Which 'The Voice' Coaches Will Return For Season 9? There Are So Many Options To Fill Those Red Chairs

Like the changing of the seasons, or the look of surprise on Taylor Swift's face when she wins an award, there are a few things in life you can just count on, and Blake Shelton and Adam Levine returning to their red, spinny coaches' seats on each new season of The Voice is one of them. Or... is it? With eight coaches to choose from, NBC is going to have a difficult time choosing which ones to feature. And, with so many options, which Voice coaches can we count on to be back for Season 9? [UPDATE: Deadline reports The Voice will return Sep. 21.]

There are a couple of circles of Voice coaches: Blake and Adam are at the center, having returned every year. Then there are Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, and Pharrell Williams who have all served consecutive terms. After them are Usher and Shakira who, in addition to both being extra cool because they only have one name, have each served two non-consecutive coaching terms. And, finally, Gwen Stefani has served one.

Up until this point, the coaches in the middle circles were the ones most likely to be return. But now, heading into Season 9, I'm thinking it's time for a switch-up. Every single one of those judges, especially the newer ones, have proven themselves to be charming and capable. Though the coaching panel and premiere date for the new season aren't set just yet, I'm betting Gwen Stefani will be the first target for producers. When Stefani stepped back and Christina Aguilera stepped in for Season 8, a source told Hollywood Life, "One thing for sure is [Gwen] will be back on The Voice in the future. 100%. They all love her there.”

But that's not a sure thing, and with all these superstar schedules, we could end up with any combination of four judges. (And maybe even a new one like Taylor Swift!) In order to determine a mix of the best possible coaches for Season 9, I ranked the eight coaches we already know based on who needs a break, who's just getting in the swing of things, and who we need to see come the next round of Blind Auditions...

Adam Levine

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I am no Adam-hater. He's done a great job on The Voice, especially with his Season 7 contestants who didn't win, like Matt McAndrew and Chris Jamison. He still seems to be coaching and advising them on some level out in the real world. But I felt like Levine was not as invested in Season 8 as he normally is and seemed a little distracted. It might just be time he had a break. We will gladly welcome him and his enormous collection of bowling shirts back to the panel once he's gotten some rest.

CeeLo Green

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CeeLo Green was a beloved little ball of weird during his time on The Voice, and it was fun to see him back in a small advising capacity on Season 8. But with his previous legal troubles involving a rape accusation (which was thrown out of court due to lack of evidence), and his subsequent misguided Twitter comments about consent, it seems unlikely that the straight-laced show will be having him on in a permanent judges' seat again anytime soon. But, it's worth noting, that later Green did apologize for the tweets, and suggested he didn't make them. "I truly and deeply apologize for the comments attributed to me on Twitter. Those comments were idiotic, untrue and not what I believe," he tweeted. And, in a statement from his attorney, he categorically denied all charges of sexual assault.

Mr. Green encouraged a full and complete investigation of those claims, and he was confident once conducted, he would be cleared of having any wrongful intent and it would be established that any relations were consensual. CeeLo had faith that if the true facts were known, the district attorney would reject those charges.

So, perhaps the show will take that under advisement and ask Green to stay on.

Usher

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I love Usher, and he always brings a certain amount of suave to The Voice proceedings. Plus, the guy does have a Voice win under his belt, so he might strike back when the timing is right for him: When he has something to promote or something to prove.

Christina Aguilera

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Christina was great this season. She was excited to be there, she picked and stole fantastic contestants, and she went into the Lives with, by far, the most dominant team. But she keeps a pretty packed schedule, and she's a parent, so I think she might just need a break in between seasons. But if not, I'd love to see her come back with the same passion for her contestants. She doesn't play the game as much as the guys, which is both refreshing, and then frustrating when she loses a great singer.

Shakira

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Shakira is just fun. She's charming and caring, and she can be silly with the other judges while arguing over a contestant without ever seeming condescending. And I really love when Carson Daly calls her Shaki. My ultimate dream is to have her paired up in Season 9 with the following three judges...

Pharrell Williams

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Pharrell was a little better at choosing artists and songs this season, and I think a chair in Season 9 would just increase his momentum. But mostly, he brings a level of credibility to the musical proceedings of the show that is necessary, and will hopefully eventually help to produce a bonafide Voice superstar.

Gwen Stefani

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Gwen is delightful and has a ton of insight on other aspects of being a singing superstar beyond just vocals. And it's about damn time we get two women at the same time on this panel. With frequent mentions in Season 8, and being the temporary adviser for both Team Pharrell and Team Christina, she seems the most likely non-Blake coach to return. Which brings us to...

Blake Shelton

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Unlike Adam, Blake seems like he could be happy being on this show forever. And I think most viewers, whether they're fans of his contestants or not, are happy to have him there. He's funny with the other coaches and Carson Daly, and he's compassionate and caring for the artists on his team, as well as all of the other artists on the show. Plus, he's been the most successful coach by far in producing artists who make waves in the recording industry. So, the cowboy stays.

Images: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC; Getty (8); thevoice/Tumblr