As The Voice prepares to spin those red chairs right into a new cycle, there’s an especially big question looming over Season 23: Who will take Blake Shelton’s seat when it’s over?
Shelton announced last October that he’d be leaving NBC’s long-running competition series after Season 23 (premiering Monday, March 6), after serving as a coach since the show’s 2011 debut. For his final season, he’ll be joined at the big red buttons by Kelly Clarkson (also a veteran of the show) and Voice newcomers Niall Horan and Chance the Rapper. But beyond that? It’s anyone’s guess who will fill that end seat when the show ushers in Season 24.
For his part, Shelton has already suggested country singer Neal McCoy as his successor — McCoy was uninterested! — and we can confidently assume it will be a country singer who takes Shelton’s place, whoever it is. Though other Voice coaches, like Clarkson and Miley Cyrus, have dabbled in the country genre, Shelton has been the show’s only full-blown country coach since Season 1, and he’s boasted the winning contestant in nine out of 22 seasons.
So, who should it be? Might The Voice replace Shelton with one of the many country artists to serve as his advisor over the years, like Brad Paisley or Keith Urban? Will a female country superstar, like Carrie Underwood or Kelsea Ballerini, succeed him? Or could the show throw us a complete curveball and sidestep the country genre entirely, leaving The Voice‘s cowboy hat-wearing contestants to their own devices?
Hit the comments with your dream pick(s) for Shelton’s Voice replacement, and we’ll round up some of your ideas in a gallery later this month!