The Voice Is Really, Really Pushing The Kelly Clarkson And Blake Shelton Dynamic. These Were Their Best Moments From The Season 23 Premiere

Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson fighting screenshot
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoiler alert! Minor spoilers ahead for The Voice’s two-night Season 23 premiere on March 7-8.

With Kelly Clarkson making a return to The Voice for Blake Shelton’s final season, it was a foregone conclusion that they would rekindle the rivalry they’d developed in past years. They pretty much confirmed as much before Season 23 even premiered, with the talk show host taking jabs and the cowboy firing them right back, and the show wasted no time in ringing the bell for Shelton vs. Clarkson when the Blind Auditions kicked off Monday and Tuesday. Below are some of the best moments from the first two episodes that highlighted already-vicious rivalry between the two music superstars: 

Blake Shelton Suggests Kelly Clarkson Should Also Quit 

The two veteran Voice coaches came out guns blazing for Monday’s season premiere, with Blake Shelton blocking Kelly Clarkson on the very first artist to take the stage. It certainly set the tone, and as they traded barbs backstage. Chance the Rapper even noted they had a strong love-hate thing going on, before the cowboy told his rival: 

This is my last season. And from a fan standpoint, I’m sure they hope it’s your last season too.

Brutal! But, admittedly pretty funny. 

Forcing Chance The Rapper And Niall Horan To Take Sides 

It should come as a surprise to no one that both veterans each took one of the newbie coaches to aid them in their rivalry. The father/son dynamic between Blake Shelton and Niall Horan was strong, and Kelly Clarkson had the highest praise for Chance the Rapper when he issued what she called “literally my favorite pitch that anyone has ever done.”

Chance the Rapper tried his hand at luring country artist Neil Salsich away from Blake Shelton with the argument:

I'm not very familiar with country music, but the texture of your voice, the tone, the range that you have, and also, the runs that you’re doing. This could be interesting. It's TV, anything could happen! Why not a rapper and a country singer together? And it would be really cool if I stole a country [artist] off Blake. It’s your thing, it’d be cool. This guy is the definition of cool, I'm really cool, we could make something happen!

It was a good pitch, to be sure, but Neil Salsich ultimately chose to be part of the final Team Blake

Blake Shuts Kelly Down In Her Support Of Chance The Rapper 

Blake Shelton and Chance the Rapper both expressed interest in working with Alex Whalen, and the American Idol champion threw her support behind the rookie coach, pointing out that the artist might be better off with the rapper, since he was sure to encounter singers with a similar style to his on Shelton’s team. The “No Body” singer shut that right down, pointing out to Whalen that: 

Kelly has chosen to not be a part of your life in any way, shape or form. By not hitting her button, she chose to not be a part of your life.

I mean, he’s got a point, but I don’t think there’s necessarily a whole lot of logic when it comes to these two and their bickering. Consider this video they each posted to Instagram

Kelly Clarkson has her work cut out for her, because Blake Shelton is not easy to beat. And for the record, Alex Whalen chose the "Austin" singer over Team Chance. 

Kelly Clarkson Gives Blake The Sixth-Place Ribbon 

The pre-recorded bits of the rivalry aren’t usually my favorites, but there was just something hilarious about Kelly Clarkson trolling Blake Shelton with the decorations in the hallway outside their dressing rooms. Twinkly lights adorned the walls, and she explained: 

I also put ribbons on our doors. I somehow ended up in first place, and somehow — there were only four people — he still got sixth. I don’t know. That’s God’s plan, I guess. Even Carson beat Blake. He’s not even a coach.

Sixth place out of four (or five, counting Carson Daly)? That’s just petty, and I love it.

This isn’t a rivalry that’s going to cool off as Season 23 progresses, and even if sometimes the ribbing between the coaches goes a little too far, I’ve got to say, I’m all in on this fight. We’d better enjoy it while we can, right? The Voice returns at 8 p.m. ET Monday, March 13, on NBC. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.