The Voice's Blake Shelton Hates Starting the 'Evil' Knockout Rounds

Shawna Malcom
Greg Gayne/NBC

The Voice

Blake Shelton doesn't mince words when it comes to The Voice's Knockout Rounds, which begin tonight. "I just absolutely hate 'em," says the straight-­shooting country superstar. "Because the first thing we do as coaches after we beg somebody to choose us and come on our team is kick half of them out! It's a necessary evil, but man, I can't stand the Knockouts."

According to host and producer Carson Daly, though, they'll pack quite a punch for viewers. "We have a younger group [of contestants] this year and they take direction from the coaches really well," Daly says. "They're willing and eager to learn, so there's this ­incredible learning curve that makes the Knockouts really dynamic."

And even Blake can see there's a silver lining to this stage of NBC's hit singing competition: It was during this time last season that he was able to steal back Craig Wayne Boyd, the country crooner he'd mistakenly cut from his team during the Battle Rounds and who went on to win the big prize. "The steals were a game changer," Shelton says. "It's on us as coaches to use them wisely and keep the right people around as much as we ­possibly can."

While The Voice has had a rotating cast of coaches–Christina Aguilera returned this season after taking the past two cycles off–the popular Shelton and Adam Levine have remained the constants. Shelton says he can envision a time when he's no longer in a spinning red chair. "I won't ever be that person who takes a season or two off and then comes back," he says. "Whenever you don't see me in that chair anymore, I won't be back. I'll be on to whatever the next phase is of my life."

Before that happens, though, Shelton–who has coached four out of seven Voice ­winners to date–believes he has at least one more victory in him. "I'm counting on winning again this year," he says. "If I'm not counting on winning, I don't think I'm doing my job right!"

The Voice, Mondays and Tuesdays, 8/7c, NBC