Usher And Shakira Join ‘The Voice’ For Season 4

(Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)

(Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)

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It’s official — the next season of The Voice, in 2013, will feature two new coaches: Usher and Shakira.

Usher has been Tweeting out little hints that he’ll join the show for a bit and on Monday night’s show, two contestants performed Usher tracks in conjunction with the announcement.

Usher will take the place of Cee Lo Green, who is creating his own sitcom with NBC as well as “developing new music.” Green issued a statement indicating he is simply taking a hiatus, not leaving the show completely.

“First … thank you NBC for supporting my decision to take this season four hiatus! It says that I’m seen and respected as a complete artist and not just a cast member. I’m highly enthusiastic about focusing my undivided attention on my additional endeavors and interests like my upcoming solo album, new Goodie Mob album, Las Vegas residency ‘Loberace,’ new memoir, and new NBC comedy.”

Green goes on to promise his return on season 5 of the show.

Shakira also steps into the show, replacing coach Christina Aguilera who is taking a leave to promote and tour behind her new album Lotus which will be released on November 13. Aguilera is less willing to promise her return during season 5, saying:

“As I have expressed since day one of the show, that I am a singer and performer first and I am so excited to get back to that love. Since this year NBC and The Voice have decided to tape back-to-back seasons, requiring a full-year commitment, it is important for me to take season four off, allowing me to support my music that my fans have been waiting for — with the release of my new album ‘Lotus’ on November 13. By pursuing my first passion of music during the break, I am also able to come back and offer even more to my team on ‘The Voice’ in the future.”

The Voice coaches speculation has been much quieter than other notable reality singing shows who’ve faced shake ups in their judging panel, like American Idol and the X Factor. All eyes have been on coach Blake Shelton, who has made several public comments about his frustration with the second season of the show in 2012 taking him out of the mix to tour. But Shelton and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 will stay with the show through season 4.

Executive producer Mark Burnett supported the hiatuses, saying, “”Having award-winning artists as coaches means they need to be able to tour. Whether in the red chair or on tour, our coaches have their chairs for life. This is exactly why, after three seasons, we needed to allow them to rotate out so they can get on the road amongst their fans.

The Voice adds two strong coaches to their panel with Usher and Shakira. Together they’ve sold over 120 million albums worldwide and won more than enough Grammys to fill a trophy case.

-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local