NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 8, 2013 - Reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton returns to our TV screens on March 25 when The Voice kicks off its fourth installment. While he and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine remain on the show, viewers at home will be most interested to see how the new panel shakes out, which includes Shakira and Usher replacing previous mentors Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. Shelton assures fans that the new season will be quite different than ever before.
"I feel like I've got a target on my back no matter what I do," he tells The Boot. "The dynamic of the show is different. I didn't realize until Cee Lo and Christina took some time off, that the show is really centered around the four of us. I guess in my mind it's always just been the machine, the overall idea of the show, the concept, and when Cee Lo and Christina were gone, it was like I was learning how to do it all over again and the producers were learning how to react all over again."
Shelton also notes that adding new mentors has forced him and Levine to rethink their strategy going into the new season."It was just two different personalities and we didn't realize how much the show became about those personalities," he explains at length. "Adam and I have always kind of lollygagged through this thing and not taken it too seriously, just having fun with it. I'll tell you what, we got in those blind auditions and Shakira and Usher -- it wasn't play time! They were very serious, they were determined to win this thing. And Adam and I were like, 'Damn! Alright, I see how it is now.' And they've been paying attention. I guessed they'd come rolling in like we know Cee Lo does or Christina, with gimmicks and all these things that are fun about them, and they came in with one mission, and that's to win the thing. I wouldn't be surprised if one of them does. They're putting a lot of time and effort to it."
While Shelton is the reinging two-time champ on the show, he's not so sure he can keep the crown for a third time, noting that people might be sick of him by now."That was one of the things that was mentioned by Shakira and Usher during the blind audition," he says. "We'd all be fighting over one particular artist where it would be like, 'Well, you could go with Blake but you know that he'll never win three times in a row, people are tired of him!' Then I start going, 'Man, I bet people are tired of me. I probably won't win this thing three years in a row.' It starts working into your own mind. They're smart, those two; I've got to hand it to them. I mean, they're losers, but they're smart."
In addition to the new season of NBC's hit TV show, Shelton is preparing to release his seventh studio album, Based on a True Story..., out March 26, as well as co-hosting the upcoming 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards with fellow crooner Luke Bryan.