Why One Judge on The Voice Calls Newcomer John Legend ‘A Threat’

There are many ways you could describe new coach on The Voice John Legend, but fellow judge Kelly Clarkson recently used a word we never thought would be associated with Legend. She may enjoy a playful rivalry with Blake Shelton on the show, and she and Adam Levine might also maintain a healthy professional respect for one another. But ahead of the season premiere of The Voice season 16, Clarkson described Legend as “a threat” — although it’s not as menacing as it sounds.

In a promo for the show shared with People, fans are given a behind-the-scenes peek at how the other Voice judges are responding to Legend joining their panel. And, y’all, Clarkson has concerns. You know she’s serious since, for once, she isn’t laughing or talking a million miles a minute, as is her endearing way. Rather, she gets straight to the point, confessing, “I’ve never been more terrified to be on this show with a coach than John Legend.” He isn’t just a threat to her, either. Even if Shelton and Levine don’t realize it yet, she cautioned, “[Legend] is everyone’s threat.”

That’s not to say the other judges are totally oblivious to Legend’s skill. To the contrary, it would seem Shelton and Levine — as cavalier as they like to pretend to be — are well aware that Legend has the potential to shake things up on season 16 of the popular NBC singing competition when it returns on Feb. 25.

To his credit, Levine just comes right out with it: “John is a threat. I mean, John has like 4,000 awards and he’s incredibly talented and very charming.” All of which are assumptions that are basically true (except, you know, Legend’s actual award count stops quite a bit short of 4,000). Shelton, for his part, resorted to his trademark quipping: “John has got a target on his back. But you know what he doesn’t have? Six Voice trophies.”

Already proving he’s got just the right combo of comedic chops and sarcasm to be a success on the show, Legend plays coy in the promo. “I’m a nice, sweet boy from Ohio. What do they have to be afraid of?” he says. Are the other judges threatened by him? Do they worry about him? He wonders these things aloud and, well, we all know by now that the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Still, Legend insists, “I’m just an ordinary person, as they say.”

That little smirk in his eyes is all the indication we need that this might just be the best season of The Voice yet. Bring on the bromances, contestant stealing and emotional pandering. Dare we say it? This combination of judges is going to be legendary.

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