Blake Shelton may be gearing up to retire from NBC’s The Voice, but that doesn’t mean he is ready to give up his position on the show just yet.
During the live Season 23 semi-finals, which aired on Monday (May 15) night, the country crooner disappeared briefly backstage only to find Reba McEntire keeping his seat warm for him when he returned.
Reba McEntire, who served as a Mega Mentor during the Knockout Rounds, will fill Blake Shelton’s role come next season. And judging by the latest video, she is eager to get the ball rolling.
In the most recent edition of The Voice, long-time host Carson Daly noticed McEntire sitting in Shelton’s plush red chair.
“What is going on here? Reba!… Where did Blake go?” Daly questioned before adding, “Who cares! How are you, Reba? We’re so happy to have you. You are already a part of The Voice family, but this makes it official. What are you most looking forward to?”
“I’m looking forward to being here with y’all. You treated me so nicely,” she replied. “I appreciate the hospitality so much that you showed me earlier, and to be able to come in and form my team, I’m so looking forward to it.”
At that instant, Shelton came around behind McEntire and nudged her.
“Do you mind? I still have a week left. I’d like to — can you believe it? This is unbelievable, it is Reba, but you are in my seat. For gosh sake, let me finish the show.”
“No. I like this chair,” McEntire jokes, refusing to give up the seat.
In the end, though, she gave in and also hugged Shelton.
Blake Shelton has been swiveling around in his iconic red chair since the show’s inception in 2011. In October 2022, he announced he was leaving The Voice after 12 years and nine wins (possibly 10 if he takes home the prize this season).
“I’ve been wrestling with this for a while, and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from The Voice after season 23,” he captioned in an Instagram post. “This show has changed my life in every way for the better, and it will always feel like home to me.”
He continued, “It’s been a hell of a ride over these 12 years of chair turns, and I want to thank everyone at The Voice from NBC, every producer, the writers, musicians, crew, and catering people. You are the best. It takes a lot of work, passion, and adult beverages (Ha!) to pull off a live show twice a week. “I’ve made lifelong bonds with Carson and every single one of my fellow coaches over the years, including my wife, Gwen Stefani! I have to give a huge shout out to the singers – the ‘Voices’ who come on this stage season after season and amaze us with their talent, and a special thanks to those who chose me to be their coach.”
Shelton then closed out his message with: “Lastly, it’s about y’all, the fans, who watch and support these artists, us coaches, and everyone at The Voice chasing their dreams. It wouldn’t happen without you!”
On Monday (May 15), NBC announced McEntire as the newest coach for Season 24 of The Voice.
McEntire also shared the exciting news on Instagram, writing, “There’s a new Coach in town! See you all this Fall! #TheVoice.”
Reba McEntire will be stepping into Shelton’s shoes as the second country artist to ever coach the show. She will join a cast of returning coaches, including John Legend, Niall Horan, and Shelton’s wife, pop superstar Gwen Stefani.
In an interview with EXTRA, Shelton spoke highly of McEntire’s addition to the show following his exit, saying, “Well, there’s a couple of things about Reba that makes her so special. First of all, she’s so authentic. I don’t know anybody more country on the planet than Reba, and that’s just the truth. But the other thing is her talent. She was born with this raw, natural talent that’s just unbelievable. People will finally, maybe, start to realize what an incredible vocalist she is. I mean, I shouldn’t say that. Millions of us already know that. But more people are going to realize what an incredible vocalist she is because she’s going to, as a coach on this show, perform at times. And it’s shocking. What an incredible singer she is.”
Surprisingly, McEntire didn’t tell Shelton she was joining the celebrity panel right away.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, the “Fancy” said, “Well, [Blake] kept asking me if I was going to do it. I couldn’t tell him that I was going to do it — because they say he can’t keep a secret.”
Of her decision to accept her upcoming role, she added, “The first time I ever heard of The Voice, I saw the tape from Holland’s [version of the show]. They asked me to do it, and I turned it down. But I think the timing is everything. It all worked out for it to work now. I think I’ll be a better mentor to help the kids out more. I call them kids because they’re all younger than me. But I will be really excited to get it started.”
Meanwhile, Shelton says, “I think people are finally going to go, ‘Oh, finally get that guy off my TV. I’ll start watching the show again.’ I just think it’s time for what’s next in my life. It’s one thing to say, I’ve been on the show, I guess 13 or 12 years. But 23 seasons, like, I mean, I don’t think The Simpsons have been on that long, have they? Has Sesame Street been on longer? I feel like Pat Sajak, me and Pat Sajak have been on TV as much as each other.”
The Voice season 23 finale airs Monday, May 22, and Tuesday, May 23 at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC. Season 24 of The Voice will premiere in the fall, airing Mondays (8/7c) and Tuesdays (9/8c).