Blake Shelton will end his 12-year run on NBC’s The Voice when the reality TV competition series returns in the spring for its 23rd Season. And, although it will, undoubtedly, mark the end of an era for fans when he turns his chair around one last time, surprisingly, Shelton wasn’t the first Oklahoma-born country artist considered for the job.
Before The Voice debuted back in 2011, producers had asked Reba McEntire if she would be interested in the coaching role. She ended up turning down the opportunity, which then made its way into the “No Body” crooner’s hands.
In a recent interview with ET’s Online Country, McEntire revealed her reasons for declining the offer, saying, “I got [a look at] the Holland version of The Voice. They sent it to me, and I said, ‘I can’t see me doing that.’”
As it turns out, Shelton also had doubts when he was first approached to serve as a judge on The Voice. Speaking with Access Hollywood, he said it wasn’t until he noticed that Christina Aguilera had agreed to take on the opportunity that he changed his mind and said, “Yes.”
“The first time I was pitched The Voice, I thought it was the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard in my life,” Shelton said. “I mean, that’s the truth. I just thought, ‘Well what the hell is this? Like a combination of Wheel of Fortune and music and, like, these spinning chairs, what is that?’”
“I remember asking my manager at the time, I was like, ‘Well, who else is doing this?’ and the first name that he said was Christina Aguilera, and I remember going, ‘OK, I’m in!’” he added. “I mean I’ve heard of her. Who am I to say no? I was nobody you know? And to know that she had already signed on, I was like, ‘I want to work at that level, so I’m in.’ And thank God, you know, I didn’t let my stupidity get in the way of what ended up being the best decision maybe I’ve ever made in my life.”
Even though McEntire chose not to take up a seat on the show that went on to become a popular, long-running success, she knows full well that Shelton was a perfect fit for the role. The 67-year-old icon spoke highly of Shelton’s time on the program and admitted that anyone who takes his place will have big shoes to fill.
“Who could fill Blake’s shoes?” she pondered, alluding to the idea that she couldn’t imagine anyone who could take his place. “To fill Blake’s chair? Wow. That’s gonna be tough. He did a great job, and kudos to him.”
Since McEntire was originally pitched the role on The Voice years ago, some fans have wondered whether or not she would reconsider a spot on the Hollywood set. After all, she is certainly no stranger to show business, having starred in and executive-produced a movie on Lifetime called, The Hammer. She also plays the role of Sunny Barnes on the ABC drama series Big Sky. Not to mention, she previously served as a mentor to Team Blake during The Voice 2011 premiere and in 2015.
However, don’t expect the three-time GRAMMY winner to say, “Yes” if she ever got the chance to fill one of the iconic red spinning chairs. When asked if she would ever consider taking the seat, McEntire insinuates she doesn’t want to commit to staying in one place for a long period of time.
“I’m a gypsy at heart,” she reasoned while speaking to ET’s Cassie DiLaura at her new three-floor restaurant, Reba’s Place, in Atoka, Okla., of her decision to refuse the offer.
While the jury is still out on who would make a good fit for Shelton’s position, fans can look forward to his return for one more season. The Voice Season 23 premieres on Monday (March 6) on NBC and will feature judges – Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan, and Chance The Rapper.