Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green will not be involved in the fourth cycle of "The Voice," NBC announced today. The two coaches will be replaced by R&B artist Usher and Grammy-winning songstress Shakira when the show returns for a fourth season in the spring.
Aguilera is taking time off from the talent competition to release a new album and embark on tour, while Green is said to be developing new music and a scripted comedy based on his own life for NBC. Fellow coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will remain with the series through Season 4, although their involvement in future cycles has yet to be announced.
"We are thrilled to welcome Usher and Shakira to 'The Voice.' The addition of these popular iconic artists continues the tradition established by Christina, Cee Lo, Adam and Blake," Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “Doing two back-to-back cycles of this show requires a tremendous amount of time, and we are happy to accommodate the commitments made by Christina and Cee Lo. The participants on our show benefit from our coaches’ expertise and their continued success in the music business allows for significant new contributions to the contestants when they return."
"Being a coach on 'The Voice' is a wonderful experience and the relationship amongst us all is like an extended family," said Aguilera. "I am so proud of being part of the show from the beginning, all the work we've done, and proud of what the show stands for as a whole. As I have expressed since day one of the show, that I am a singer and performer first and I am so excited to get back to that love. Since this year NBC and 'The Voice' have decided to tape back-to-back seasons, requiring a full-year commitment, it is important for me to take season four off, allowing me to support my music that my fans have been waiting for -- with the release of my new album 'Lotus' on November 13. By pursuing my first passion of music during the break, I am also able to come back and offer even more to my team on 'The Voice' in the future.”
"First ... thank you NBC for supporting my decision to take this season four hiatus! It says that I'm seen and respected as a complete artist and not just a cast member. I'm highly enthusiastic about focusing my undivided attention on my additional endeavors and interests like my upcoming solo album, new Goodie Mob album, Las Vegas residency 'Loberace,' new memoir, and new NBC comedy," Green said. "It’s great to also give a host of other talent the chance to experience what a joy it is to be part of what is truly THE BEST SHOW of them all, 'THE VOICE!' I will return for season five and will be watching season four. NBC is home and as far as Usher and Shakira are concerned -- ‘mi casa su casa.’"
Though we can't help but note that Aguilera didn't specify a return to the series in Season 5 as Green did, the possibility of rotating judges has been mooted for some time. Earlier this year, Greenblatt admitted, "We've got deals and options on all of them for the next two cycles. But they are all such busy, working musicians ... their schedules start to back up on each other. We don't know yet whether it will make sense for them to do two cycles [a year]."
Though the show's decision to air two cycles a year initially seemed excessive, "The Voice" is currently holding its own in the ratings, even beating the much-anticipated return of "The X Factor" with Britney Spears as a coach. We just wonder whether Adam Levine is relieved about the panel shake-up, given that he and Aguilera have had a tumultuous working relationship ...
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Are you excited to see Usher and Shakira join the coaching team, or will you miss Aguilera and Green?