Six Country Stars Who Could Replace Blake Shelton On ‘The Voice’
Blake Shelton’s time on “The Voice” is coming to an end.
Neal McCoy, Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire; Photos Provided
Blake Shelton is in the midst of his final season on NBC’s award-winning singing competition, The Voice. The country superstar’s decision to leave behind his coaching duties on the show means that another artist will have to rise to the occasion and fill his spot.
The news of Shelton stepping down from the show came just hours after it was revealed that he will be joined by Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan and Chance The Rapper on the 2023 season.
Serving the longest run for 23 seasons, the “No Body” singer earned his ninth win since Season 1 of the show when rising star Bryce Leatherwood claimed first place with Team Blake in 2022.
“I’ve been wrestling with this for a while and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from The Voice after next season,” Shelton said in a previous statement.
Since Shelton’s replacement has yet to be announced, Country Now took the liberty of compiling a list of six potential country artists who could join the next group of star-studded coaches.
Not only is Reba McEntire considered to be a legend in the country music genre who would have plenty of wisdom to share with the contestants, but she also has experience working on The Voice.
It was recently announced that she will be joining a portion of Season 23 as a Mega Mentor. Her support and advice will come to the remaining artists who end up making it through the battle rounds, as they prepare to take on knockouts. She also previously made an appearance as a Battle Advisor to Team Blake during the show’s inaugural season.
Along with all that, she was originally supposed to be cast in the show, but ended up turning down the opportunity before it first premiered in 2011. Shelton shared this fun fact in 2019 when he said, “For whatever reason, she couldn’t do it, or they just decided it wasn’t the thing for her at the time.”
Texas native Neal McCoy would be an obvious choice considering the fact that Shelton already nominated him as a replacement.
“Y’all know that next spring The Voice season 23 will be my last… So I’d like to throw @NealMcCoy’s hat in the ring as my replacement! Can I get an amen?!!!!” Shelton wrote on Twitter.
The “God’s Country” singer may have thrown McCoy’s name into the pool of names, but McCoy was actually the first to propose himself for the position, as he previously took to Facebook to start a rumor that would suggest he might be a good option for the network to consider. Although the “Wink” singer appeared to be joking in his post, his successful career proves that he would in fact be a qualified candidate to fill the coaching seat. He has compiled a total of fifteen studio albums and 34 singles on country radio. In the late 1990s, he received two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits.
Dolly Parton’s warm and welcoming personality would be enough to convince any The Voice contestant to want to join her team. Then, of course, there’s the fact that she has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and earned many major music awards including 10 GRAMMY’s, 13 ACM Awards, and nine CMA Awards. Plus, she’s well versed in on-screen roles as she has starred in a series of Hollywood movies such as 9 to 5, Rhinestone, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, to name a few.
However, despite all the experience and insight she holds from her wildly successful career, the country icon has revealed that she has turned down every opportunity to serve as a host or a judge on a singing competition show that has come her way.
“I get asked every season to be on,” she told Taste of Country. “I really have trouble judging people. I would have a lot of trouble telling them yes or no — especially no.”
While it might be tough to convince her to take a seat in the judging chair, Parton did reveal that she’s still open to returning to The Voice as a mentor. In 2015, she served as a mentor to The Voice semi-finalists and chances are, the contestants would welcome her back with open arms at any point.
Hitmaker Brad Paisley is already considered to be the genre’s most talented and critically acclaimed male solo artists, but he recently entered a whole new chapter of his career. On February 24, he dropped the first single off his upcoming album, Son of The Mountain, which coincides with his newly-inked deal with Universal Music Group Nashville.
Throughout the past two decades, Paisley has been inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member, racked up numerous awards and wrote 21 of his 24 No. 1 hits. With all that being said, it’s safe to assume that his resume far exceeds the qualifications to serve as a coach on The Voice.
However, for further proof, the “Mud on the Tires” singer also has previous experience mentoring rising talent. In 2015, he served as an expert on ABC’s talent competition Rising Star. Joining The Voice could be his chance to return to the coaching seat in a different setting.
Another artist who already has a bit of a history with The Voice, is the one and only, Garth Brooks. In 2016, Brooks made his debut on the singing competition show when he appeared as a Key Advisor for the Top 12 contestants. At the time, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine all served as coaches on the show.
The two-time GRAMMY winner is considered to be one of the biggest stars of his generation, with 148 million in certified album sales and countless accolades on his resume. These incredible honors have earned him a spot in Country Music Hall of Fame, the International Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and, most recently, the Musicians Hall of Fame.
Despite the fact that Brooks dubbed 2023 as “the busiest year of our career,” he’s surely full of wisdom that he’s just waiting to be shared with the future contestants.
Country superstar Tim McGraw is also familiar with the Key Advisor position on The Voice as he took on that role with his wife, Faith Hill, during the same season as Garth Brooks. For the first time, the show had dual advisors on hand to help prepare the season 11 finalists for the knockout rounds.
In addition to his time on The Voice, McGraw has had plenty of experience on set of TV shows and movies. Since his first acting stint on The Jeff Foxworthy Show in 1997, the three-time GRAMMY winner has appeared in Stepford Wives, Dixieland, the Yellowstone prequel series titled 1883, Friday Night Lights, and plenty more.
If McGraw were chosen as a coach on an upcoming season of The Voice, it’s safe to assume that he would not only let his confidence shine on camera, but his reputation of producing hit after hit would prove his ability to guide the next generation of artists.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.