“We’re gonna miss him,” the “All of Me” singer, 40, told Extra at the Sesame Street Workshop Gala in New York City on Wednesday, May 29. “He has been a part of the show since the very beginning. This was my first year, and he has been a friend of mine for a long time. I have known him since before The Voice.”
Legend added, “I think he was ready and thought it was the right time.”
The Voice host Carson Daly announced on the Today show on Friday, May 24, that Levine, 40, would be leaving the NBC singing competition after 16 seasons. Veteran coach Blake Shelton’s girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, will take the Maroon 5 frontman’s seat during the upcoming 17th season. (She previously served as a coach in seasons 7, 9 and 12, in addition to appearing as an adviser in two other seasons.)
“Gwen’s going to be great,” Legend told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday. “I think Blake is pretty happy about it.”
NBC had announced just 14 days before the news of Levine’s exit that he would be returning for season 17 alongside Legend, Shelton, 42, and Kelly Clarkson. However, according to a source, the sudden cast shake-up “had nothing to do with [the] backlash” that the “This Love” singer faced during season 15 for seemingly playing favorites with his contestant Reagan Strange. A second insider told Us, “It was his choice to go, but no one was begging him to stay.”
Levine took to Instagram later on Friday to thank everyone involved in the series. “I am truly honored to have been a part of something I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life,” he wrote. “Thank you to every single coach I ever sat in those chairs with. That is shared experience that is singularly ours. We have that for life. … What an amazing ride. Thank you all so much.”
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