It sounds like it’s not going to be an easy ride for Blake Shelton on Season 14 of The Voice. The country star opened up about the upcoming season, set to debut on NBC on February 26, where he admitted that he’s pretty much at war with returning coach Alicia Keys and newbie Kelly Clarkson.
Shelton spoke out about how the two ladies certainly haven’t been shying away from the competition during the preliminary rounds the coaches have already filmed, and he teased that Clarkson, in particular, has been ready to fight and hasn’t been afraid to cut him down.
“She is not fun to be in competition with, I can tell you that,” Shelton said of his war of words with Clarkson in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada, per a report by Taste of Country.
He then admitted that the fact that he’s been close friends with Kelly – who’s actually married to his manager, Brandon Blackstock – for around a decade actually only makes things worse now that they’re rivals on the show.
“It doesn’t make it easier to be Kelly’s friend going into this thing in a competitive nature. She’ll definitely go for the throat,” he said of his rivalry with the former American Idol winner.
He also joked about going head to head with Alicia on the latest season of The Voice, confessing that she too has been getting competitive after returning to her red spinning chair after sitting out Season 13 to make way for Jennifer Hudson.
“I like to refer to Alicia as silent but deadly,” Blake said of the “No One” singer bringing her A-game as she goes up against him, Kelly, and fellow coach Adam Levine on The Voice this year. “You don’t realize that because she’s kind of soft-spoken.”
“She’s an artist whisperer, that’s what she is,” Blake then continued, suggesting that Keys had a lot of acts willing to join her team during the blind audition rounds, which were filmed last year. “Before you realize it she has said something that could possibly have changed this person’s life.”
Both of The Voice’s female coaches have spoken out about getting competitive with Blake ahead of the upcoming premiere.
Alicia joked in January that she decided to return to the series because she has to put Shelton “in his place” after Blake won the most recent season with Chloe Kohanski, admitting that he becomes like a “secret villain” when he gets competitive.
“I really like Blake a lot and we get along so well, and he was just so crushed that I beat him so thoroughly when I did,” Keys joked to Entertainment Tonight last month of getting competitive with her fellow musician on new episodes of The Voice. “I hope to be able to experience that again.”
Kelly has also made no secret of the fact that she didn’t hold back when it came to battling Shelton on the show when the country star and their fellow coaches auditioned talent together.
Their banter was put on full display in a recently revealed promo for the next round of shows last week, in which Clarkson poked a little fun at Shelton’s accent and playfully roasted him while attempting to lure a country act away from him and get him to join her team instead.
She’s also admitted that she had to “freaking fight” Blake during the blind audition rounds. Kelly said that the hardest part of building her squad was getting country acts away from Shelton and onto her team.
The Voice Season 14 will debut on NBC with a two-hour premiere episode on February 26.