The Voice Adds Mega Mentor With Meaningful Ties To Both Kelly Clarkson And Blake Shelton
The new season will also features some changes.
When The Voice returns for its latest season, which just so happens to be Blake Shelton’s final year with the long-running NBC series, it’s making some changes that stretch behind the coaching change-ups. And on top of all of that, fans can expect to see a true music legend as Season 23’s Mega Mentor, and one that shares personal ties of different values to both Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton that should make for a very interesting point in the season.
The Voice Welcomes Back Reba McEntire
Season 23 will see the Grammy-winning multihyphenate icon Reba McEntire returning to The Voice as its latest Mega Mentor. This decision almost seems like a delayed prize for Blake Shelton having won out in his penultimate season, with Bryce Leatherwood taking home the metaphorical gold. Kelly Clarkson is quite familiar with the world of country music herself, even within the confines of The Voice’s competition, so she also has a bit of a leg up on the two newest coaches, Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan. (I cannot wait to see Chance and Reba chatting it up, though.)
Reba McEntire’s return to the show for this season is quite meaningful for Shelton, while a personal connection with Clarkson is also in play.
- The very first season of The Voice featured Reba McEntire as a Battle Advisor for Team Blake, and later returned in Season 8, advising all four of the teams in Week 12. (Shelton’s competitors that cycle were Adam Levine, Pharrell and Christina Aguilera.) NBC’s announcement even drew attention to the fact that it’s “most fitting” for McEntire to return and give the country crooner a full-circle experience before bowing out.
- Outside of The Voice, Kelly Clarkson used to call Reba McEntire her sorta-mother-in-law when she was married to Brandon Blackstock, the legend’s stepson in the years she was married to his father Narvel Blackstock. Granted, Clarkson and Blackstock went through a complicated, music-inspiring divorce that had them trading off their kids during the holidays. So will it be weird for the two to share the screen in Season 23? Unlikely, since they’ve maintained their respect and friendship for one another, and are total professionals otherwise.
Here’s hoping Reba McEntire’s return to The Voice boosts interest in the long-discussed revival of her sitcom Reba, with Lifetime’s TV movie Hammer having offered fans the latest co-star reunion.
The Voice Season 23 Is Adding Some Notable Changes
Beyond the big news that Reba McEntire will lend her expert advice to the Battle Round victors, The Voice also revealed some rule shake-ups are coming, with one of them reversing a change from Season 22.
There will be a "Playoff Pass" introduced for the Battle Rounds, with each coach getting one chance to send a singer straight through to the Playoff Rounds that will begin on May 1, on top of having a steal for this round. Theoretically, this means if one particular battle features two standout performances that blow everyone's minds, both artists could advance in huge ways without anyone being stolen.
The 24 contestants heading into the Knockouts, which doesn't include the four Playoff Pass recipients, won't have to worry about the three-way knockouts that curbed way too many competitors last season. Instead, the show is going back to its' paired-up Knockouts, with one steal available for coaches in this round as well.
The Playoffs will feature the final 20 hopefuls, with two singers from each team advancing to the live semi-finals that will kick off on NBC on Monday, May 15, at 8:00 p.m.
Nothing too radical this time around, and I'm sure many other fans out there will be as pleased as I am to see the three-way Knockouts getting sidelined. Assuming the coaches don't make the worst choices with their Playoff Pass choices, that change could be a winner that sticks around in future seasons. Now we just have to start thinking about who could replace Blake Shelton in Season 24, beyond the singer's own suggestions.
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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.