Blake Shelton asks loudly as he arrives for PEOPLE’s photo shoot on March 13. The “moron” in question is Shelton’s costar-and newfound best buddy-Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Moments later Levine arrives and shoots a playful, “What’s up, girl?” to Shelton, who’s ready with another zinger: “Christina’s here!”
Jokes about Christina-as in Aguilera-and each other are nothing new for the pair. More than 19 million viewers have been tuning in weekly to watch their good-natured rivalry on The Voice, NBC’s hit singing competition show that features Levine, Shelton, Aguilera and Cee Lo Green developing fresh musical talent. On the surface the guys appear to be polar opposites. The strapping 6’5″ Shelton, 35, is an avid hunter who lives in his native Oklahoma with his new wife, fellow country star Miranda Lambert. Rocker and L.A. native Levine, 33, a lean 6′, went to elementary school with Jake Gyllenhaal and is dating Victoria’s Secret model Anne V. PEOPLE’s Marisa Laudadio sat down with the odd couple to discover whether two outspoken stars can share an interview without driving each other crazy.
So let’s talk about your friendship.
BLAKE [sarcastically] Bromance!
ADAM [also sarcastically] Bromance!
BLAKE A few weeks ago somebody asked me, “What about you and Adam’s bromance. Is there anything to it?” And I sputtered off, “Yeah, I’m going to make out with him.” The next thing you read is “Blake wants to kiss Adam.” Man, I can’t believe how …
ADAM … true that is? [laughs]
BLAKE … how honest I was. But it’s fun. It’s just like we’re sitting around at the bar, making jabs at each other.
When did you know you’d be friends?
ADAM We started [complaining] about something early on, and I was like, “I love this guy. He’s as much of a pain as I am!”
Everyone wants to know: Is it true you guys don’t get along with Christina because you think she’s a diva?
ADAM There’s an element about everybody where that’s true. I’m a pain in the a–. I’m a diva to a large extent. But listen, Christina is a proud girl. She’s aware of who she is and that image, which I think she accepts.
BLAKE Christina’s a diva-one of the-greatest-female-vocalists-of-all-time kind of diva. And with that comes confidence. But a lot of the times, it’s just misunderstood. She shows up and works her a– off. I actually get along with her awesomely. But I won’t say we haven’t had arguments before.
ADAM She’s often the target of negative criticism, and I want to defend her. We can’t underestimate the fact that she’s the only girl [on The Voice]. There are three frat boys doing this, and she’s got to deal with our nonsense. I feel the need to kind of speak up and say, “Leave her alone, man.”
Adam, you like to remind the other judges your contestant won last year.
ADAM All day.
BLAKE Constantly, he does. It actually p—– Christina off that he reminds us.
ADAM No, we’ve all moved beyond that. We’re all grown-ups here.
BLAKE No, I like to keep that stirred up.
ADAM You like to keep that fresh?
BLAKE Yeah, I like to keep it on everybody’s mind that you try to irritate people as much as you can.
What about Cee Lo?
ADAM Cee Lo is one of the more fascinating people I know. Remember in Men in Black when they opened up a guy’s head and there’s a little alien inside working all the gears? That’s Cee Lo. He’s such a loving dude too.
BLAKE Cee Lo is just in his own world. But he is easily the most approachable person on the set.
What are you two like off-camera?
ADAM We rarely talk about [The Voice] when we’re hanging out. It’s healthy and better off that way.
BLAKE If I’m hanging out with Adam, I want to drink a beer and talk about the Lakers, not the show.
ADAM That’s a lie. You’ve never spoken about the Lakers. I don’t think you even know who’s on the team.
BLAKE I meant to say boobs.
What else do you like to do for fun?
ADAM Long walks on the beach …
BLAKE Adam played on New Year’s Eve near my house in Oklahoma.
ADAM So [my girlfriend and I] stayed at his place for a couple days.
BLAKE Adam actually shot some guns, drove some four-wheelers.
ADAM I had fun. He told me to drive his six-wheeler into a swamp because it floats. And I’m thinking, “This is some sort of hazing. I’m going to end up drowning.” I was so scared.
BLAKE His girlfriend is more adventurous: “Blake, give me the gun!”
ADAM Yeah, she’s like that. I’m not.
Were you relieved that Anne and Miranda got along?
BLAKE It was a big sigh of “Awesome!”
ADAM They’re attracted to each other both intellectually and physically.
BLAKE They’re the ones who are hot for each other.
ADAM We all get along so well. I can already see the headlines: “Kinky Swinger Affair! Love Triangle!”
Adam, you’re a motorcycle collector. Have you and Blake gone riding yet?
ADAM Can you believe this guy? You shoot stuff, you live on a huge country-paradise ranch-you are country-and you don’t ride motorcycles. That’s part of the equation!
BLAKE That’s why God invented four-wheelers-so I don’t ever have to ride a motorcycle.
ADAM You should ride one once. I guarantee you’ll love it.
BLAKE I did when I was a kid.
ADAM Dirt bikes don’t count.
BLAKE There’s that element of bugs flying into my mouth and eyeballs that I don’t like.
ADAM Get a full-face helmet.
BLAKE Full-face helmets look stupid. And in Oklahoma, june bugs hit you in the forehead at 60 miles an hour.
Do you two ever fight?
ADAM Nah. We got into one little tiff one time. You were fired up about something, and I talked you down.
BLAKE If there’s an argument, it’s us talking each other off the cliff. Because normally, I’m p—– at Christina, or she’s p—– at me, and he’s defending her. We try to be each other’s voice of reason.
ADAM We play fair, but I still wish to destroy you.
BLAKE You hear that? I can’t think like that. That’s a sick individual.
ADAM I’m a very sick person. But it’s all tongue in cheek. You’re one of my closest friends. As great as our show is, who knows how long it will last? But I have friends for life. Love you, dude!
BLAKE [High-fives Adam] Love you, buddy. For life!