The Voice may be in the middle of season 7, but it’s time to start looking ahead to next spring. The coaching panel has been announced for season 8, and it includes three-fourths of the current panel, plus one of the original coaches who has taken the past couple seasons off.

As usual, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are returning — they’ve never missed a season yet, and it looks like that won’t be changing anytime soon.

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But joining them are current newbie coach Pharrell Williams, who has received high praise during his short time on The Voice so far, and original coach Christina Aguilera.

Christina’s previous stint as a coach was back in season 5.

“We are excited to welcome Christina back to her red chair and can’t wait to see how she mixes things up among Adam, Blake and Pharrell, in what will be an incredible competitive competition,” Paul Telegdy, President of Alternative and Late Night Programming at NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. “These four talented artists are at the top of their game as musicians and as coaches. The mentoring is sure to be intense and the stakes will be high.”

The pairings for the two middle spots on the coaching panel have been Christina and Cee Lo Green, Shakira and Usher, and Gwen Stefani and Pharrell. This will be the first time the show has brought on coaches from different pairings. Also of note, Pharrell is doing two seasons back to back, which only the original coaches have done.

This announcement means that Gwen Stefani will be taking at least one season off. While there’s no official reason for this, it’s likely because she will be working on a new album, but it wouldn’t be surprising if she stopped by next season to promote her music.

As for The Voice coach not mentioned yet, it’s unclear when Usher will return. He was a coach during season 4 and season 6. During his most recent season last spring, one of the singers on his team — Josh Kaufman — won, the first time anybody other than Adam or Blake has done so.

Are you excited that Christina and Pharrell are coming back for season 8? Were you hoping for one of the other coaches to return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Voice season 7 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.

(Images courtesy of NBC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.