere else. So it's just a really great concept in general but also, I think, a very needed one right now. And I think what better way, too - like, it was awesome that they asked me and Snoop because while we love people so much and while we are very musical, we are also very, like, fun‑loving and easygoing with everyone. It's not like this strict, like, "Oh, this next performance." We are going to be so passionate about it and involved in it and, like, hard core into these artists. And I think that's why they probably got us too. And I think people just need that. They need to be lifted up because the world is heavy right now. And so how the competition started 65, maybe, years ago, that's what is needed now in this Year 1 for America as far as I'm concerned.
American Song ContestQUESTION: Will we see the really over‑the‑top costumes and production stage values that we see in Eurovision in American Song Contest?
KELLY CLARKSON: We'd better. I'm very excited about that part.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: Yes. I can answer that. Yes, we will. We've been working for months to really deliver on the level of production value that Eurovision has and bring that here.
BEN SILVERMAN: It's unbelievable, our sets, the spectacle, the costume design, the lighting design, all of the production value. And I think one of the great parts of having Christer and Anders and their teams here is we are really informed by that Eurovision finale. And all of its ambition, all of its theatrics, all of its spectacle are going to be on our show live, live in an incredible way and very nerve‑racking with Kelly and Snoop driving the train as we have to put so many big performances, so many big spectacles -

BEN SILVERMAN: - in a row because we are giving everyone this opportunity and this platform to get their music out there. And I do think all of that kind of regional passion and regional energy is going to play out. But, also, that's a lot of pressure. It's one thing to represent yourself in a competition. It's another thing to represent your state. And whether you are hearing it from Allen Stone or Michael Bolton or Macy Gray, they are carrying this with so much weight and equity as is every single participant in this show. And I think that's a huge difference because you do go into it with a lot more behind you. You do in the same way that March Madness or the Olympics - and we always talk about sports in connection with this show - carry such passion for the participants because of what they are representing. That is the exact same thing here both in our version and obviously in the Euro version. And I think, in those moments, it's going to be really special to watch them and with what we are giving them to support them as they pursue a vision not only musically but visually.
KELLY CLARKSON: Yeah, Ben. You've been waiting. This is the moment.
KELLY CLARKSON: Woo. I feel like you've earned it, my brother. I did not know it was that many years.
BEN SILVERMAN: Surprise. They all take - anything good.
QUESTION: I know Audrey mentioned before that, with Eurovision, a lot of the contestants are huge stars in their native countries, but with American Song Contest, the contestants are a mixture of up‑and‑coming artists and more established ones. So, I wanted to ask, do you think high‑profile contestants such as Jewel or Michael Bolton could have an unfair advantage with viewers because of their celebrity status?
AUDREY MORRISSEY: You know, we've done a lot of thinking about that, and at the end of the day, where we've landed and I firmly believe is the truth, what is playing out over this show is the actual music business. All of these up‑and‑coming stars are competing with the Jewels and the Michael Boltons and the Macy Grays and The Weekends and the Kelly Clarksons and the Blake Sheltons and everybody. It's just, it is what it is. You can't undo people's experience and their profile when you are trying to come up. So, what we are doing is giving everybody an even playing field on a platform and to make of it what they can, and everybody is being given the same support. And, yes, Michael Bolton and Jewel have more of a profile, I'm sure, with some groups of the American public but not all. And I would also add, like, Americans love to discover new people, new musicians, new songs, new everything, and they also love an underdog.
KELLY CLARKSON: They love an underdog. I was about to say that. I almost feel like legacy artists are going to have to work harder.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: I agree. I think it's incredible. Everybody is doing this for their own reasons, and most importantly, they just love the concept, and they want to participate, and they want to rep their state. That's why they are doing it. They are also having a great platform to get new music out there, which they all want to do. So it's a wonderful opportunity for everybody, and so I think, on that level, it's all even.
KELLY CLARKSON: And imagine, as an artist, releasing a first single...what better platform? You are always looking for a promo trip - right? - whenever you let a song go out into the world, and you are always everywhere, promoting it. And then, too, yes, it's that. It's promoting these artists from all of these different territories that you might not have heard of. So, yes, it's about winning. And I know it's a person that won a competition saying this, but I have been in them and not won them. So, my point is that it's not always about just that. It's about networking with all of these other artists and these producers you might run into, or songwriters, and it's also about just getting your music out there. It's very smart.
CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN: And I would just like to add that I've produced the Swedish selection show for 20 years, and I've seen it all. I've seen stars win. I've seen stars fall. I've seen new stars being born, lots of them. And the thing is this show is all about the song. It's all about the song. It doesn't matter how famous you are or how not known you are. If you come across with your song, you win, and you just have to be trustworthy. You just have to be passionate about what you do. You have to deliver your goods. You have 2 minutes and 45. That's all you have. You have to be there in that moment, and that's all you need. Famous or not famous, it doesn't matter.
KELLY CLARKSON: And possibly black nail polish like me and Christer.
KELLY CLARKSON: We called each other. We were, like, "You wear yours."

QUESTION: Kelly, with, of course, your background, what would be your advice to these more maybe unknown singers performing on a live show? And will we be possibly seeing you sing on an episode?
KELLY CLARKSON: Oh, well, I don't think this is about me this time around. I perform five days a week on television if you want to see a song. I'm second‑guessing that idea, by the way, from my talk show. I perform quite a bit but, this, probably not because this isn't about me. This is about all of these other artists. And even when I'm on The Voice or whatever, I always try to make it about the artist that I'm with because I'm lucky. I'm so blessed. I've had my moment, right? I don't need that. I don't even want that. I like lifting up other artists. But what was the second part that I was going to touch on? You said not performing, but what did you say first? I went to the dentist, and now I have pain medicine.

AUDREY MORRISSEY: I totally forget it too.
KELLY CLARKSON: Oh, no, don't forget it. Wait. It was so good, and I had a good answer. Oh, I know what I'm going to tell them. Okay. So, this is what I tell everyone, literally, whether you are an up‑and‑coming artist and you are meeting me at a meet‑and‑greet on tour or whatever, coming to my show, whatever you are doing, literally do not chase what you think a hit is. Like, that is the death of an artist, when you feel like "Oh, I'm just going to chase the sound that I think everybody is going to like." You have to be true to yourself. And that sounds so cheesy, but it's very hard because a lot of artists are people pleasers, right? And you want to be successful. You want to get paid for what you do, but it's really important. And I've seen it, like, with other artists. It's, like, they chase it, and they don't win. You don't win like that. The only way you win in life - and it sounds like a Hallmark card, but - is really just being you. They made it to this point being themselves. So, they've got to continue to, like, write whatever songs are for them. The same songs that are coming from an unknown artist or an Allen Stone or a Macy Gray, Sisqo, whoever they are, Jewel, they are all going to be different, but why - even the legacy artists, look, Sisqo, Macy Gray, Michael Bolton, Jewel, Allen - I can't remember them all, but there are some legacy artists, right? All of those artists are so different and successful, by the way. They've been very successful, and they've all been successful being themselves. Macy Gray doesn't sound anything like Jewel, which doesn't sound anything like Michael Bolton. And that's how you win because there's room for everyone at the table, but there's not room for imitation. And that's the problem, I think, with a lot of young artists, even myself. When you first start out and you don't know, really, what your sound is, imitation is the death of you, I feel like. So, I think really just letting the artist know to truly just be who they want to be because that's who they are going to be on the road. That's who they innately are when they are going to be in the studio. So that's what I usually tell artists, especially even working from The Voice. It's unfortunate. You see these artists - and I'm sure y'all have too - and you see them chasing it so hard. And it's, like, "You are chasing something that's not you." And it's never going to end up working. So, I feel like just really leaning into what makes you special as an artist and what made you fall in love with it. "Why are you here?" And I think that's how you win.
QUESTION: For Kelly and Audrey, certainly, you two have a very established working relationship, and I'm curious what having that history together is bringing to the show given that first‑season shows can always just be an adventure to figure out what a show is and what you are able to bring to this because you know each other so well.
KELLY CLARKSON: Amazing shorthand at this point.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: Yeah. I mean, honestly, trust. It is so important that there's trust in a show with all people, all stakeholders, whether it's Christer and Anders and Ben trying to find someone that they can trust that's going to help bring their vision of this show and treat it as if it were their own, whether it's someone like Kelly trusting - this is a new‑season show - who are the people behind it and how will she be put out there. And for me in the production, it's, like, trusting that I have a great partner out there helming this show - it's eight weeks of two hours live. Not everybody walking down the street can do that - and somebody who will really get the spirit of the show, you know, supporting you. You've just heard today, Kelly is, like, Miss Enthused.
KELLY CLARKSON: I'm excited.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: But, like, to have her just legitimately know the format, a fan of it, I will tell you - she touched on it before, but - here we were shooting The Voice,"and I let all The Voice coaches know that the show is happening, and I would be doing it, blah, blah, blah. And Kelly was, like, "Oh, my God. Wait. Eurovision in America? That's the best idea I've ever heard of."
KELLY CLARKSON: I think I even sent you, like, ideas.
KELLY CLARKSON: "You can get this person to host."

AUDREY MORRISSEY: Yeah. She's sending ideas in. I mean, honest to God, I couldn't come to a taping without her mentioning it. "I just have to tell you, I was thinking about it again. This is going to be great."
KELLY CLARKSON: It's going to be really good for everyone.
KELLY CLARKSON: Honestly, let me touch on the trust thing. It's so key for artists, too, to, like, feel - and that's why Snoop signed on, and that's why I signed on as well. Yes, I'm excited about the idea; but, also, what I'm excited about is I trust this woman. I trust that she's going to take care of me. I trust that I can have a good time. And that's why everybody is always, like, "Oh, man," or, like, especially with me and Blake on The Voice, it's very easy for us to let our guard down and have a good time because we are in a safe environment. Everyone is family there, and that's what we are carrying over. I've already shot some stuff for ASC, and I know the crew. Do you know what I'm saying? So, it's a very important thing to have those established relationships because you are going to get better artists. You are going to get a better version of us in a more open and a more honest and, like, fun and loving - because we feel safe in that environment that everyone is family and no one is going to try and do anything or whatever because, on some productions, it's not that case.

So, I think that is key, to have a staff that we really do support each other and we do, like, wish everyone the best. We want to succeed together and rise together. No one is, like, doing anything to negate any of that. So that trust, like she said, is probably the key thing, and we have fun. We love what we do. I think it's the most important thing to never be jaded, and once you are, you should probably quit. Like, you should love what you do. We unfortunately have all had people pass away, and it's, like, life gets real. And you are, like, "I should enjoy what I'm doing, or I should go retire." So, I genuinely get excited.

She's right. I was asking about the show. I was, like, "Man, you should get this person or ask this person. What kind of artists are you going to get?" I was very excited because I think it's a really cool thing because, also, it's very interesting that this is actually the oldest show, but it's a fresh idea in the sense that we've never heard of it being about the song. It's always about a vocalist and, like she said, some 15‑year‑old, like, "Oh, I can sing," and whatever. This is, like, a different artist's perspective, and we've never really had this. And that is exciting that it's, like, about the song because I don't know if you all listen to radio, but, like, sometimes it doesn't seem about the song, and it just seems about what's going to make you happy for two seconds, and then you move on to the next. I'm excited to hear things that, literally, I want to be listening to for years, and that's what great songs do.
AUDREY MORRISSEY: Agreed. I can't wait to do it. It's less than a week. Let's go.
KELLY CLARKSON: Yeah. It's live. You are not going to have to wait long.

Latest Articles