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I Was Bummed To Hear John Legend's Comments About Blake Shelton Not Returning To The Voice, But Now I Actually Think It's a Good Thing

 John Legend and Blake Shelton on The Voice.
John Legend and Blake Shelton on The Voice.

Coaches have been known to come and go on The Voice, with its music superstars sometimes stepping away for one or more seasons before returning as their schedules allow. This revolving-door policy seems to mean that fan-favorite coach Blake Shelton could technically return to The Voice if he ever wanted to, following his big goodbye on the Season 23 finale. I was pretty bummed when John Legend basically shut down the possibility that would ever happen, but after giving it a little thought, I think it’s actually for the best.

Blake Shelton had become synonymous with NBC’s singing competition, as he was the final member of the original coaching panel to walk away, doing so with 11 years, 23 seasons and 9 victories under his belt. When ET asked John Legend — who is Season 25’s most tenured coach, making his ninth appearance — if there was a chance we’ll see the cowboy again, the EGOT winner suggested Shelton’s wife might be the easier get. Legend said:

I feel like Gwen is the only chance we have. I don't think Blake is coming back. He is staying on the farm, he's enjoying himself. I've talked to him and he's, like, picking corn. He sent us some fresh corn from the farm, he sent us some fresh peaches from the farm, we made peach cobbler. I don't think he has any desire to come back to Hollywood and film The Voice.

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Gwen Stefani did prove that she’s willing to coach even without her husband Blake Shelton next to her, as she returned to the show immediately after he left, so we shouldn’t rule her out for future seasons. However, it sounds like Shelton is enjoying the break he’s finally getting after filming two seasons of The Voice every year for over a decade.

This clearly wasn’t the news fans wanted to hear, because The Voice hasn’t quite been the same since losing the “Boys ‘Round Here” singer. Blake Shelton brought a really fun energy to the show, often hilariously trolling his fellow coaches and forming rivalries with Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine.

However, it’s probably in The Voice’s best interest that Blake Shelton make a clean break. The singing competition needs to develop its identity outside of its most famous coach, which it has started to do by hiring Reba McEntire to replace him. It definitely can’t continue to do that if the narrative is always whether or not Shelton’s going to dip back in for a season. In the first post-Shelton season, the coaches continued to get asked about him, and that’s clearly still happening, as evidenced by the interview with John Legend above.

In addition to making sure The Voice’s focus remains on the artists and not solely the coaches occupying the Big Red Chairs, Blake Shelton’s absence also gives other mentors the opportunity to collect some wins. Of the 19 other musicians who have served as a coach on The Voice, only nine of them have walked away with a victory. On Season 25, John Legend is the only coach to have taken an artist all the way, winning his first attempt in Season 16.

I’d like to see the trophy go to some different people, and Reba McEntire probably needs to win a season sooner than later if she wants to establish herself as the queen of the panel. Chance the Rapper has been impressive in his second season so far, and Dan + Shay have injected some enthusiasm into Season 25, so I actually feel good about where things are going for The Voice, especially if we know we’re unlikely to ever see Blake Shelton again.

The Voice airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays and 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays on NBC and can be streamed the next day with a Peacock subscription. Check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.