After sixteen seasons as a panelist on the singing competition show, Adam Levine is leaving The Voice. Developed in the wake of American Idol’s explosion in popularity, The Voice arrived on NBC in 2011. The show, based on the Dutch series The Voice of Holland, features a unique format where celebrity panelists critique the various contestants and then guide the chosen few through subsequent rounds until a single winner is ultimately crowned.
The first season of The Voice featured a four-person panel made up of Gnarls Barkley’s CeeLo Green, Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton and R&B singer Christina Aguilera. Various other coaches have circulated through over the years, including Shakira, Usher, Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys. Only Levine and Shelton have stuck it out the whole way, developing a friendly on-screen rivalry over the years.
But now The Voice is in for a huge shake up as Levine is getting set to exit the show, host Carson Daly revealed on the Today Show Friday. Former panelist Gwen Stefani will return to fill Levine’s shoes for the upcoming 17th season, Daly also announced. The four-person panel for season 17 is made up of Stefani together with returning stars Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. In an Instagram post, Adam Levine said goodbye to the show he helped make popular. Levine’s co-star Blake Shelton also expressed his regret over Levine’s departure. See both posts below:
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About 8 years ago, Mark Burnett convinced us to sign up for this show where you sit in a big red chair with your back turned away from the singers on the stage. First thank you must go to Mark. ❤️ We had no idea what we were doing or where it was going. After the first day of shooting, I sat there, stunned. I said to myself “theres some magic here. Something is definitely happening.” It went on to be a life shaping experience that will be close to my heart forever. Thank you NBC for signing me up. I am truly honored to have been a part of something I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you to every single coach I ever sat in those chairs with. That is shared experience that is singularly ours. We have that for life. Thank you to everyone who supported this long strange and amazing left turn into a place I never thought I’d go. Thank you Carson Daly for babysitting the musicians and making sure our shoes were tied and we had our lunch boxes. You are the backbone of this thing and we appreciate you more than you know. Audrey, thank you for being perhaps the most patient person in all the free world. 4 musicians all at once is a lot. Sainthood is imminent. Thank you to Paul Mirkovich and the band for their ridiculously hard work and learning more songs than maybe any band ever. 😂 Thank you to the people behind the scenes who do the real work and make this machine hum. To the amazingly talented vocalists who competed on the show and blew my mind on a daily basis. And, BLAKE FUCKIN’ SHELTON. I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried. Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, Im just happy I got to experience it with you. You’re my brother for life. Kelly and John, take care of the cowboy and I’m sure I’ll be back to say hi very very soon. So much love to you both. And lastly, to all of the loyal voice fans, there’s literally no show without you guys. For me, it was time to move on. Your support has meant EVERYTHING. And Lastly, I’d like to thank my manager Jordan for convincing me to take that meeting. 😊 What an amazing ride. Thank you all so much. ❤️ Adam
Having a hard time wrapping my head around @adamlevine not being at @NBCTheVoice anymore. After 16 seasons that changed both of ours lives. I only found out about this yesterday and it hasn’t set in on me yet. Gonna miss working with that idiot.— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) May 24, 2019
Though both messages express upbeat sentiments, it appears Levine's exit was actually somewhat acrimonious. As reported by TV Line, Levine angered NBC brass when he made a disinterested appearance alongside his Voice co-stars at the NBC Upfronts presentation on May 13 at Radio City Music Hall. A day before that, Levine was said to be “very difficult” during a taping of the season 16 semi-finals, reportedly expressing frustration over having to show up for the taping even though he had no singers left in his stable. In previous seasons, all coaches were guaranteed to have singers remaining in the race by the semi-final round, but a change to the rules left Levine with no competitors left to coach.
Behind-the-scenes drama is of course nothing new for reality competition shows, and indeed that drama often makes it on-air as well, as it’s usually good for ratings for judges to be at least a little hostile toward one another as the contests play out. In this case, however, it seems the drama got a little too real for everyone involved. Though Adam Levine is now officially gone (and seems like he will be happy to be gone), The Voice will indeed carry on for a 17th season on NBC.