Blake Shelton is just hours away from saying farewell to his legendary red chair. The season 23 finale will air tonight, May 23, on NBC, marking Shelton’s last appearance on the hit competition show.
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The “God’s Country” singer announced his retirement from The Voice in early October, after being a judge since 2011. Team Shelton has won the battle nine times, but Shelton can leave with 10 decorative titles.
Ahead of the finale, Shelton spoke with ET and declared he was confident and ready to exit the show.
“I mean, my god… it’s been 23 seasons. 12 years,” he recalled. “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.”
He 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.'”
He agreed with Levine, a former judge and one of Shelton’s biggest competitors. The Maroon 5 singer was one of the original coaches alongside Shelton on Season 1.
“He’s right; it is about time,” Shelton confessed. “This has changed my life in a lot of ways, but it’s time to let one of these new up-and-coming artists become a coach – like Reba. That’d be a good break.”
Shelton is thrilled that the country icon will fill his shoes, as it serves as a full-circle moment.
“She’s one of my heroes,” said the platinum-selling performer. “You know, Reba was one of the reasons I even moved to Nashville. She was from Oklahoma, from a small middle-of-nowhere town, and made it. So, she was my inspiration, and to always see her in that light, it’s not gonna get better to represent country music than Reba.”
Although exiting the show was a difficult decision, Shelton says he has big plans with his family that will fill his well-deserved free time.
“If I walked away from my career at this time, the only thing that I run the risk of is having regrets that I’m missing out on some more important things in life,” he previously told People. “For now, that’s our kids. This isn’t about me anymore and never will be again.
“Even though I’m a stepparent, I take that job very seriously. The kids see me as a very important person in their life. [When they ask] ‘Why isn’t Blake here?’ I take that stuff to heart. I’ve made plenty of money, but you can’t buy time back. I don’t want any regrets. The whale reason I’m even stepping away from The Voice is so I can just be there more, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Shelton’s last hurrah will air on NBC at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Fans can vote for their favorite artist on The Voice‘s official app or NBC.com/VoiceVote. Shelton currently has a leg up, as he has two singers – Grace West and NOIVAS – competing in the championship.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT