That didn’t take long: Just months after signing Miley Cyrus as an advisor on this season of The Voice, NBC has announced that Cyrus will join the show as a full-time coach this fall. She’ll step in for Christina Aguilera as the pop representative on the singing competition’s panel instead of Gwen Stefani, who will not return.
Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams will also depart the series after three consecutive cycles and have his position filled by R&B songstress Alicia Keys, herself a former Voice advisor.
Both changes had been leaked online earlier this week but were not made official until an NBC press release on Sunday.
That release also announced that Adam Levine and Blake Shelton have both re-upped for their 11th consecutive seasons as coaches, and naturally confirms that The Voice has been renewed for another season to begin airing in September.
NBC recruited Cyrus to come aboard as the featured “key advisor” for Season 10, with her first appearance on the show happening tonight at 8 p.m. The “key advisor” position is normally a chance for the network to utilize a popular artist – usually someone with an album coming out or other mass appeal – by using them as an additional mentor for all four teams.
Taylor Swift held the position near the release of her album 1989 and Nate Ruess had it as he was preparing for the debut of his solo album Nothing Without Love; Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Reba McEntire have also been used in the same fashion.
But now Cyrus and Keys will be the third advisors to be promoted to full-time coaches on The Voice; Williams was an advisor to Team Usher before he took over Usher’s position as coach.
“The musical expertise and energy these two incredibly talented women will bring to the show is remarkable,” said NBC’s President of Alternative and Late Night Programming Paul Telegdy in the press release. “We’re thrilled that they’ll be joining Adam and Blake in what we know will be a magical 11th season.”
That there was a change in The Voice‘s coach rotation was not necessarily a surprise. The series has survived for the last several years alternating seasons between Aguilera and Stefani, but Stefani broke that pattern this season when she agreed to return to the show as an advisor for Team Blake. NBC may have felt that having her then coach Season 11 might be too much, or she may not have wanted to commit to coaching this fall as she also has a new album, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, to promote.
It’s more surprising to see Williams step aside, since he had previously taken the step of being willing to coach for consecutive seasons. It was never known if Usher would have been willing to enter a similar rotation with the “Happy” singer, but Williams appeared to be set to stick around for a while – instead he’ll cede his seat to Keys and create the first evenly gender-divided panel in The Voice‘s history.
How will these hiring changes go over? We’ll have to wait until this fall to find out if fans respond to Cyrus and Keys, but since the announcement has been made with half of Season 10 to go, expect NBC to take full advantage of The Voice‘s live playoffs in late April and through May to promote their newest coaches as much as possible.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.