A new season of The Voice has just graced us with its presence, and thus we're about to grace it with our judgments—not of the contestants, since we're certainly not music experts, but of the coaches, who are music experts and who really do make the world of The Voice go ‘round.
Their chemistry is as vital as their industry advice, and based on the couple of hours we've seen so far, season 12 may have hit the jackpot with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Alicia Keys. We have honestly never laughed quite so hard or enjoyed The Voice nearly as much as we did during tonight's two hour premiere, which did not even pretend to shy away from talking about how Blake and Gwen are dating, and allowed Adam to fully voice his complicated feelings on the matter.
Now, we're not saying that the secret to the best Voice coach combo ever is having two of them date each other, but we're not not saying it. We're also not not saying that Adam's obsession with Gwen and Blake's romance is almost better than the romance itself. But we definitely are saying that Alicia Keys' ability to give no f—ks while simultaneously giving all the f—ks is delightful, and the combination of all of those things makes for one hell of a lineup of coaches.
Season 12 Adam might actually be the best Adam of all of the Adams (12 of them, to be exact), since it was clear that he loves Gwen and Blake's relationship, but he's also very torn over competing against their apparent power team. Meanwhile, Alicia's just there to really feel that music, and to occasionally join Gwen on Blake's lap for giggles. It's all weird, wonderful, and so much fun.
In fact, all this fun has made us think about past coach combinations on The Voice. Do any compare? Which one could we have done without? Which one would we like to see again? Which one can we barely even remember? Let's take a look back, ranking them from worst to best:
6. CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine (seasons 1, 2, 3, 5)
Points for being the original lineup, but the magic wasn't quite there, compared to more recent seasons. And we're definitely better off without CeeLo's slightly creepy comments and facial expressions when it came to a lot of female contestants.
5. Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine (season 11)
With two newbie coaches and after only one season, it's hard to rank this one any higher, but we would like to see Miley and Alicia back again, now that they both know what's up.
4. Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine (seasons 8, 10)
Pharrell often seemed overshadowed by his three outspoken fellow coaches with their four season rapport, but invaluable music expertise aside, he just wasn't the right fourth ingredient to the Adam/Blake/Christina stew.
3. Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine (seasons 4, 6)
Both Usher and Shakira fit right in, and Shakira's friendship with Adam was almost as fun as his friendship with Blake. Almost.
2. Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine(seasons 7, 9)
Pharrell and Gwen were a much better match than Pharrell and Christina, and boy was it fun to watch Gwen and Blake slowly fall in love. If only we'd realized how far in love they'd actually fall…
1. Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine (season 12)
We already told you why we love it, but seriously. Way to go, The Voice, for fully leaning into the coaches' relationships, AKA the best part of your show.
The Voice blind auditions continue this Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBC Universal family.)