How Blake Shelton plans to win his final season on ‘The Voice’

How Blake Shelton plans to win his final season on ‘The Voice’

Shelton, returning coach Kelly Clarkson, and new additions Niall Horan and Chance the Rapper preview season 23 of NBC’s singing competition.

The Voice – Season 14

To sit down with the four coaches of The Voice for an interview is to enter into a playful game of insults and jokes. That’s certainly the case for Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, the latter of which is entering his final season of the NBC singing competition, which kicks off season 23 tonight.

“I don’t want to help them actually win, but everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie,” Clarkson says with a laugh, sharing the biggest bit of advice she gave new coaches Niall Horan and Chance the Rapper.

Shelton admits that past tactics — saying his cat just died or that it’s his birthday — have frequently worked in wooing contestants to his team. And playing up that this is his last time in the spinning red chair seems to be working for him, too. “I don’t have any empty spots,” he says proudly. “I think it’s a powerful thing for people to hear.”

Perhaps most of all for himself as he attempts to “remind myself to really take in the moment” and savor the experience. “So I apologize, because I know I do say it a lot, but it’s a thing that I’m doing for myself because me and my therapist talked about it and they were like, ‘Just say it, say it out loud.'”

Clarkson interjects, laughing: “There is no way he’s ever gone to therapy.”

THE VOICE — Season: 23 — Pictured: (l-r) Niall Horan, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Chance the Rapper

‘The Voice’ season 23 coaches Niall Horan, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, and Chance the Rapper

| Credit: Art Streiber/NBC

Whether it’s strategy or a coping mechanism, Horan and Chance have taken notice. Rather than touting that it’s their first season, they admit they stole Shelton’s bit. “Both of us had said at one point, ‘It’s my last season,'” explains Horan, imitating Shelton’s southern twang. “We went along with that because it was working for him so well.”

But Shelton’s success record speaks for itself. Of the past 22 seasons, he has won eight of them. Clarkson, to her credit, has won four of the previous eight seasons she was a coach. Like American Idol winner Clarkson, Horan knows what it’s like to be on a singing reality competition, having emerged from season 7 of The X Factor UK as part of One Direction — a tool in his arsenal.

But who would he have chosen for his coach had he auditioned for The Voice? “To be honest, I think I’d go with Kelly because I’m not technically good and Kelly is very good,” he says before Clarkson interrupts to scoff at Horan’s comments about him not being good.

All of the playful banter aside, though, sit quietly while Chance takes a second to admire the level of talent he’s had a chance to watch perform and work with.

“All the artists that come on stage, they’re very self-aware of where they stand and like what this moment means for them,” the “No Problem” rapper says. “As artists, the whole thing that we’re doing is we’re conveying different emotions or feelings or like moments of our lives. And when you see these people get on stage, they’re like, ‘This is who I am.’ It’s just a dope thing to see.”

You can see what he means — and maybe you’ll want to keep count of every time Shelton tells someone it’s his last season — on the season 23 premiere of The Voice, tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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