It came as a bit of a surprise when it was announced that country queen Reba McEntire would be replacing Blake Shelton as a coach on season 24 of the singing competition The Voice.
Shelton had served as a judge for the first 23 seasons before announcing he would be stepping away, and Reba had previously served as a mentor for Blake’s team last season.
As it turns out, Reba was actually one of the first choices for producers – way back when the season first debuted over 10 years ago. But at the time, she turned them down:
“It was a very popular show in Holland, I’m pretty sure. And I watched the tape and I said, ‘No, I’m gonna pass on that, because I don’t think I’d ever be able to tell somebody that they’re terrible or ya know, ‘go find another job, or hope you like your nighttime job.’
I couldn’t do that day in and day out. I just couldn’t do it, so I did pass on it!”
But now that she’s finally taken them up on the offer and joined as a coach, Reba has quickly become a fan-favorite (because of course she is).
And it seems like Reba’s actually enjoying it too.
During a Q&A session after her appearance at the Grand Ole Opry last night, the “Fancy” singer was asked what surprised her most about joining John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Niall Horan as coaches on the show:
“Me liking it. I didn’t think I’d like it at first. I was like, ‘Aw man, what have I got myself into?'”
It seems like she’s fit right in – something Reba credits to her fellow coaches, as she had high praise for her competitors:
John Legend is a super guy. He is so smart, so talented. But so sweet.
Gwen Stefani – y’all have got to hang out with her. She is the funniest, sweetest person. Down to earth. And she dresses outlandishly.
We all stand and we just can’t wait till Gwen walks in. She is the cutest rascal I’ve ever seen. She calls us muffins. She says, ‘Oh, my little muffins.’
And then there’s Niall. Fell in love with Niall the first time I met him.
They all welcomed me in and helped me and encouraged me…Even though we’re in competition, we’re all friends and a team. They’re just sweet as they can be.”
But that’s not all Reba’s got going on: She recently released a new album, Not That Fancy, featuring stripped-down versions of some of her biggest songs, along with a new lifestyle book, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots.
The book features stories from her life, shares photos from her iconic country music career, never-before-seen photos from all of her adventures, as well as some of her favorite family recipes, and gives fans an intimate glimpse at who Reba is as a person and musician.
She’ll celebrate the book and album with a special event at the Ryman Auditorium, along with her Reba co-star Melissa Peterman (who also introduced Reba during her appearance at the Opry last night).
It seems like Reba has no intention of slowing down soon – especially since she’s enjoying The Voice more than she expected.