Blake Shelton Receives Star-Studded Send-Off After 23 Seasons on ‘The Voice’

“He has pushed his button nearly 600 times, coached over 300 artists, worn 210 pairs of boots, and drunk 100 gallons of whatever is in his cup,” said The Voice host Carson Daly, honoring coach Blake Shelton on the season 23 finale of The Voice on Tuesday (May 23). Before crowning the newest winner of The Voice, Gina Miles, the two-hour finale also served as the proper send-off for Shelton, who has retired after 23 seasons and 12 years on the show.

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Though Shelton’s team, with final Top 5 contestants Grace West and NOIVAS, lost out in the end to Niall Horan, he was the winner of the night with a series of tributes.

Throughout the episode, Shelton performed Michael Bublé’s “Home” with Team Blake contestant NOIVAS, along with his 2014 song “Lonely Tonight” as a duet with his other Top 5 finalist Grace West.

Former coach Adam Levine, who left The Voice in 2019, kicked off the show by introducing Shelton before performing his new single, “Middle Ground, with Maroon 5. After their performance, Shelton rushed to the stage to hug his former co-coach. “I can’t imagine tonight without Adam being back for Blake’s final show,” said Daly. “It’s special to have Adam here.”

Along with Levine, former Voice coaches Camila Cabello, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Pharrell Williams, CeeLo Green, Nick Jonas, John Legend, and Miley Cyrus also shared pre-recorded tributes to Shelton.

Shelton’s wife and former coach, Gwen Stefani, shared a special message for her husband. “’The Voice’ is the reason I met Blake Shelton,” said Stefani, “and my life completely changed after that.”

Stefani also revealed that she had his original, red Voice chair shipped to their home in Oklahoma. Shelton responded by saying meeting Stefani on The Voice was “the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

Daly continued commemorating Shelton by retiring his jean jacket, which is displayed on the wall of the Universal Studios soundstage and is embroidered with Shelton’s nine winning seasons.

Towards the end of the broadcast, a highlight reel played on the big screen with footage from Shelton’s 12 years on the show before former contestants, who he coached, walked out to sing Green Day‘s 1997 hit “Good Riddance” to him. At the end of their performance, his former team members spoke the words “I choose Blake,” and “Blake,” reminding Shelton of the coach they originally picked during their audition.

Visibly overwhelmed, Shelton jumped to the stage and hugged nearly every singer, before Daly surprised him with another special pre-recorded message from the country singer’s hero George Strait, who wished him the best and said he hoped to see him on the road again soon.

“That right there is the king of country,” said Shelton after watching the video and continuing to hug the former contestants on the stage.

In a recent interview, Shelton said he wanted to focus more on family after leaving The Voice. 

“I mean, my God, it’s been 23 seasons, 12 years,” said Shelton prior to the May 23 finale. “My friends, I’ve seen their kids literally grow up. It’s unbelievable. All the life that’s happened. I met my wife here, you know. Everything good that could come from something like that, I’ve maxed it out.”

Shelton continued, “I’m excited. I’m in a good place about this. I don’t have any regrets about it. I’m definitely going to miss it at times, but it’s time. I mean, my gosh, I saw a little blurb where somebody caught Adam Levine going into a party, and they said, ‘What do you think about Blake leaving?’ and he turned around and said, ‘It’s about time.’”

Prior to his final episode, Shelton shared a post on Twitter honoring his time on The Voice.

“Can’t believe it’s been 23 seasons of [‘The Voice’] and especially can’t believe today is my final episode,” wrote Shelton. “It’s bittersweet. When we signed up for season 1, I don’t think any of us knew what this was going to be. These past 12 years I have made lifelong friends and memories. I’ve had the great opportunity to coach some really talented artists, nine who have taken home [Team Blake] wins … and watch these artists grow so much from the show.”

He added, “Thank you to everyone, the crew, the coaches, the contestants, the fans, and my wife who have made these some really great years. Love y’all.”

Photo: Trae Patton / NBC

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