NBC announced via press release on Wednesday that Jennifer Hudson is joining "The Voice" this fall as the latest coach, therefore also confirming the rumors of Alicia Keys' exit from the singing competition. Hudson will make her "Voice" debut in September, while Keys leaves after two seasons.
Hudson, who rose to prominence after appearing on the "Voice" rival "American Idol" (which ironically also announced its comeback this week), has an even longer history with "The Voice." She served as a battle rounds advisor for Team Cee Lo in Season 3 of the NBC series, and recently won Season 6 of international spin-off "The Voice UK." Wednesday's announcement presumably means she'll wind up departing the UK version after just one season, though you can watch a clip of her coaching on "The Voice UK" by using the media player included with this article.
The hiring of Hudson is notable for a number of reasons. She maintains the new precedent of having two female coaches on "The Voice" that was started with the arrivals of Keys and Cyrus. She's the third person to serve as a "Voice" advisor and then be promoted to coach, all of which have been sitting in the same chair - Pharrell Williams was the first after appearing as a mentor in Season 5 and then coaching in Season 7, followed by Keys advising in Season 7 and coaching in Season 11. And she's the first "American Idol" alumni to become a full-time coach on "The Voice."
Many "Idol" participants have turned up on the NBC show over the last six years, from former contestants to Season 2 winner Kelly Clarkson as a battle rounds advisor and musical guest. But this is the first time someone from "Idol" has claimed one of the big red chairs, although Keith Urban famously departed coaching duties on "The Voice Australia" to join the judging panel on "American Idol."
Hudson will likely start work on "The Voice" shortly as it pre-tapes blind auditions, battle rounds and knockout rounds for a fall premiere. But until then, fans can watch and see if Keys will leave the singing competition a winner. Team Alicia has two artists left in the Season 12 semifinals, with the "Voice" season finale scheduled for May 23.
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.