Get ready, reality singing competition fans, because this is some big news: Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys are heading to The Voice Season 11. "The musical expertise and energy these two incredibly talented women will bring to the show is remarkable," NBC network exec Paul Telegdy said in a statement released Friday evening. "We're thrilled that they’ll be joining Adam and Blake in what we know will be a magical 11th season." Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, who have been with the show since Season 1, have anchored a host of supporting talent who have appeared on the show as judges, from Cee Lo Green to Shakira to Usher to Gwen Stefani. Both men will stay on board, while Christina Aguilera (who's the third longest-seated judge on the show with six seasons under her belt — not consecutive) and Pharrell (who has appeared on the series since Season 7) will be departing.
There were an infinite number of directions the new lineup could have gone. After all, with a reported eight-figure paycheck each season and 12 million viewers-and-counting watching at home, there were plenty of chart-topping musicians who likely would've loved to put in their time on NBC's ratings giant. But NBC's two picks for Season 11, despite their markedly different backgrounds, are sure to bring incredible strength to their roles.
First, there's 23-year-old Cyrus, who took to Twitter last night to confirm the news. She may be the youngest in the chairs by far (the rest of Season 11's judges range in age from 35-39), but her youth could be her greatest asset. Bringing a unique combination of mainstream solo pop success and an on-the-nose awareness of what's going on in the minds of the Tumblr generation, Cyrus will offer contestants something a Shelton or a Levine type simply can't.
At the same time, the 15-time Grammy Award-winning Keys (who has yet to announce the news herself, despite NBC's statement) is an excellent hybrid of last season's two replaced judges: She matches both Pharrell's soulful intensity and Aguilera's vocal finesse.
In addition to their musical talents, both Keys and Cyrus have put their time in as on-air advisors (Keys in Season 7 and Cyrus during Season 10), proving that not only can they sell records, but also mentor. While there is absolutely no doubt that the two have stellar credentials to be A-plus judges next season, what remains to be seen is whether they have staying power. Will they turn out to be two-season judges like Usher, Shakira or Stefani? Or will we still be watching them by the time Season 15 rolls around? Only time will tell.