The Voice is shaking up its judges panel.
The NBC reality hit has hired R&B singer Usher and Latin singer Shakira as “coaches” for the upcoming spring edition of the series. They’ll replace Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera, who are expected to return to the show next fall. The new additions are part of a plan by NBC and producers to develop an ongoing tent of talent for The Voice that can be mixed and matched as needed. Given the judges’ level of success and tour schedules, it’s difficult to have any of them appear on the show all season now that NBC has decided to run the series in the fall and spring.
“Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour,” said executive producer Mark Burnett. “Whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life. This is exactly why, after three seasons, we needed to allow them to rotate out so they can get on the road amongst their fans. Meanwhile, we’re incredibly excited to have singular artists like Usher and Shakira joining the fold.”
Aguilera is releasing a new album and going on tour. CeeLo is developing new music plus working on a scripted comedy series for NBC based on his life. Blake Shelton and Adam Levine will continue on The Voice this spring (and you make your own snarky assumptions about that). The Voice recently returned for its third season and though its ratings were down from previous seasons, it still managed to outshine the Britney-fueled second season premiere of Fox’s The X Factor.
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