Shakira and Usher reclaim their big red chairs on Monday's Season 6 premiere of The Voice (8/7c, NBC), and it seems absence really does make the heart grow fonder — or at least hungrier.
Both coaches return from their season-long break ready to win and willing to do whatever it takes to do so. After making their debuts last spring in Season 4, Usher and Shakira seem poised to officially come out of the shadows of the original judges they replaced, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. How will they do it? And what else can fans expect from Season 6? Read on for five teases about The Voice's highly anticipated return:
1. A Ruthless Shakira: Last season, the "Hips Don't Lie" singer was viewed more as an insightful mentor and — let's face it — a big source of comic relief thanks to her priceless facial expressions. But she never really became a competitive leader like Usher or Adam Levine. This year, however, Shakira means business. In the two-hour season premiere alone, the singer uses her social media prowess (she has more followers than the other three coaches combined), her own child (she says she is more focused this season now that she is no longer pregnant) and her well-known attention to detail to convince artists to join her team. And while impending motherhood may no longer be on her mind, Shakira is more than happy to point out the many things threatening to steal the other coaches' attention, such as Adam's upcoming wedding and Usher's movie. However, Shakira's best sell may be when she name drops a very famous songstress to coach the contestants, only to later admit she has yet to contact the celebrity about coming on the show. Several contestants later admit to being surprised that they chose Team Shakira, but with selling points like this, we can't blame them.
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2. Moves like Usher: The coaches just can't seem to sit still in their chairs this season, but it's not because of any Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj-esque drama from American Idol. They just wanna dance! Inspired by the fancy footwork of Usher — who steps up his moves with some gorgeous gold sneakers — all the coaches seem to have their own special victory dance this season. Spoiler alert (not!): No matter how excited or coordinated his fellow coaches might might be, Usher's choreography still wins top prize.
3. A new alliance: In Season 4, the newbies seemed to look out for each other a bit. But this year, Shakira and Blake Shelton go out of their way to help beef up each other's teams. When he's not in the hunt for a singer himself, look for Blake to vocalize his support for Shakira, much to the chagrin of his on-and-off BFF Adam. Shakira returns the favor for Blake back several times, but their partnership gets shaky the minute the two push their buttons for the same singer.
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4. A surprise return: The Voice coaches have always stood apart from the other judges in the singing competition genre because of their constructive yet encouraging criticism for singers. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to fans that a contestant who failed to get any chair turns the first time around comes back for a shot at redemption. And lucky for everyone involved, the hopeful hit-maker in question seemed (and sounded) like they heeded the advice they received from the coaches last time around. But will that be enough to press the coaches' buttons?
5. Stellar singers: This season, the contestants are better than ever! Sound familiar? It's the same line that pretty much every singing competition show uses pretty much every season. And while it's too early to analyze just how this year's singing stacks up against previous seasons, Adam's reactions say a lot. Not only does he declare one performance his favorite on the competition ever, but he is floored — literally — by one act. Need more proof? Check out aspiring singer Bria Kelly below:
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Are you excited for Shakira and Usher's return?