'The Voice': Blake Shelton Claims Reba McEntire Was Asked to Fill His Seat First

It's the role that Blake Shelton credits with changing his entire career, but it almost went to Reba McEntire instead. Shelton just revealed that, prior to him joining the cast of The Voice, the producers reached out to her then-husband and manager, Narvel Blackstock, who also manages Shelton, and asked if McEntire would be interested in coaching on The Voice. When McEntire passed, Shelton's name was brought up and the rest is history.

“If I’m not mistaken, they wanted Reba to be a coach on The Voice first,” Shelton said, according to The Ty Bentli Show. “I hope I’m not saying something I shouldn’t say. It’s out there now. But they wanted Reba, and they knew they wanted a country artist to be a coach on The Voice to fill that lane.”

It was Blackstock who suggested Shelton's name while passing on it for McEntire. “So, Narvel told them Reba can’t do it, but hey, I got this other guy that I manage that’s got all the time in the world," Shelton added.

The Voice premiered in 2011, and Shelton doesn't remember exactly why McEntire passed on the reality TV talent show, although he says it was likely due to her busy schedule.

“They called Starstruck, and Reba at the time, you know, for whatever reason, I can’t remember,” Shelton recounted. “She may have had her Malibu Country show going at the time, for whatever reason, she couldn’t do it, or they just decided it wasn’t the thing for her at the time.

"‘What is The Voice? It sounds dumb, right?'" he joked. "I don’t know, I’m Reba McEntire. I’m in this chair and I hit a button and my chair turns around.’ Like, it sounded weird to probably anybody they pitched it to, honestly.”

Still, weird as it may have sounded, Shelton is forever grateful that he filled that vacant seat.

"I didn't realize that most people in this country had never, ever heard of me, at all, or heard my music," Shelton said on Sunday TODAY. "And it wasn't until I got on The Voice as a coach that I realized, 'Man, I am nobody.' I remember the first time or two they introduced us on the stage. ... The Voice changed everything for me, and I mean everything."


Shelton has appeared in every season of The Voice since its inception, and will return for Season 18 in 2020. The Voice airs on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Photo Credit: Getty / Tibrina Hobson