The Voice — where singers are blindly judged by a quartet of famous musicians in the hopes of getting a sweet, sweet cash prize and record deal — has been a mainstay in American reality television programming since its debut in 2011. There have been a few rotations of judges throughout the years, with Christina Aguilera being one of them from 2011–2016. (Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, meanwhile, will likely stay for all of eternity.) However, looking back at her time at NBC, Aguilera has a pretty sour taste in her mouth — and says she’ll never return to that “churning hamster wheel” of a show if asked. “It became something that I didn’t feel was what I had signed up for in season one,” she explained to Billboard. “You realize it’s not about music. It’s about making good TV moments and massaging a story.”
By the time she left, Aguilera says, her energy and spirit were totally depleted due to NBC’s strict brand control — which in turn dictated how she presented herself on The Voice. “I didn’t get into this business to be a television show host and to be given all these [rules],” she continued. “Especially as a female: You can’t wear this, can’t say that. I would find myself on that show desperately trying to express myself through clothing or makeup or hair. It was my only kind of outlet.” With new music coming out soon, she’ll be back to being in control.