The Voice viewers noticed the glaring absence of Kelly Clarkson for the second week in a row Monday night during the show's second Battle Rounds of Season 20. The "Don't You Wanna Stay" singer was absent from the show due to an illness — with country music star Kelsea Ballerini filling in for her — so if you're wondering where she was, there's no need to worry. The Battle Rounds were filmed in January, and Clarkson will soon be back in her red chair on the show — but in the meantime, she called in Ballerini to take her place.
During Monday's show, Clarkson tweeted her praise of Ballerini and hinted that she may be back next week. "You are doing such an amazing job @KelseaBallerini!! Thank you for taking great care of #TeamKelly for me," she tweeted. "See y'all next week!" While there's no official word on when Clarkson will make her return to her seat on The Voice, her absence will likely stretch "several weeks," according to GoldDerby.com. Based on previous seasons, the battle rounds can last anywhere from three to five episodes. Given that host Carson Daly mentioned that Ballerini was “sitting in for Kelly during the battles,” it may be correct to assume that Clarkson will be out for all of the Battle Round episodes.
Ballerini's involvement was announced in March, following a clip that aired during an episode sharing that Clarkson would not be in her chair. A new promo begins with Clarkson's fellow coaches John Legend, Blake Shelton and Nick Jonas standing backstage together and wondering where she is. After Shelton quips, "Where is she? In Cancun?" host Carson Daly declares that Ballerini will be sitting in for Clarkson as the "hole in the bottle" appears in Clarkson's big red chair.
"Just pretend I'm Kelly," she tells the other coaches. When Legend asks her, "Who do we blame when you make a mistake?" Ballerini responds, "Her!" Ballerini also proves that she has Clarkson's skill when it comes to taking shots at Shelton, telling him, "Hey Blake, have I ever told you that you look like my dad?"
"Thank you so much [Kelsea Ballerini] for sitting in for me while I was feeling under the weather!" Clarkson wrote on social media after her temporary replacement was announced. "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."
Ballerini shared, "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 [The Voice] family. I’m forever #teamkelly...see y’all at the battle rounds!" Ballerini previously joined The Voice as its fifth coach in 2018 when she helmed the series' inaugural Comeback Stage competition, and she served as Clarkson's team advisor in 2019. The 27-year-old also joined the American Idol winner on her Meaning of Life Tour in 2019.