Kelly Clarkson, The Voice
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images

After nine seasons, the first American Idol is done with her red swivel chair. But why is Kelly Clarkson leaving The Voice and could her drama on another show be the reason?

Clarkson joined The Voice — NBC’s reality TV singing competition in which celebrity coaches form teams of contestants and compete against each other— in Season 14. She remained on the series from Season 14 to Season 21. She took a break from the series in Season 22 before returning to The Voice in Season 23. Now, Clarkson is leaving The Voice again — and this time it could be for good.

In an interview with Us Weekly in 2018, Clarkson explained why she joined The Voice as a coach instead of becoming a judge on American Idol, which she won the first season of in 2002. “The Voice, literally, it’s almost full circle for me how I started singing,” Clarkson said. “I started singing opera and everything was behind screen so my whole life, starting in music for years, was literally me having to be perfect behind that screen.”

Clarkson also told Us Weekly that The Voice‘s blind auditions — in which the coaches can hear the contestants but not see them — were also a reason she joined the show. “That literally is the thing that separates The Voice for me … It’s a rare opportunity that this show represents that people might not get through on other shows,” Clarkson said. “That’s my favorite part of the show. It is interesting to make it about talent first. That’s why I love this show.”

Clarkson also confirmed that she was asked to be a judge on American Idol when the series was rebooted in 2018 but declined. “I’m not being, like, egocentric, but I think just a lot of people reach out to me to be a part of singing things, for obvious reasons,” Clarkson said. “Just because I was in the first one that everybody kind of watched.” She continued of why she chose The Voice instead. “It literally does come back to those blind auditions that really separates everything and it means something to me because I think that’s who I represent, those people in this industry. I don’t fit the pop star image that people expect all the time. But I am a pop star and this is the image that I exude. That’s why this show really does complement my desires for this industry.”

But after nine seasons, could Clarkson’s time on The Voice be done for good? Read on for what we know about why Kelly Clarkson is leaving The Voice and what happened to her other show.

Kelly Clarkson, The Voice

Why is Kelly Clarkson leaving The Voice?

Why is Kelly Clarkson leaving The Voice? News broke that Clarkson was leaving The Voice on May 15, 2023, when NBC announced the coaches for the next season, which doesn’t include Clarkson. Instead, the Season 24 coaches include Reba McEntire, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Niall Horan.

So why is Kelly Clarkson leaving The Voice? News of Clarkson leaving The Voice came after Variety reported that her daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, was moving from the Universal lot in Los Angeles, California — where The Voice also films — to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, New York, so it’s likely that Clarkson’s exit could be because of geography.

News of Clarkson leaving The Voice also came after Rolling Stone published a report on May 12, 2023, in which 11 anonymous current and former employees claimed they were “overworked” and “underpaid” while working at The Kelly Clarkson Show.

The employees also alleged that the show had a “toxic environment” that was “traumatizing to their mental health.” Though the staffers called Clarkson “fantastic” to work with, they claimed that the producers on the talk show made their lives “hell.” The employees also alleged that they didn’t find out that The Kelly Clarkson Show was moving from Los Angeles to New York until a staff-wide e-mail sent “two minutes before” Variety broke the news on the move.

Clarkson responded to the allegations in a statement on her Instagram on May 13, 2023. “In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believe to be right. I love my team at The Kelly Clarkson Show, and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected on this show is unacceptable,” she wrote. “I have always been and will continue to be committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment at The Kelly Clarkson Show, as we prepare for a move to the east coast, I am more committed than ever to ensuring that not only our team that is moving, but also our new team in NY, is comprised of the best and kindest in the business.”

She continued, “Part of that build will include leadership training for all of the senior staff, including myself. There is always room to grow and ensure we are all being/becoming the best version of ourselves in any business, especially when it comes to leadership, to ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated.”

A representative for NBCUniversal also responded to the allegations in a statement to Variety. “We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue. When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate. The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity,” the statement read.

The Voice airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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