Blake Shelton Sparks Concerns That He's Leaving 'The Voice'

Blake Shelton has served as The Voice's resident country coach for 20 seasons now, but fans think the "God's Country" singer is ready to hang up his red button and live a life further outside the spotlight with fiancée Gwen Stefani after the two tie the knot. Speculation has been swirling since an interview he did with Hoda Kotb on the TODAY show this month, when Shelton admitted he hoped to leave the entertainment business behind and live a simple life with Stefani eventually.

When asked if he saw that happening in about 10 years, Shelton added with a laugh, "I hope that’s not too far down the road. Ten years sounds like way too long to me. I’d like to see that sooner than later." He continued of the careers both he and the No Doubt singer have built, "I mean, we both pretty much taken it to the limit as far as our careers go and touring and now the television thing. It's been fortunate to accomplish a lot of things. But, hopefully, at some point, we get a chance to live some life."

Shelton also said he and Stefani were planning on a summer wedding this year, which fans saw as a first step towards living that more private life, but others argued indicated he would definitely be returning for Season 21. "I'm afraid if she and I wait until next November, I'm right back into The Voice cycle again," he explained. "I really want to be able to have plenty of time before and after. So hopefully this summer. I think we're right here at the point with COVID, it looks like it may be okay, but I don't know. That's tentatively the plan, so we'll see."

Shelton also appears to be revving up to take on new coach Ariana Grande, who was announced last month to be joining the panel in place of Nick Jonas. The country star said during a virtual Q&A after the "Into You" singer was announced that he was "excited about Ariana joining the show because it's somebody new for me to beat."

"I'm tired of beating John every season — and Nick," he continued, jokingly calling Jonas "the easiest coach I have ever beat in 20 seasons of doing this show." Going head-to-head with Grande, Shelton said she could be a "challenge," but one he was looking forward to besting. Jonas had another idea, however, calling his replacement "our generation's best vocalist." He continued, "She's got such an incredible career to pull from to inspire these artists she's going to work with. I'm so excited to see her beat Blake. It's going to be great for me." The Voice airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and can be streamed the following day on Hulu.

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