Christina Aguilera has barely been off "The Voice" long enough for her temporary replacement, Shakira, to keep her spinning red chair warm. But reports say she's already coming back to the show in Season 5, and she may be getting a substantial raise.
The Wrap first reported that the on-hiatus original coach has officially signed to return next season, with a salary of $17 million--which is only $1 million less than Mariah Carey pocketed this year on "American Idol," and $2 million more than Xtina's old "Mickey Mouse Club" co-star, Britney Spears, was paid for a one-and-done season of "The X Factor" last year. Deadline and EW now also report that Christina is for sure coming back to the show this fall.
However, a source for "The Voice" tells Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks that the show is still "in discussions with Christina" and that "the figure of $17 million is about $5 million high"--meaning her salary will be more like $12 million.
Christina reportedly earned $10 million for Season 3 of "The Voice," before she and her fellow original coach, Cee Lo Green, went on leave to pursue their own musical projects. They were replaced by interim coaches Shakira and Usher for Season 4.
The news of Christina possibly receiving a pay raise is interesting, after top-earning A-list judges like Mariah, Britney, and "Idol's" Nicki Minaj failed to bring in big ratings to their respective rival shows. Many industry trades like The Hollywood Reporter have reported that "Idol" and "X Factor" producers are considering going back to hiring lesser-known (and presumably lower-paid) industry-insider judges, rather than marquee celebrity names that come with eight-figure salaries. However, with "The Voice" currently being the number-one talent show on television, NBC execs may believe it makes sense to pay the show's star coach a salary befitting a diva.
But is Christina Aguilera worth $12 million? Or $17 million? That's the, um, $17 million question. While "The Voice's" ratings have take a slight dip this season, Shakira's stint on the show has been extremely well-received by diehard viewers; many fans posting in the comments section of this very Reality Rocks blog have raved about the lovably down-to-earth Latin legend, even declaring her an improvement over the more flamboyant and flashy Xtina. But according to Deadline, Shakira will not be on the show this fall. [UPDATE: Shakira confirmed Tuesday night that she will not be back for Season 5.]
Do "Voice" fans want Christina to come back--or would they rather have had Shakira stick around instead? And would there ever be room for both of them? We shall see.
There's no official word yet on which of the other coaches, past or present, will be on the Season 5 "Voice" panel--or what sort of salaries they'll pocket. NBC's fifth season of "The Voice" premieres on September 23.
- Christina Aguilera's fashion faceoff
- Randy Jackson leaving "American Idol"
- Photos from "The Voice" Season 4