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'The Voice': Gwen Stefani rumored to replace Christina Aguilera

A new female judge may be heading to the chair in the next season of the popular reality television music show "The Voice," which has seen a shuffling of judges since its third season. On April 22 People.com reported that musician Gwen Stefani is rumored to replace singer Christina Aguilera as a judge in the upcoming seventh season. The sixth season of the show began airing on NBC earlier this month.

Gwen Stefani
Photo by Christopher Polk

Aguilera was one of the original judges on the show, along with country singer Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Aguilera left after season three but returned for the fifth season and was expected to return but recently announced her second pregnancy. Stefani, who gave birth to her third child earlier this year, is the frontrunner to replace her.

Last time Aguilera was out, Shakira stepped in to join the judging panel but her name has not been mentioned as a returning judge. Wetpaint Entertainment announced earlier this month that Pharrell Williams will replace Cee Lo Green as a judge in season seven. The music producer and singer has never judged on the series before but he has made guest appearances as an artist.

The deal has not been made yet, but the other judges on the show seem interested in having her join. Adam Levine told reporters at the season six kickoff event that he is "really excited" about the rumors and he "is a huge fan" of Stefani's music in the band No Doubt and her own solo records.

Host and producer Carson Daly mentioned that scheduling is always an issue when signing the judges, since most of them have tour schedules to manage or are making new music themselves. Filming the show takes up a lot of time out of the year when the judges could be Stefani already knows some of the other coaches on the show too.

Stefani has yet to meet Blake Shelton, who revealed that he "look forward to beating anybody on this show" and although they don't know each other he is familiar with her music. Stefani also has strong opinions which would benefit the contestants on the show. As an artist she has sold over thirty million albums worldwide.

"The Voice" is a live music competition series in which musicians over the age of fifteen audition for the judges while they have their chairs turned around and can't see the contestant. Once the judges pick the contestant, the chair turns around and the contestant is allowed to pick which coach they want if there is more than one. The contestants then compete in battle rounds and the winner of the series gets a record contact.