NBCUniversal(LOS ANGELES) — On Monday night, The Voice returns for a seventh season, and this time around, there’ll be two new faces in the big red chairs: Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams. The chart-topping artists, who are also longtime friends, join Voice lifers Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as coaches, and Gwen says dealing with those two goofballs on the set literally left her sore.
“Seriously, after day one…I haven’t laughed that hard in so long,” she says. “I had a face headache where everywhere was, like sore, from smiling and laughing. They were making me and Pharrell laugh so hard!” She adds, “Everybody at home, they get a sneak peek at those two, but we got the R-rated, hilarious, locker room version of what they’re getting at home. I mean, it is bad.”
“I thought I was in a boys club my whole life, like being on a tour bus with all guys,” she says, referring to her years with her band No Doubt. “But these two, they really take it to another level!”
“I don’t even feel alive unless I’m making fun of Blake. And neither one of us cares about it. It’s so much fun. It’s genuinely a blast,” laughs Adam, who pronounces season seven “the best…we’ve ever had.” He adds, “I think that Gwen and Pharrell are incredible, formidable opponents, but also just people I respect and love very much.”
Adam says he was surprised how little time it took for Gwen and Pharrell to get into the groove during the Blind Auditions. “The learning curve seemed nonexistent, almost,” he says. “They were just really astute and good at it right away, and very competitive and took a lot of people away from me that I wanted.” He says he was also gratified that Gwen, especially, got sucked into the emotion of the competition.
“I told her, ‘You’re not gonna believe how wrapped up you get in this.’ You do it, and all of a sudden you find yourself totally lost in it and you’re loving it, and it’s amazing,” Adam says. “So, it happened, like I knew it would. It was just great to watch. It was just cool after six seasons to see that kind of joy about the show and enthusiasm back again.”
As for Pharrell, he says he was pleasantly surprised at his experience on the show. “My expectation is that it would be work that I would enjoy, but I was wrong. It’s not been any work at all. It’s been fun. Really, honestly fun,” he says. He also disagrees with those who feel that The Voice is a failure because it hasn’t produced any superstars. In his mind, the coaching the contestants receive makes it all worth it.
“Essentially, at the end of the day, there are 48 contestants, and only person is gonna win,” he says. “The rest of those 47 people, like, their lives are gonna be changed because they had Blake teach them a lot about their voices and what they could do. And they had Gwen to teach them about the tone and their styling. And they had Adam to teach them about vocal control. That’s huge!”
Gwen agrees that imparting lessons she’s learned over the years is a big reason why she’s excited to be on The Voice.
“I’ve had an amazing journey so far, and so to be able to to play this role as a coach, I feel super-blessed,” she says. “It’s gonna be one of those times in my life I know that I’m gonna look back and go, ‘That was incredible.'”
The Voice debuts Monday night at 8 p.m. on NBC.
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