Reba McEntire has been keeping a pretty big secret from the world, but on Monday (May 15), the news finally came to light when NBC announced that the country music icon will be replacing Blake Shelton on from The Voice.
While speaking with Entertainment Tonight‘s Cassie DiLaura at The Voice’s live semifinals on Monday night, McEntire revealed that staying tight-lipped about this exciting news was “killing” her.
“I am not a liar; I do not fib. I taught my kids that from an early age and my momma would’ve slapped me upside the head for lying to you,” she joked.
As it turns out, even Shelton didn’t know that the country music icon would be taking over his chair in Season 24.
“Well, he kept asking me if I was going to do it,” she recalled. “I couldn’t tell him that I was going to do it — because they say he can’t keep a secret.”
McEntire may be joining as the newest team member on The Voice, but she is no stranger to the show. She was originally supposed to be cast in the inaugural season of the Emmy Award-winning musical competition series, but ended up turning down the opportunity before it first debuted in 2011.
“The first time I ever heard of The Voice, I saw the tape from Holland’s [version of the show],” she told the outlet. “They asked me to do it, and I turned it down.”
While she didn’t serve as a coach at the time, the “Does He Love You” singer briefly served as Shelton’s battle round advisor. Most recently, she appeared on the latest season of the show, when she served as a Mega Mentor.
“But I think timing is everything,” McEntire added. “It all worked out for it to work now. I think I’ll be a better mentor to help the kids out more.”
“I call them kids because they’re all younger than me,” she continued with a laugh. “But I will be really excited to get it started.”
Now that she has finally come around to the idea of serving as a coach on The Voice, the Country Music Hall of Famer is expected to make a great impact on the show and all the rising contestants she will encounter along the way.
“There’s a new Coach in town! See you all this Fall! #TheVoice,” McEntire wrote in the announcement on Instagram.
Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan and John Legend will also return to their big red coaches chairs on NBC’s The Voice. This will mark Stefani’s seventh season on the singing competition show while Horan prepares for his second run as a coach and Legend will make his return after a brief hiatus to welcome his new baby.
Shelton has appeared on The Voice for 23 Seasons and holds the titles of the longest and winningest coach in the history of the show with nine wins. In October of 2022, the singer announced that he would be stepping down from the show after serving the longest run for 23 seasons.
“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 began in his statement.
“This show has changed my life in every way for the better and it will always feel like home to me,” he continued. “It’s been a hell of a ride over these 12 years of chair turns and I want to thank everyone at The Voice from NBC, every producer, the writers, musicians, crew and catering people, you are the best. It takes a lot of work, passion, and adult beverages (Ha!) to pull off a live show twice a week.”
Before it was revealed that McEntire would be stepping up to fill his spot, McEntire admitted to ET’s Online Country that it would be incredibly difficult to replace Shelton after the standards he has set for his fellow coaches.
“Who could fill Blake’s shoes?” she questioned, before adding, “To fill Blake’s chair? Wow. That’s gonna be tough. He did a great job, and kudos to him.”
The Voice season 23 finale airs Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23 at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.
Season 24 is set to premiere this fall and will air on Mondays (8/7c) and Tuesdays (9/8c). The show will also stream the next day on Peacock.