The good news: Blake Shelton has started filming the seventh season of The Voice. The bad news? He's says it won't be the same without a couple of his fellow judges from last season.
"Gosh dang it, man. I'm gonna miss the hell out of Usher and Shakira," Shelton told a handful of reporters in Nashville recently. "I know Shakira's not coming back. She's a great person and a great lifelong friend I made there. Usher, too."
Shelton admits he really doesn't know what this season holds because he really doesn't know the new judges -- singer-songwriters Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams -- at all.
"As far as Gwen and Pharrell -- I always want to call him 'For Real' -- I've met them, but I can honestly say that outside of a handshake and a 'What's up,' I don't know these people that well," Shelton said.
So will that unfamiliarity breed some quality contempt? It sounds like Shelton thinks so.
"You're not gonna see Adam (Levine) or I be polite about it," he explained. "Because we have a job to do there, and the gloves come off, mostly in the blind auditions. If we hear an artist up there we think could win this thing, there's no telling what we're gonna say or do. And hopefully, they've studied up enough on the show and know that's what's gonna happen, and they'll come in swinging, too."
Shelton and Levine are the only two judges who have stayed put since they first sat down in those big red chairs in 2011. And Shelton sounds as committed as ever to maintaining that consistency on the show.
"I'm not ever gonna be somebody who does a season of The Voice and then takes one off and then comes back again," Shelton said. "I love working there. I wanna always do it. There's nowhere to go in television that wouldn't be a step down. It is absolutely the perfect job for somebody like me."