Blake Shelton built a reputation for himself over the course of his years on The Voice as quite the troublemaker. He and Adam Levine had a rivalry that outlived the Maroon 5 singer’s time on the show and the country singer was well-known for throwing shade at Kelly Clarkson and trolling all of the other coaches. Things are going to look a bit different for Season 24 — the first time since The Voice’s 2011 premiere that Shelton will not appear as a coach. However, according to the preview seen above, that doesn’t mean the shots won’t still be fired.
The cowboy’s exit seemed to be the main topic of conversation between John Legend, Niall Horan and Gwen Stefani in the preview — proving that Blake Shelton’s presence on the show will continue to be felt, despite his absence from the Big Red Chairs. After the EGOT winner congratulated Horan on his Season 23 victory, the One Directioner insinuated that Shelton had passed the torch to him, declaring:
It’s good to be king.
Gwen Stefani, however, didn’t seem willing to just hand over her husband’s legacy, as she warned the defending champ:
Don’t get used to it, buddy. It’s a whole new ballgame.
It most certainly is a new ballgame, because while The Voice may have lost its 23-season, nine-time winning coach Blake Shelton, they found a heavy-hitter to take his place in country music legend Reba McEntire. John Legend hilariously played ignorant to this fact, as he wondered if Shelton’s absence meant the rest of the panel might have a shot at some talented country singers this season. This was, of course, McEntire’s cue to make her entrance.
The rip-away pants were the perfect touch — Niall Horan seemed to agree — as the country icon appeared on a stage with sparks flying around huge letters that read “Team Reba.” I personally hope every Reba McEntire entrance this season includes such fanfare, because no amount of rhinestones, pyrotechnics and flashing lights are too much when the “Fancy” singer is in the building.
Making Reba McEntire’s participation on the show a big deal is also a great way to signal the dawn of a new era for The Voice. The singing competition has long been associated with Blake Shelton, so big moves need to be made to prove the show’s strength without him.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be shade, though, and in the same vein as Blake Shelton continuing to lob insults at Adam Levine after he left the show in 2019, Gwen Stefani got a good jab in, when John Legend suggested that she likely missed her husband’s presence on the show more than anyone, and the No Doubt singer responded with a non-committal “Meh.” I mean, Shelton had it coming after he trolled Stefani in their last appearance on the show together.
That era of The Voice is over, and as Gwen Stefani said, it’s a whole new ballgame. So bring on the sparkly pants and get ready to watch Reba McEntire take her pick of the best country music singers to cross the stage. We’ll just be over here like Carson Daly — eating cake and taking in all the fireworks.
The Voice Season 24 Blind Auditions kick off at 8 p.m. ET Monday, September 25, on NBC. Check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon.