Go behind the scenes of first “The Voice” season without Blake Shelton

Go behind the scenes of first “The Voice” season without Blake Shelton

The queen has officially taken her seat at The Voice's spinning red throne.

With her glitzy attire and all, it's country superstar Reba McEntire's time to shine as a first-time coach on season 24 – and EW got a sneak peek at the newcomer, alongside coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani and reigning champ Niall Horan, in action during a set visit.

Noticeably absent is Blake Shelton, who bid farewell to the series as the longest-standing coach at the end of season 23. However, there's someone else in the room who now surpasses Shelton's residency, and any fan who attends a taping will have the chance to meet him.

The Voice
The Voice

Tyler Golden/NBC John Legend, Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan, and Reba McEntire on 'The Voice'

Bill Sindelar has served as a warm-up comedian for The Voice since season 1, helping to hype up the show's live studio audience of approximately 150 people and multiply their energy to create TV magic. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, I'm going to watch a taping of The Voice,' and watching has the connotation of just sitting there and watching," Sindelar says. "But that's not what an audience member is there for. An audience member is there to bring the show to life."

After arriving at the soundstage on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, fans are antsy with excitement for the show to begin. Before the coaches make their entrance, Sindelar welcomes the crowd by initiating a competition between audience members and rewarding the most expressive of them with The Voice memorabilia.

The contest helps set the tone as Sindelar uses the moment to create an example of the energy that the audience should give throughout the taping. "My job as a warm-up guy is to break that fourth wall to make the audience feel like they're getting the best experience they possibly can and getting as close to the show as they can," Sindelar says.

In season 24, viewers can expect an intense battle between contestants, but also the coaches as McEntire jokes her rival coaches have been "devious" and "real mean" since day one in EW's first look of the upcoming season. "I've never seen so many four-chair turns," Sindelar says. "We have so many four-chair turns this season, and it's just a testament to the show finding great talent, and people also not being afraid to come out there and share their talents with the world."

Another part of the experience of attending a taping includes what you don't always see on TV – makeup touch-ups (accompanied by giggles from Horan's fans in the audience), coaches capturing social content, and rare, sweet moments like Legend taking a photo with a fan in the audience and McEntire remembering and reuniting with a woman who was a background actor in one of her previous projects.

Then there's the not-so-sweet (but still fan-appreciated) moments. For those who quickly grew to love Horan and Shelton's father-son bond, the family-like bickering doesn't die down. "I mean, he definitely gives it to Gwen," Sindelar says of Horan and Stefani's dynamic.

Horan is quick to joke that his first impression with Stefani was "clearly not great." Stefani teases that she's had to "punish" her and Shelton's fellow coach-turned-adopted-son. "He's so naughty, but we're getting somewhere. He's learning," she says with a laugh.

From the man who has seen it all at The Voice, Sindelar praises this set of coaches as one of his favorites. "The audience will tune in for the singing, but they're going to stay because of our coaches and how great these four coaches are together in these chairs," Sindelar says.

The Voice season 24 premieres Monday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Make sure to check out EW's Fall TV Preview cover story on Gen V — as well as all of our 2023 Fall TV Preview content, releasing through Sept. 21.

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