Usher and Shakira – Coaches for Spring Season of The Voice

On the heels of American Idol finalizing its judging panel, rival show The Voice has also announced a change-up for its own celeb panel.

The NBC reality hit hired R&B singer Usher and Latin singer Shakira as coaches for the upcoming spring season. The duo will replace Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera.

But unlike Idol, the departing judges are said to be returning for the fall season. So why the shake-up?  Executive producer Mark Burnett explains that it is to accommodate the artists’ other commitments and projects: “Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour,” said Burnett. “Whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life. This is exactly why, after three seasons, we needed to allow them to rotate out so they can get on the road amongst their fans. Meanwhile, we’re incredibly excited to have singular artists like Usher and Shakira joining the fold.”

During her break from the show, Aguilera will be promoting her new album and going on tour, while CeeLo will be working on new music as well as a scripted comedy series for NBC based on his life.

Both artists have given statements about their decision to take season four off. “Being a coach on The Voice is a wonderful experience and the relationship amongst us all is like an extended family,” Aguilera said. “I am so proud of being part of the show from the beginning, all the work we’ve done, and proud of what the show stands for as a whole. As I have expressed since day one of the show, that I am a singer and performer first and I am so excited to get back to that love. Since this year NBC and The Voice have decided to tape back-to-back seasons, requiring a full-year commitment, it is important for me to take season four off, allowing me to support my music that my fans have been waiting for — with the release of my new album Lotus on November 13. By pursuing my first passion of music during the break, I am also able to come back and offer even more to my team on The Voice in the future.”

“First, thank you NBC for supporting my decision to take this season four hiatus!” Green said. “It says that I’m seen and respected as a complete artist and not just a cast member. I’m highly enthusiastic about focusing my undivided attention on my additional endeavors and interests like my upcoming solo album, new Goodie Mob album, Las Vegas residency Loberace, new memoir, and new NBC comedy. It’s great to also give a host of other talent the chance to experience what a joy it is to be part of what is truly the best show of them all, The Voice! I will return for season five and will be watching season four. NBC is home and as far as Usher and Shakira are concerned – ‘mi casa su casa’.”