'The Voice' Undergoes Major Competition Changes for Season 23

NBC has confirmed there will be major changes to the competition for the 23rd season of The Voice.

The singing contest returned to screens on Monday, March 6, with Kelly Clarkson returning to join long-time coach Blake Shelton on the panel.

Two new coaches, One Direction's Niall Horan and musician Chance the Rapper, have also joined The Voice for its latest season.

The Voice Season 23
Pictured (left to right) are coaches Chance the Rapper, Niall Horan, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. NBC has confirmed major competition changes for the 23rd season of "The Voice." Evans Vestal Ward/NBC

Amongst the exciting switches on the judging line-up, there has also been another major announcement made: Reba McEntire will serve as the Mega Mentor throughout the season, it has been confirmed.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about McEntire's new role on The Voice.

Reba McEntire on 'The Voice' Season 23

As Mega Mentor, McEntire, 67, will help the coaches with the artists that make it through to the "Knockout" rounds, which begin on April 17.

Previous stars to hold the Mega Mentor title include Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift and James Taylor.

This isn't McEntire's first appearance on The Voice. She featured as a Battle Advisor to Team Blake during the show's very first season in 2011.

Her link to Shelton makes her return extra meaningful. The country singer, the only The Voice coach to star in every season, confirmed in 2022 that Season 23 will be his last.

McEntire will no doubt have a wealth of expertise to share with this year's The Voice contestants as she has enjoyed an impressive career in film and TV, and on the stage.

The "Can't Even Get the Blues" singer has sold more than 58 million albums worldwide, so we're sure the singing hopefuls will be eager to hit her up for advice.

Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire, pictured at the 56th Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 9, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The singer has been confirmed as the Mega Mentor for the 23rd season of "The Voice." Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Other Changes on 'The Voice'

McEntire's addition to the show isn't the only change The Voice has undergone for Season 23.

NBC has confirmed new formats for the Battles, the Knockouts and the Playoffs stages of the competition.

During the Battles, starting March 27, a new "Playoff Pass" will allow both artists in a battle to advance. The "Playoff Pass" winner will gain a major advantage as they get to skip the Knockouts and automatically advance to the Playoffs.

Each coach has one "Playoff Pass" and one "Steal" during the Battles. This means seven artists per team will advance; six who will compete in the Knockouts, and one "Playoff Pass" artist.

Then, during the Knockouts, artists will be paired against each other. They select their own songs to perform individually, while their direct competitors watch and wait.

Coaches will choose the winner, and the artist not selected is available for a "steal." The pressure is on as, this season, each coach has only one "steal" during this round.

Next will come the Playoffs, starting May 1. These will see the 20 artists remaining at that stage in the competition battle it out, with the coaches being able to advance only two artists each to the live semi-finals.

The Voice 2023 coaches
"The Voice" 2023 coaches Niall Horan, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and Chance the Rapper. NBC has confirmed new formats for various different stages of the competition. Art Streiber/NBC

Blake Shelton's Last Season on 'The Voice'

Shelton met his wife Gwen Stefani when they both starred as coaches on The Voice. He announced his departure from the show on his Instagram story on October 11, 2022, confirming Season 23 would be his last.

Shelton wrote: "I've been wrestling with this for a while and I've decided that it's time for me to step away from The Voice after next season. The show has changed my life in every way for the better and it will always feel like home to me."

Following Shelton's shock news, Newsweek spoke with several former members of Team Blake about the lineup change. More than one described it as "the end of an era."

Craig Wayne Boyd, who won The Voice Season 7 under Shelton's guidance, told Newsweek: "I am forever grateful for the opportunity Blake gave me to learn and enhance my career. His dedication to the artist coming up has shown through, and I am sure will continue in whatever comes next for him.

"I just hope that now he has some time to get me out hunting with him!"

Blake Shelton on The Voice
Blake Shelton, pictured, is the longest-running coach on "The Voice." He has confirmed that he will be leaving the singing competition after the current season. Tyler Golden/NBC

Todd Tilghman, The Voice Season 18 winner, told Newsweek: "I love Blake. His departure from the show is certainly the end of an era, and I'm grateful I became part of The Voice family while he was there."

Despite this season of The Voice being Shelton's last, his co-star Clarkson, who has returned to the show after a season-long break, has revealed she won't be letting him win just because he is leaving.

"I actually have been talking to Blake a bit about this being his last season. And I'm like, 'It's not gonna hit you until afterwards. It's gonna hit you. It's been a part of your life for so long. And it's gonna hit you after,'" the "Since U Been Gone" singer added to NBC Insider.

"I think he knows that, but I also think he knows that it's time. He's been doing it a long time, and I think it's a really cool way that we all know he's leaving... I mean, I can't stand him, but I also love him," Clarkson jokingly added.

Season 23 of The Voice continues Tuesday, March 7, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, or 7 p.m. Central Time, on NBC. Episodes will be available to stream the next day on Peacock.