Weeks after slamming The Voice by calling it an “energy sucker” and “churning hamster wheel” that’s “not about music,” Christina Aguilera admits that the show did in fact have a silver lining — it brought Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani together!
The 37-year-old vocal powerhouse, who released her new duet “Fall in Line” with Demi Lovato on Tuesday, elaborated on her less-than-happy time on The Voice in a new interview with W Magazine. Strenuously denying rumors of a feud with fellow judge Stefani (“Oh my God, no!”), Aguilera noted how meaningful it was to have another woman on the panel in the years since her departure.
“I fought for a long time to get two females in the chairs. And, for a long time, I was just told it wasn’t the demographic,” she explained. “But just know that I was a fighter behind the scenes.”
Aguilera went on to say that she never had any specific beef with members of the production. “No, it never had anything to do with any one person at all. And I actually think it’s really cute Blake and Gwen found love in that chaotic environment,” she explains.
Rather, Aguilera says she noticed a shift in how the show was put together, feeling that the reality show was slowly being drained of reality.
“I signed on to a show where the blind audition element was something interesting, something genuine. After a while, though, you start to see that everyone is good-looking,” she said. “It wasn’t a comfortable place for me to be, where I’m just part of a money-making machine. When I stop believing in something, then it’s like, What am I doing here?”
(“Christina was an incredibly valuable member of The Voice for many seasons and we appreciate all she did for the show,” a show source tells PEOPLE exclusively in response to what the singer says was a negative experience for her from 2011 to 2016. “She’ll always be a part of The Voice family.”)
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As she alluded to in her recent Billboard interview, she cites her children as the reason she stayed on The Voice for so many seasons. “I think I did choose to, no pun intended, take a chair for so long and do something very commercial for my little ones. But at a certain point I felt like I’m not even doing them a service by cheating myself and what I’m here to do. They should be seeing Mommy live her best life.”