'The Voice': Emily Ann Roberts Opens up About Show Continuing Without Adam Levine (Exclusive)

Emily Ann Roberts was a runner-up on Season 9 of The Voice in 2015, on Blake Shelton's team. Roberts sang Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," with both Shelton and Adam Levine turning their red swivel chairs around, hoping to convince Roberts to join their team. While Levine was ultimately unsuccessful, Roberts still got to know Levine quite well, and tells PopCulture.com exclusively that she was stunned by his surprising exit from the show at the end of last season.

"It was really sad!" Roberts told PopCulture.com. "I was really sad, because I think that it's been those four coaches. Well, I know that the middle two kind of change, but it's been Blake and Adam from the beginning. So, I'm sure that that was hard. And I'm eager to see what this next season is like without Adam."

Shelton's girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, is returning this year to fill Levine's spot — a welcome addition since Stefani has already been a coach on The Voice for three seasons, including when Roberts was on the show. Stefani will join Shelton this year, who now holds the record as the longest coach on the show, alongside Kelly Clarkson and John Legend.

"She was on my season and she is a phenomenal coach," boasted Roberts of Stefani. "Incredible. She cares so much about the artist. Kelly Clarkson is incredible. She cares so much about the artist. I mean, it's gonna be an incredible season. I know that Adam will be missed, but if it was his time he felt like to leave, then it was his time to leave."

Roberts went into the show hoping to be on Shelton's team, but admits she was almost swayed by Levine instead.

"It was hard for me to choose, which is odd, because I knew that I wanted to be on Team Blake, but Adam turned around first," Roberts recounted. "Blake took a little longer to turn around. And Adam was really sweet, and he had a lot of really great compliments, whereas Blake already had some country females on his team and he said that, and Adam didn't have any. So Adam was like, 'You can be the only country girl on my team,' and all this stuff.

"But I ended up going with Blake because I thought about it and I knew I wanted to sing country music," she continued. "Who better to learn from than somebody who's been so successful at it for years and years?"

Roberts made it all the way to the end of the show, where she was bested by Jordan Smith, who was crowned the winner. But in Roberts' mind, she still came out victorious.

"I was just thankful to make a team," Roberts said. "I never imagined that I would even make it on a team, seriously. Once I was on team Blake and I kept advancing, I was already a winner, you know? And I feel that way still to this day. I think I'm a believer in everything works out the way it's supposed to, so I know that it all worked out the way it was supposed to."

Roberts previously revealed that she was asked to audition by the show's producers, after discovering YouTube videos of her singing. But even though she had a bit of an advantage heading into the show, she still felt the same panic as every other contestant right before she began her audition.

"It felt like a 'Is this real? moment," Roberts recounted. "Like pinch me, am I dreaming? I saw all the chairs, the backs of the chairs; I'm on the stage, and I had watched the TV show before. So, it was so surreal to be there. That was really crazy. But, as soon as the music started playing, and I started singing, I was okay. And that's still how it is to this day when I'm performing. Right before I go on, I'm nervous, but the minute the music starts and I sing the first note, I'm okay."

Season 17 of The Voice will premiere on Sept. 23 on NBC.

Photo Courtesy of Evolution PR/Summer Simmons Photography