Adam Levine Will Be Loved

8.14.2011

By Shana Naomi Krochmal

The breakout star of NBC’s 'The Voice' wasn't a contestant -- it was its judge and Maroon 5's front man. Here, the singer opens up about his natural exhibitionism, why his show trumps 'Idol', and how parents should react when a kid is queer.

Photography by Yu Tsai | Styling by Grant Woolhead

In concert, Adam Levine slinks across the stage with a seductive, easy confidence. He is, in a word, cocksure. There’s a calculated tease, a sly wink across a room big enough to hold a small town. When the front man for Maroon 5 sings that he’s “got the moves like Jagger,” it’s a ballsy boast, but not entirely out of line.

 

On The Voice, where he is one of four celebrity judges, Levine is confined to a high-backed throne that he spins around to indicate his belief that an unseen voice -- the voice, perhaps -- might be the one to win $100,000 and a recording contract. The Voice is more complicated than American Idol -- but also more fun, more diverse, and, because its celebrity coaches are on the hook to produce real talent, ultimately more satisfying to watch.

Stuck in that glorified swivel chair, watching the singers on his team compete, Levine wraps his tattooed arms -- a crouching tiger; a classic shout-out to mom; the number 222, a reference to his band’s first recording studio -- around the seat’s built-in table, pounding his fists with excitement that one of his prodigies has just nailed it. During the finale, he can barely contain himself while praising Javier Colon, the vocalist from Team Adam who ultimately wins. “Everyone knows you’re an amazing singer, but what they may not know is that you’re such an amazing guy,” he says. “I’ve grown so close to you as a friend, and I’ve got so much love for you. And it’s really hard for me to root for someone that I don’t genuinely--” He chokes up. Clearing his throat, he tries again: “That I don’t genuinely love very much.”

Colon may have won the grand prize, but it’s Levine who became The Voice’s big breakout star. The show set records for its social media tie-ins, and many of the viewers who flooded Twitter with their commentary seemed to have little knowledge of Levine’s previous life, beyond a vague recollection of Maroon 5’s radio mainstays like “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” and “Makes Me Wonder.”

To view our Adam Levine slide show, click here.

Tags: Music
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