Blake Shelton Reacts to Gwen Stefani Returning to 'The Voice' After Adam Levine's Exit (Exclusive)

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Adam Levine isn't onThe Voice this season, but Blake Shelton still has a message for his longtime competitor. 

"Adam's not on the show and I want him to know that he can still kiss my a** wherever he is right now," Shelton quipped to ET's Nancy O'Dell.

When ET caught up with the 43-year-old country crooner and his new team mentor for season 17, Darius Rucker, he was candid about doing the show for the first time without Levine. 

"Literally, you know, with Adam being gone, I'm not gonna lie, that was scary. It's weird," Shelton confessed. "Without him here, it's literally shocking to not have him here."

While he doesn't have Levine by his side this season, Shelton's girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, is returning as a coach just in the nick of time. "I couldn't be happier that she's back on the show," he gushed over his longtime love, whom he met on the NBC reality competition series.

That being said, Shelton admitted that he's way more competitive than Stefani in "any kind of game," not just The Voice.

"You know, she wants to win and I want to win and that's what they pay us to do on this show is to try to win the show," he said. "It's harder for [Gwen]. She's not, she's not competitive. She'll be the first to tell you right up until it gets competitive and then all of a sudden she is."

Back in June, Stefani reacted to returning to The Voice without Levine. "Adam was actually the first person to reach out to me when they were trying to pitch me the show,” she said on The Talk. “He texted me out of nowhere, and I didn’t even really know him [back then]. And he was like, ‘You got to do it. It’s the greatest show. It’s so fun!'"

"So, to think that he’s not going to be there [is] bittersweet,” she continued. “And plus, being between him and Blake and the amount of laughter -- I would have to stop and massage my face because it would hurt!”

Season 17 of The Voice premieres Monday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on NBC.

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