Blake Shelton will have to pick a different coach to banter with on this season of The Voice, because his superstar girlfriend's schedule is too busy for her to return for season 18. It was first announced in Oct. 2019 that Gwen Stefani was leaving The Voice (again), after returning to the NBC reality series for season 17. But there's no drama behind her decision: she simply has another commitment in Las Vegas that needs her full attention.
Stefani is spending her spring wrapping up her Just a Girl residency in Vegas. Her final performance is scheduled for late May, which means she'll be performing while Shelton and the rest of this season's coaches are wooing singers into joining their teams. In a Sep. 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, the "Hollaback Girl" singer shared that she loved having the opportunity to squeeze in one season of The Voice while also fulfilling her dream of having her own residency. "I didn't expect to be doing [the Vegas show] and The Voice at the same time," she told the outlet. "I just feel like I'm alive in a way I've never been before, because I have to be! Because doing both is a lot."
Taking a season off from the show to focus on Just a Girl and her family (Stefani is also a mother of three) will take some of the pressure off of her schedule, and it also allows The Voice to continue the tradition of rotating the celebrities who sit in those iconic red chairs. Season 18 includes returning coaches Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, and John Legend, and they'll be joined by Nick Jonas, who is a first time coach on the reality series (and one of the youngest coaches to date).
For his part, Jonas is coming in hot. The boy band favorite is experiencing some serious career highs at the moment thanks to the Jonas Brothers' hit album Happiness Begins and his burgeoning movie career. He seems prepared to make an equally big splash on The Voice. In a new interview with Newsweek, the show's executive producer Audrey Morrissey shared that Jonas is proving to be serious competition for the more seasoned coaches. "There's a ton of competition this season because Nick's very competitive," she said. Jonas is playing to win, but so are his fellow coaches, which should make for an exciting season as they try to snatch up the best up-and-coming singer in hopes of being crowned the season 18 champion.
As for Stefani, the door for her to return appears to always be open. After all, she previously served as a coach during seasons 7, 9, and 12, and as a mentor in seasons 8 and 10 before her season 17 comeback. Whenever she feels like getting her banter on and snatching singers from her boyfriend's grasp once more, there will no doubt be a red chair with her name on it at The Voice. In the meantime, Jonas will be keeping her seat warm when season 18 premieres this Monday, Feb. 23 on NBC.