They're back! The judging panel for The Voice will look familiar when the hit singing competition returns to NBC this fall — but different from the spring lineup.
Christina Aguilera is officially sitting out Season 9, the network confirmed, but there won't be any newbies in the mix for the newest season. Gwen Stefani will settle back into her spinning chair alongside Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton.
Host Carson Daly is also returning, and told Us Weekly during Season 8, which featured Aguilera and returning coaches Williams, Levine, and Shelton, that he knew the slate would be slightly different this fall. "These guys tour," he explained. "They’re not TV people — they’re musicians first. We knew that they have to tour around the world and so, unlike other shows, we’ve always known that we’re going to have the revolving chairs. When we can get Usher and Gwen in the mix with these guys, it’s been great."
Although a rotating panel was intimidating at first, swapping in Shakira for Aguliera among other changes, Daly said things are better now that the audience knows to expect different faces.
"I think we were scared by it at first because, you know, whenever there was a panel change at [American] Idol or another show I think the public thought that meant there was trouble in paradise," he said. "We always felt like we had A-list artists who need to tour. We actually liked fresh blood; we thought it changed up each season. We’re on twice a year too, so it just changes things up a little bit, and look at what we’ve gotten! CeeLo [Green] is awesome, then we got Usher, now Pharrell."
Don't think Aguilera's departure means she's leaving the show for good. "Christina is confirmed for Season 10 and has already signed her contract. She has been very vocal about not doing Season 9 to take a break to spend time with her family and her kids," a source tells Us." She always planned to flip them so she had a season off and she is not being replaced by Gwen. She will definitely be back the next season."
The Voice will return to NBC in the fall.
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