Kelly Clarkson on joining 'The Voice': "People do love talent over just aesthetics"

Trae Patton/NBCWhen The Voice returns for season 14 on February 26, it will be with an American Idol in tow: Kelly Clarkson joins the cast as a coach.

Speaking Tuesday evening at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Kelly said it was being a coach that drew her to The Voice.

“I get to be a part of a team and not just judge [the singers] and just say stuff, I get to actually be involved with them and cultivate their career and where they want to go and help them navigate this competition,” Kelly said. “I think that’s my favorite part, is that I get to be a coach, ’cause I’ve been asked to be a judge on things, and I don’t want to be a judge.”

The nature of The Voice, with its emphasis on blind auditions, makes the show special for Kelly. “That’s why America loves it — because at the core people do love talent over just aesthetics all the time, and it is based off merit,” Kelly said.

And that focus on singing, not looks, suits Kelly just fine. “That really separates everything,” she said. “It means something to me, because…I represent those people in this industry. I don’t fit the pop star image that maybe people expect all the time, but I am a pop star and this is the image that I, you know, exude, and that’s why this show really does compliment my desires for this industry.”

Kelly, who has known The Voice‘s resident frenemy coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton for years, was asked if her old pals were helping her out. “Hell no,” she laughed. “They’re a competitive bunch. Right off the bat. No, they are not helping me at all!”

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