Reba McEntire will join “The Voice” as a mega mentor for Season 23, Variety has learned.
McEntire joins the A-list lineup of coaches Chance the Rapper, Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan and Blake Shelton for the new season that premieres March 6 on NBC.
Season 23 is Shelton’s final season. He has been part of the musical competition show from the very beginning, as the only coach who has remained for the entirety of the show’s run.
Having McEntire on board brings another country superstar into the show’s mix. It also marks McEntire’s return to “The Voice,” as she served as a Battle Advisor to Team Blake during the show’s inaugural season in 2011. Now, having her back on the series as Shelton coaches his final group of artists and bids farewell to the competition is a fitting full circle reunion.
As the season’s “mega mentor,” McEntire will work with the contestants that have made it through the Battle Rounds to help them prepare for the Knockouts that begin April 17.
Season 23 will introduce some format changes, raising the stakes of the competition.
The Battles, which start March 27, will feature a new “Playoff Pass” that allows both artists in a battle to advance with the “Playoff Pass” winner skipping the Knockout Rounds and automatically advancing to Playoffs, taking them one step closer to the live shows. Each coach will have one “Playoff Pass” and one “Steal” during this round. During the Knockouts, which begin on April 17, artists will be paired against each other, selecting 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.” Finally, the Playoffs are back, starting May 1, when the 20 remaining contestants compete and each coach can only advance two artists to the live semi-finals. Then, the live shows will kick off on May 15.
One of the biggest country stars in music history, McEntire is a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee with 35 No. 1 singles and more than 58 million albums sold worldwide. Her career spans across music, television, film and theater, having performed in the lead role on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun” and starring in her sitcom “Reba” for 10 seasons. She has 16 ACM Awards, 15 American Music Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards, six CMA Awards, three Grammy Awards and is a 2018 Kennedy Center Honors recipient.
While Season 23 served as Shelton’s final, it is the first for new coaches Horan and Chance the Rapper. Clarkson — who is McEntire’s former daughter-in-law, and has collaborated with the country superstar — will make her return this upcoming season, following a one-season hiatus.