Season 17 of The Voice will be the first one without Adam Levine, and an insider says that his replacement – Gwen Stefani – is feeling the pressure to fill Levine’s “very big shoes.” As fans know, Levine was Blake Shelton’s frenemy on the show, and the source says producers are telling Stefani to “spar a bit with Blake” just like Levine did for 16 seasons.
Stefani previously appeared as a coach on The Voice in Seasons 7,9, and 12, but things are a lot different now. Not only is Levine gone, but Stefani has been dating Shelton for four years, and fans are expecting that relationship dynamic to be front and center during the upcoming season.
— Taste of Country (@TasteOfCountry) September 2, 2019
To replace the constant playful jabs that Shelton and Levine threw at each other for years, an insider told Us Weekly that executives are expecting Stefani to go after her boyfriend when necessary. And, judging from the Season 17 sneak peek, she did just that.
In the preview clip, Stefani blocked Shelton from competing for a contestant, and Shelton says to his girlfriend, “Why are you doing this to me? I thought you loved me?” He then turned his comments toward the contestant, saying “She put our relationship on the line for you!” At that moment, John Legend took the opportunity to point out, “You are personally responsible for breaking up one of America’s favorite couples.”
After the news of Levine’s exit broke back in May, Shelton admitted that he had a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Levine wouldn’t be on The Voice anymore. And, he was worried about not having his good friend with him since they had both been on the show together since the first season. However, having the chance to work with Stefani again makes Levine’s departure a bit more tolerable because not only is she his girlfriend, but she is a show veteran who “gets it.”
TOMORROW. ✨ pic.twitter.com/kPUQzyFmFX
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) September 2, 2019
Shelton says that doing the show with Stefani “literally makes my day 100 percent better.”
As for Levine, he wrote on Instagram that he couldn’t hide his love for Shelton if he tried, and their friendship will always be “one for the books.” Levine says Shelton is his brother for life, and he asked the other coaches to “take care of the cowboy.”
The Voice returns with Stefani, Shelton, Legend, and Kelly Clarkson as judges for Season 17 which premieres September 23rd on NBC.