Why The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson Felt ‘Horrible’ After One Contestant’s Heartfelt Tribute to Blake Shelton In His Final Season


Spoiler alert! This story contains minor spoilers for the third night of The Voice Season 23’s Blind Auditions, which aired March 13. 

The battle between The Voice coaches Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton has become a huge part of the cowboy’s final season. In fact, the rivalry was already in full swing before the season even started, with the two superstars taking humorous jabs at each other. But the “Since U Been Gone” singer got taken down a peg on the third night of Blind Auditions, when contestant Laura Littleton paid tribute to what the OG coach has done for the show, and Clarkson said she felt “horrible,” because she’d just prevented the artist from having a chance to work with Shelton.

Laura Littleton took the stage for the final audition of the March 13 episode to sing Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times.” Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson recognized some country tendencies in her version of the song, hitting their buttons at nearly the same time. But the American Idol champ just barely edged the “Come Back as a Country Boy” singer, allowing her to use her one and only Block on him. Although Littleton no longer had the option to work with Shelton, she used the opportunity to tell him what an honor it was to be a part of his final season, saying: 

What you’ve created here, I am so honored that I get to be here for your step-away. Getting to be a part of this process, from the very start to the very end right now. Whether someone gets a chair turn or not, you walk away from this a better person, more confident, so I am so thankful, so thankful for that.

Kelly Clarkson immediately started groaning in regret that she was the person standing in the way of Laura Littleton getting a chance to work with Blake Shelton, and even though the artist didn’t seem upset with her, Clarkson told her: 

Well now I feel really horrible, stealing that chance. He’s great, I know, he’s awesome.

One of the reasons fans love the Blake Shelton vs. Kelly Clarkson dynamic so much is that they are such good friends in real life, and when Clarkson dropped the schtick to offer a sincere apology, Shelton also put a pin in the fake feud. Instead of using the opportunity to berate his colleague, he deflected Laura Littleton’s suggestion that he’d had a part in creating The Voice’s success and said he, too, has just been along for the ride. Clarkson, however, insisted he accept the praise, saying: 

You’re being humble. You’re the king of The Voice. You’ve been here since the beginning, you’re a big reason why this show is popular.

You can see Laura Littleton’s audition, including her kind words for the departing coach below:

I’ve never really been a fan of the Blocks in the Blind Auditions. I understand using them to create drama between the coaches, but in such a huge moment for these artists, if they are able to get a coach to turn their chair, they should be able to work with whomever they want. This being Blake Shelton’s final season really just highlights the fact that this is the last chance any singer has for this opportunity, so I also hate that Kelly Clarkson took that choice from her. 

It seems to have backfired too, because Laura Littleton decided to go with Blake Shelton’s “son” Niall Horan, who has a pretty close connection to the icon who sang her audition song. All the Blocks have now been used, and I’m glad none of the remaining hopefuls will have that choice taken out from under them. The Voice continues at 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, on NBC, and be sure to check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon. 

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.