Blake Shelton's reasons for wanting Gwen Stefani back on The Voice aren't just personal. Amidst recording the upcoming 17th season of NBC's reality show, the singer spoke candidly about the importance of her role moving forward.

"I think (Stefani's return) kind of saved the show with Adam going away," Shelton says, referring to longtime judge Adam Levin's surprise departure in May. "There’s no way around it. That sucks not having Adam there. He’s a major part of that show and my favorite person to kick in the nuts."

Shelton, Levine and host Carson Daly have been with The Voice since its very first season in April 2011. When the rocker announced he was leaving at the end of last season, it was a shock to Shelton. They're friends and a major reason people tune in, but it's also a comfort thing.

Watch: The Best Blake Shelton + Adam Levine Moments

"That show, that’s a complicated thing when you’re a coach on there to try to navigate and keep in mind at the same time that you’re also supposed to be entertaining the audience at home," the "God's Country" singer says.

The comments — made toward the end of a media session at Ole Red in Nashville before a No. 1 party for "God's Country" — were unusually candid by Hollywood standards, but not so by Shelton standards. He's been honest in recent years about the show's inability to turn winners into stars, stopping just short of blaming the record label partners they've teamed with. Sundance Head and Craig Wayne Boyd are two country winners who've not found much commercial success post-show. Maelyn Jarmon won Season 16 in May.

Stefani's return to the show will mark her fourth season on the hit show. She first appeared in 2014 and then found a romantic partner in Shelton during the 2015 season. Their flirting was one of the more entertaining aspects of that 2015 season — it was almost as good as the flirting between Shelton and Levine.

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