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Adam Levine May Be Gone From The Voice, But Blake Shelton Has New Coach To Talk Smack To

For years, one of The Voice's most recognizable traits was the playful on-air rivalry between longtime coach and country music superstar Blake Shelton and his former co-star, Maroon 5's Adam Levine. The latter exited the NBC competition series in 2019, forcing Shelton to find new outlets for his ribbing and trash-talking, and it's looking like he might have the best frontrunner yet for a suitable troll replacement for Season 21 in the form of new Voice coach Ariana Grande.

To be sure, this isn't just a case of Blake Shelton taking aim at another pop star for the arbitrary hell of it. Rather, Ariana Grande appears to be just as game to dish out the smack talk as Shelton is. At least, that's how it looks in the latest promo video released by The Voice, which is focused on Shelton and Grande meeting up. Check it out!

Okay, so I'm a sucker for puns in 99 out of 100 cases, but even I had to groan through a megaphone when Blake Shelton said his new co-star was making a "grande" entrance in joining the popular series. Thankfully, those were kept to a blessed minimum, or else Kelly Clarkson and John Legend would have had to step up and toss Shelton in the campfire. Or, you know, a reaction that doesn't involve maiming.

Amusingly enough, The Voice's crew talked to Ariana Grande at the meet-and-greet photo shoot, but before she was actually introduced to Blake Shelton. She joked about being nervous about that meet-up, saying she'd heard he could be a handful. I'll assume she didn't talk specifically to Adam Levine, but I'm sure he'd have much to say if she ever gave him a call. He certainly had a fun time returning to The Voice for its Season 20 finale, where he reunited with Shelton ahead of a performance. Which isn't to say he made such a great impression that Shelton and Gwen Stefani invited Levine to their wedding, but still.

I think Ariana Grande technically got the first barb off with her tumbleweed comment, although that was possibly more about the setting than about Blake Shelton's inherent cowboy nature. But she followed it up with a hug, so no hard feelings, right? Not so fast! Shelton shared that they agreed via handshake to go at each other's throats during the season, so is it really a match made in heaven, or a mish-mash manufactured in limbo? Viewers will just have to wait and see how high the sparks fly between Grande and Shelton when The Voice returns with new episodes.

As part of the biggest premiere week of the 2021 Fall TV season, The Voice will debut Season 21 on Monday, September 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.