Country star and “The Voice” coach Blake Shelton was thrilled to learn that pop star Ariana Grande would be taking over the chair vacated by Nick Jonas (after it was vacated by his fiancée Gwen Stefani) next season.
On Tuesday, the news broke that Grande would be joining Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend in a coach’s chair for Season 21. And speaking to the “Today” show’s Hota Kotb on Wednesday, Shelton shared his reaction to the change.
“They never let us know who it’s going to be, by the way, until… I think we found out about two days ago,” he said. “The producers texted us and said it was going to be Ariana. So, I’m excited about it. I’m a fan of hers.”
‘The Voice’ Coach Blake Shelton Says Grande Is In for a Tough Competition
Despite his admiration for Grande, Shelton said he’s not going to be pulling any punches once the season starts.
“I’m not going to lie,” Shelton said. “We’re still going to beat the crap out of her, you know, on the show. It’s our job. They pay us to win, Hoda. They don’t pay me to lose.”
Shelton joked that the show has aged him. Battle weary, he’s been through 20 seasons on “The Voice,” having started on the show in Season 1. And in a recent episode, Kelsea Ballerini told Shelton that he resembles her dad.
“Look at me,” Shelton added. “My gosh, I’ve been doing this show… this is the 20th season. So I guess I had it coming. I used to look like Ariana when I started the show, and now look at me. I can take it… So, it is what it is, Hoda.”
Grande Says She Is Excited to Join the Show
For her part, Grande is stoked to take on Shelton and the other coaches next season. And with the Season 20 premiere last month outperforming its primetime competitors, her stint on the show can only help her popularity.
“I’m so honored and excited to join ‘The Voice’ family!” Grande said in a statement, per Variety. “I have been a huge fan of the show for such a long time. I can’t wait to go head-to-head with the incredible coaches, get to know these new artists and help to take their craft to the next level.”
And the network seems pretty happy with the addition, too, noting that Grande’s vocal skills and star power will be a welcome addition to the show.
“We were thrilled to learn that [Grande] is a true fan of ‘The Voice’ and know that this enthusiasm will add to her impact as a dynamic coach,” executive vice president of unscripted content for NBCUniversal Jenny Groom said in a statement.