zap photo levine red carpet 420 'The Voice': Adam Levine calls 'American Idol' camp's insults 'a little cheap'“That’s a little cheap.”

So says Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine about charges made over the weekend by FOX’s “American Idol” team, particularly Randy Jackson, at TV critics’ winter TCA gathering that NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” — on which Levine is a judge — uses “second-chance people” as contestants and has a set that, with its rotating high-backed chairs, is a “rip off” of “Star Trek.”

“People try out for whatever shows they want to try out for,” Levine reasons to Zap2it about his series, which NBC is giving a second-season launch immediately after Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, Feb. 5. “It’s not like Publishers Clearing House shows up at your house and says, ‘Congratulations! You’ve won the chance to be on this show.’ That’s bull****, and everyone knows that.

“Any sort of personal attack, to me, is just a form of vulnerability and insecurity,” adds Levine. “To poke fun is one thing, and we’ve fired back and forth at each other, but there’s never been any malicious intent.

“Naturally, a competition does exist, because the shows are similar … but it’s ‘American Idol.’ It’s not going anywhere. It’s the biggest show on Planet Earth. We’re just interested in doing our thing.”

That “thing” now involves Levine striving for a better balance between his “Voice” duties and his own recording and touring obligations. “It was a nightmare for me last year,” he admits. “It’s very, very difficult to be on the road and commit fully to doing that as well as you can, and also to doing this.

“We’ve hopefully rigged it this year so that I can focus on both individually. I’ll devote all my time to ‘The Voice,’ then once that’s finished, we’ll go abroad.”

Consider Levine ready, then, to meet FOX reality-show chief Mike Darnell’s declaration that “American Idol” is the “gold standard” of such competitions. “If they’re the gold standard,” Levine says, “then we can be the platinum standard. I’ll play nice.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin