‘The Voice’: Watch Kelsea Ballerini Debut, Sub In for Kelly Clarkson in Latest Episode

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Voice teased a surprise Monday night as it finished off the blind auditions. Country star Kelsea Ballerini spent some time in Kelly Clarkson’s seat.

“Just pretend I’m Kelly,” Ballerini said in a promo for the competition part of the reality series. Mentors picked their teams in the opening episodes of The Voice, season 20.

Clarkson got sick, which required a fill in. Who better than Ballerini?

Ballerini tweeted The Voice promo and wrote:

“When Kelly Clarkson calls and asks you to keep her seat warm, you put all those years of being her super fan to work. thank you John Legend, Nick Jonas and ole pops Blake Shelton for making me feel like part of The Voice family.

Kelly Clarkson Thanked Ballerini for The Voice Sub

Clarkson also acknowledged the favor Ballerini did for her. In a tweet, Clarkson wrote:

“Thank you so much Kelsea Ballerini for sitting in for me while I was feeling under the weather! I know my team is in great hands with you!! Y’all aren’t going to want to miss this!! The battles start next week on The Voice. #TeamKelly #TheVoice.”

After listening to the contestants, the best part of The Voice probably is the banter between the mentors. Clarkson is on the coaching panel, along with Blake Shelton, John Legend and Nick Jonas. The newish coach is Jonas, who is in his second season. He’s received a ton of teasing. But no one has been spared.

The Voice promo shows Ballerini fitting right in. She zinged Shelton: “Hey Blake, have I ever told you that you look like my dad?” Sick burn to Shelton’s ego, although he is engaged to pop superstar Gwen Stefani.

Team Kelly likely will be thrilled to receive performing tips from 27-year-old Ballerini. Granted, she’s never won a reality competition like Clarkson, who was the first-ever American Idol victor. But Ballerini knows how to write and perform a hit song.

Ballerini’s hit Hole in the Bottle hit No. 2 on the country radio play charts last year. She released it in May and then reworked it to include Shania Twain. And The Voice fans probably recall that Twain was a mentor in season 17.

Plus, Ballerini knows singing competitions and she knows The Voice. She was a mentor for Team Kelly in season 16. And Ballerini also served as a coach for the Comeback Stage.

So if a singer from Team Kelly wins it all in May, thank Kelsea Ballerini, too.