Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton: Usher is a 'thorn in my side' on 'The Voice'

March 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM ET

Mark Seliger / NBC /
Blake Shelton and new "Voice" coach Usher.

Blake Shelton says he’s not going to BS  – “The Voice” is going to be different when it comes back Monday night.

Gone are fellow coaches Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera. Their revolving red thrones will now be occupied by one-name wonders Shakira and Usher.

“It’s different with different personalities and a different chemistry,” Shelton shared at NBC's party at the TV Critic's winter press tour.

For one thing, he and fellow returning coach Adam Levine will be competing with smooth operator Usher and international superstar Shakira for the best competitors on the “The Voice.”

Right away, he knew Usher would be a fierce competitor.

“This is the guy who found Justin Bieber,” Shelton said. “That's what we are trying to do on this show, and he’s already done it.”

The country superstar knew a lot about Usher, but less about Shakira before the show started.

“The most intimidating thing came later. I had heard of Shakira, but one day I Googled her and Wikipediaed her,” Shelton said. “And I saw where she had sold over a 100 million records and I was like, ‘What the (expletive)?!’ ”

He said that’s when he and Levine looked at each other and said, “Hey, we’ve been worrying about the wrong person.”

The pre-voting shows have already been recorded, and although Shelton has won the last two battles with his team representative, he said he often gets shut down when he and other judges turn for the same contestant – and have to woo the singer to their respective teams.

“The thorn in my side many times was Usher,” Shelton said. “Adam always takes artists away from me and I’m used to that. But when Usher would turn around, especially if it was a girl, they would just melt when they saw that guy. So yeah, he was a problem.”

Not that it was so easy with Shakira, though.

“This is a girl who knows how to affect an audience, and she does it worldwide, ” Shelton said. “I’m excited when I leave Oklahoma and somebody knows who I am.”

But does he engage in a little nose rubbing when it comes to his past wins?

“I don’t mention it unless I’m around Adam, knowing how competitive he is and what a baby he can be,” Shelton said with an impish grin.

For fans eager to watch how well the new judges mesh with the vets, there will be a spectacular joint performance.

“I’m not going to say which song because somebody will be bitching at me,” Shelton said. “I will say the only thing that compares to it was the first season when we did Cee Lo’s ‘Crazy.’ I felt we were truly a band.”

"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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