“I feel like you all invented that because I’m coming. And you’re all afraid.”
When Kelly Clarkson uttered that sentiment in the season 14 premiere of The Voice, making her first appearance as one of the NBC reality juggernaut’s coaches, she was talking about the show’s new Block button. But her theory that the newbie coach—traditionally the person with the most to prove and the most to learn—just might be this season’s most intimidating presence is only proof that this coaching line-up just might be the show’s most impressive and formidable yet.
Now, that’s not to say that the show’s been lacking in the past. Each coaching line-up in the past 13 seasons has had its many strengths. But there’s something about this combination of mainstays Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, along with the returning Alicia Keys and Clarkson, that has us believing season 14 just might be the show’s most competitive season yet.
By now, Shelton and Levine are old pros at this. Given their history in those iconic red chairs, they, of course, have the winningest records in The Voice history, which Shelton at a whopping six wins to Levine’s three. Each season, the pool of finalists is almost always nearly entirely comprised of Team Blake and Team Adam artists. Their dominance on this show that they’ve called home since 2011 simply can not be ignored.
But the two ladies joining them this iteration just might be able to give them a true run for their money. For starters, Keys is returning after taking the fall off as a winner. She successfully coached Chris Blue to victory in the spring of 2017, making her one of only two female coaches to ever take home a win. (The other? Christina Aguilera, who finally scored a victory with Alisan Porter in season 10.) She’s got a bit of momentum on her side, and her zen-like approach to coaching makes her a real contender.
And then there’s Clarkson. The original American Idol victor has a long history with The Voice, having appeared as a mentor for Shelton’s team way back in season two. And because her husband, Brandon Blackstock, is Shelton’s manager, she’s been around the show since it began, learning the tricks of the trade from the sidelines. So, though she may be the newbie, she hardly has the learning curve that’s plagued newcomers who’ve come before. And then there’s the Idol of it all. She is the first coach in The Voice history who has successfully won a show like this as an artist, meaning she has a wealth of knowledge to share with her team that no other coach can match. She’s right to think the others are scared of her.
One thing’s for sure: Regardless of which coach does manage to come out on top this season, it’s sure going to be fun watching them get there.
Which coach do you think has what it takes to go all the way this season? Sound off in the comments below!
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)