Usher and Shakira To Join ‘The Voice’ As Judges

It seems the real action in these talent competitions is happening at the judges’ table.

In a similar shake-up to American Idol and X Factor, international music stars Usher and Shakira will be making their way to the panel of The Voice for season 4 as Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green focus on other projects, NBC reports.

According to Yahoo! News, the “Genie In A Bottle” singer is prepping her upcoming album Lotus due this November while Cee Lo will be working on a Christmas album and a new sitcom. Despite their leave of absence, both will return on Season 5 in 2013.

“Being a coach on “The Voice’ is a wonderful experience and the relationship amongst us all is like an extended family,” Christina said in an NBC press release Monday (Sept. 17). “I am so proud of being part of the show from the beginning, all the work we’ve done, and proud of what the show stands for as a whole. As I have expressed since day one of the show, that I am a singer and performer first and I am so excited to get back to that love.”

In the same release, Cee Lo welcomed the new judges. “First, thank you NBC for supporting my decision to take this Season 4 hiatus! It says that I’m seen and respected as a complete artist and not just a cast member. I’m highly enthusiastic about focusing my undivided attention on my additional endeavors and interests like my upcoming solo album, new Goodie Mob album, Las Vegas residency ‘Loberace,’ new memoir, and new NBC comedy…I will return for Season 5 and will be watching Season 4. NBC is home and as far as Usher and Shakira are concerned–‘mi casa su casa.'”

As for the other two judges, Maroon 5 frontman and country crooner Blake Shelton, the grueling two-season schedule may edge them out eventually. “I don’t know how much longer I’m even going to do it. It’s [NBC’s] decision [for us to leave], in that they’re the ones choosing to do back-to-back seasons,” Shelton told Access Hollywood.. “At some point, I’ve got to go, ‘You know what, this has been awesome. It’s changed my life, but it’s not my life. I’ve got to get back to what I really do, and that’s country music.”