The decision by Adam Levine to leave his long-standing post on The Voice came as a surprise to many fans, but insiders close to the singer say he was preparing to step back from the hit singing competition.
Levine, 40, was not a fan of some of the updates made for season 16 to The Voice, notably the Live Cross Battles that debuted in April, according to the source. Two coaches go head to head in this new round in a “live schoolyard pick” by selecting each one of their team’s artists to go up against the artist of another team. An individual song is performed by each artist and their fate is decided by a vote of the viewer.
Levine said the round made the show feel like “the wild west out there now” in a preview of the Live Cross Battles— and that wasn’t a good thing. His team made a big hit, leaving only four contestants to the musician. The whole team of Levine had been eliminated by the time the show arrived at the Top 8.
“He didn’t really like some of the changes to last season’s show format, and it’s just time for him to leave,” continues the source. “But if he came back to visit the show, it wouldn’t be surprising. There’s new music coming for him soon, he’s going to tour and he’s planning to continue playing. He’s kept busy.
Levine’s chair won’t be empty for long: this fall, the network announced Friday, three-time coach Gwen Stefani will return to the show.
“Adam has always had one of the toughest schedules of the coaches. He’s been ready to move on and also have more time with his family,”says a show insider about Levine, who is dad with his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, to two toddler daughters. “It’s bittersweet for everyone, but Adam is so excited that Gwen is going to take his chair. She’s beloved by everyone at the show and at NBC.”
Levine himself opened in a long note posted to Instagram on Friday, hours after the news broke first, about his decision to leave The Voice.
The singer posted a 2012 cover for Rolling Stone featuring Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, and Blake Shelton as coaches at the time. The foursome were the first three seasons ‘ original coach panel.
Levine remembered in the caption how he landed the gig for the first time, which lasted for eight years and 16 seasons.
“About 8 years ago, Mark Burnett convinced us to sign up for this show where you sit in a big red chair with your back turned away from the singers on the stage. First thank you must go to Mark. ❤️ We had no idea what we were doing or where it was going,” he began the message. “After the first day of shooting, I sat there, stunned. I said to myself “there’s some magic here. Something is definitely happening.” It went on to be a life shaping experience that will be close to my heart forever.”
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About 8 years ago, Mark Burnett convinced us to sign up for this show where you sit in a big red chair with your back turned away from the singers on the stage. First thank you must go to Mark. ❤️ We had no idea what we were doing or where it was going. After the first day of shooting, I sat there, stunned. I said to myself “theres some magic here. Something is definitely happening.” It went on to be a life shaping experience that will be close to my heart forever. Thank you NBC for signing me up. I am truly honored to have been a part of something I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you to every single coach I ever sat in those chairs with. That is shared experience that is singularly ours. We have that for life. Thank you to everyone who supported this long strange and amazing left turn into a place I never thought I’d go. Thank you Carson Daly for babysitting the musicians and making sure our shoes were tied and we had our lunch boxes. You are the backbone of this thing and we appreciate you more than you know. Audrey, thank you for being perhaps the most patient person in all the free world. 4 musicians all at once is a lot. Sainthood is imminent. Thank you to Paul Mirkovich and the band for their ridiculously hard work and learning more songs than maybe any band ever. 😂 Thank you to the people behind the scenes who do the real work and make this machine hum. To the amazingly talented vocalists who competed on the show and blew my mind on a daily basis. And, BLAKE FUCKIN’ SHELTON. I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried. Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, Im just happy I got to experience it with you. You’re my brother for life. Kelly and John, take care of the cowboy and I’m sure I’ll be back to say hi very very soon. So much love to you both. And lastly, to all of the loyal voice fans, there’s literally no show without you guys. For me, it was time to move on. Your support has meant EVERYTHING. And Lastly, I’d like to thank my manager Jordan for convincing me to take that meeting. 😊 What an amazing ride. Thank you all so much. ❤️ Adam
He then thanked numerous cast and crew members, including host Carson Daly (for “ensuring that our shoes were tied and we had our lunch boxes”), music director Paul Mirkovich, and, of course, former and current coaches.
But for his BFF Shelton, or, as he puts it, “BLAKE F — ING SHELTON,” he reserved a special, more colorful shout-out.
I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried,” he addressed the 42-year-old country star. “Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books. Whatever this whole surreal experience was, I’m just happy I got to experience it with you. You’re my brother for life.”