Blake Shelton recently announced that after 23 seasons, he will be stepping down from his role as a coach on NBC’s The Voice. It has not yet been revealed who will replace the longest-running coach, but country icon Neal McCoy has someone in mind.
McCoy took to Facebook to share a rumor he recently heard in regard to this upcoming shift on The Voice.
“News Alert: Rumor has it that Blake Shelton has reached out to Neal McCoy about filling the empty Judge’s chair on the Voice when he steps down!!!” he wrote in the post.
McCoy then added a disclaimer and joked that “So far it is only a rumor,,,,,,(started by me)”
The news of Shelton stepping down from the show came just hours after the Season 23 coaches were revealed. The country singer will be joined by Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan and Chance The Rapper on the 2023 season.
Shelton took to social media on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11) to share a statement with fans, many of whom were disappointed by the news.
“I’ve been wrestling with this for a while and I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step away from The Voice after next season,” Shelton began.
“This show has changed my life in every way for the better and it will always feel like home to me,” he continued. “It’s been a hell of a ride over these 12 years of chair turns and I want to thank everyone at The Voice from NBC, every producer, the writers, musicians, crew and catering people, you are the best. It takes a lot of work, passion, and adult beverages (Ha!) to pull off a live show twice a week.”
The “No Body” singer also shared gratitude for “lifelong bonds” he has made since joining the show, including with his wife, Gwen Stefani and each of the coaches that have come and gone during that time. He also gave a shoutout to Carson [Daly] and all the contestants he has gotten to meet in the process.
He concluded his statement by saying, “Lastly, it’s about y’all, the fans, who watch and support these artists, us coaches and everyone at The Voice who are chasing their dreams.”
Although McCoy was joking in his recent post, his successful career proves that he is as qualified as anyone else to fill that coaching seat.
Since breaking into the industry in 1993 with his back-to-back number 1 singles “No Doubt About It” and “Wink,” McCoy has compiled a total of fifteen studio albums and 34 singles on country radio. In the late 1990s, he received two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits.
“Wink” is a featured track on his platinum-certified album No Doubt About It, which has gone on to inspire numerous artists that follow him, including George Birge.
In fact, Birge’s latest release titled “That Drink” was inspired by and features McCoy. For this song, Birge compiled his love and influence from ‘90s country music to rewrite McCoy’s 1994 chart-topper, “Wink.” After McCoy got wind of the demo, he reached out to Birge, sharing only support and admiration for his work. Before he knew it, they were in the studio recording the track together and Birge was crossing a major goal off his bucket list.
“Somebody had sent him a link to that preview of the song that I had done and he was like, ‘I’m gonna drive to Nashville and sing on it with you. I love it and I wanna be a part of it.’ It just blew my mind,” Birge previously told Country Now.
This single will be featured on Birge’s upcoming album that will follow his self-titled EP. This previous collection features his popular single, “Mind On You,” which is set to impact country radio on Oct. 17.
Neal McCoy’s next performance is scheduled for tonight (Oct. 14) in Boerne, TX.