After 23 seasons, 12 years and nine wins, Blake Shelton is saying goodbye to The Voice.
The Cowboy is stepping away from the iconic spinning coaches’ chairs following the season 23 finale of the NBC singing competition this week, and leaving behind quite a legacy, as the winningest coach in the history of the show — and the only one who’s been with The Voice since its first season, back in 2011.
So why leave now? There’s certainly nothing but love between Blake and the show, as he told ET earlier this year.
“I mean, my god, it’s been 23 seasons, 12 years,” he reflected. “My friends, I’ve seen their kids literally grow up… It’s unbelievable, all the life that’s happened. I met my wife on there, you know, everything good that could come from something like that, I’ve maxed it out.”
Blake’s wife, Gwen Stefani, will actually be returning to The Voice for season 24, as new coach Reba McEntire takes over Blake’s old chair. And while Blake previously told ET that he would be honored to return to the show as a Team Gwen mentor someday, it seems it’s just time for something new.
“I’m excited. I’m in a good place about this, you know? I don’t have any regrets about it,” Blake shared with ET ahead of last week’s live semifinal show.
“I’m definitely going to miss it at times, but it’s time. I mean, my gosh, I saw a little blurb where somebody caught Adam Levine going into a party, and they said, ‘What do you think about Blake leaving?’ and he turned around and said, ‘It’s about time,'” Blake added with a laugh, referencing ET’s interview with the Maroon 5 frontman at this year’s Vanity Fair Oscars party.
“He’s right, it is about time,” Blake agreed. “This has changed my life in a lot of ways, but it’s time to let one of these new up-and-coming artists become a coach — like Reba. That’d be a good break.”
Despite his jokes, the country star couldn’t be more excited about Reba taking over the coach’s chair and passing along her wisdom with young performers — sharing how she’s inspired him throughout his own career.
“She’s one of my heroes,” Blake noted. “You know, Reba was one of the reasons I even moved to Nashville. She was from Oklahoma, from a small middle-of-nowhere town and made it. So she was my inspiration and to always see her in that light, it’s not gonna get better to represent country music than Reba.”
The Voice‘s two-part finale airs Monday, May 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Tuesday, May 23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Fans can vote for their favorite artist, starting Monday night at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, by using The Voice‘sofficial app, or voting online at NBC.com/VoiceVote.
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