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The Voice: Blake Shelton says Usher is now his biggest competition

blake shelton

Jason Kempin/GETTY IMAGES Blake Shelton, left, with The Voice host Carson Daly, centre, and fellow judge Adam Levine at the Winter TCA Tour on Jan. 6, 2013.

PASADENA, CALIF—Blake Shelton has a new nemesis on NBC’s popular musical talent show The Voice.

It’s Justin Bieber’s mentor, also known as Usher.

Hip-hop star Usher and Colombian pop star Shakira have replaced Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, who are taking a break from the show to pursue other projects, on the judging panel, and will join Shelton and Adam Levine in the upcoming season of the show, starting March 25.

The new additions have increased the level of competitiveness, said Shelton in an interview with the Star at the Television Critics Association press tour in California.

“The thorn in my side was Usher. Adam always takes artists away from me and I’m used to that. But when Usher turns around — especially if it’s a girlthey would just melt when they saw that guy. It was a problem getting the people I wanted.”

“Cee Lo was always so laid back,” Shelton added. “He’s kind of been the quiet killer in this thing. We replaced Cee Lo with somebody that’s just that more aggressive and now you’ve got four that are killers up here.”

So far though, he said the four judges have melded well together and have even sung together.

“It was like being in Season 1 for the first time when we first all sang together. We felt like a band,” said the country music star.

Shelton emerged as the coach winner of the last season with his pick Cassadee Pope winning the recording contract. He was also victorious in Season 2, with his team member Jermaine Paul taking the whole thing. Despite the back-to-back wins, he insists he doesn’t like to brag. 

“I don’t mention it, unless I’m around Adam, that I’m a winner again. I just know how competitive he is and what a baby he is,” said Shelton with a laugh.

Shelton said he and Pope still text each other for 30 minutes every week.

“We have text messages that go on for paragraphs. I don’t want to make a dime off her — I just want her to be the best Cassadee she can be.”

thestar.com – entertainment