In her first season on the show, the "Blended Family" singer has successfully mentored 17-year-old artist We' McDonald to the finals and proven herself a force to be reckoned with for stalwart coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Now, with the season 11 finale set to get underway on Monday night, Keys is reflecting on her coaching debut and looking ahead to her season 12 return.
"The most interesting thing to learn is who is watching the show," she told ET during a recent sit-down on the Universal City, California, set. "That's how you [make] song choices, that's how you make great choices for, 'How is it gonna resonate with the people watching?' 'Cause, obviously, those are the people watching that are getting on there and voting, and really end up choosing who the winner of The Voice is. So that's very interesting kinda to, what direction can you play to their heart and their love of music?"
"I've also learned that really you don't know," she admitted. "Just like in life, you don't know what the outcome is gonna be, so you really have to go with your heart."
But following her heart hasn't always been easy. The 15-time GRAMMY winner teases that she "quits" the show every Tuesday after eliminations.
"I quit next season already!" she laughed, joking: "I tell everybody I'm quitting. This show is terrible. What an awful show!"
Of course, Keys won’t actually be leaving the show anytime soon. She'll return next season alongside Shelton, Levine, and returning coach Gwen Stefani, who will fill Miley Cyrus' current seat. (Cyrus will be back for the show’s 13th season.)
"Gwen's a good friend and we've known each other for a while, so she's like a super beautiful soul," Keys gushed. "I'm so excited to be doing this show with her 'cause it's, like, this two-women thing is the right thing for this show! They can't ever go back!"
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But first, each of the top four artists will give a solo performance and then duet with one of their favorite celebrity performers for the two-night, season 11 finale event. It all kicks off on Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC, and a champion will be crowned on Tuesday's episode, airing at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Keys is up against Shelton and Levine for bragging rights this season as the winning coach.
"Adam, I thought I totally wasn't gonna like, even though he's a good friend of mine," Keys said. "Like, in the sense of the competition of this thing. He's actually very competitive!"
Shelton, meanwhile, surprised her with his humor.
"I definitely didn't know I was gonna like Blake as much as I do," she continued. "I didn't realize he was gonna be just so funny."
As for Cyrus: "I just frickin' love Miley so much! ... That's my lil' sis and I'm her big sis and we're connected."