The initial coaches panel for season 17 of The Voice was meant to be the same as season 16, with Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend all originally confirmed to return. However, after the season 16 finale, fans of the show were hit with a bombshell: Adam would be leaving The Voice after eight years and 16 seasons as a coach. Instead, Gwen Stefani, who hasn’t appeared as a coach on the show since season 12, would be stepping in as a replacement. “He will always be a cherished member of The Voice family and we wish him the best,” host Carson Daly confirmed, while announcing the news on the Today Show on May 24.
Shortly after the announcement was made, Adam took to Instagram to share his own sentiments about his decision to leave. “For me, it was time to move on,” he explained. “Your support has meant EVERYTHING.” In his lengthy post, he thanked several people who he worked with on the show over the years, and admitted that The Voice was a “life shaping experience that will be close to [his] heart forever.” On June 4, Gwen broke her silence about returning to The Voice during an appearance on The Talk. “It was such a shock,” she admitted. “I wanted to come back so bad. I mean, the show is so fun!” She also explained that she’s “happy” for Adam, as he’ll now be able to dedicate his time to his wife, Behati Prinsloo, their two daughters, and his music.
While Adam won The Voice three times during his tenure on the show, he wasn’t experiencing favorable results with his team members in recent seasons. In fact, during season 16, all of his artists were eliminated before the Semifinals, which left Adam with no artists in the competition during the final two weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, during season 15, Adam received some backlash after two of his team members (Reagan Strange and DeAndre Nico) were in danger of going home during the same episode. Adam begged viewers to vote for Reagan to stay in the competition, as she was very sick and didn’t have a chance to sing for a last chance save. Many viewers felt that it was inappropriate for Adam to put so much of his support behind Reagan, while not advocating for DeAndre, and he received major criticism for his comments. Despite all of this, though, Adam appears to look back at his time on The Voice fondly.
Season 17 of The Voice premieres on Sept. 23 at 8:00 p.m. on NBC. Viewers will certainly miss Adam and Blake’s back and forth banter, but we can definitely expect Blake and Gwen’s relationship to be front and center now that the couple is back on the show together!