Gwen Stefani gets candid in this week's issue of PEOPLE about going head-to-head with boyfriend Blake Shelton on season 19 of The Voice

By Brianne Tracy
October 14, 2020 08:30 AM
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Gwen Stefani and her fellow Voice coaches Kelly Clarkson and John Legend are uniting with a common goal for season 19: beat reigning champ Blake Shelton.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, the No Doubt rocker, 51, opens up about getting competitive with her longtime boyfriend, who has won the NBC hit singing competition show a record seven times.

"He is so not going to win," Stefani teases. "Between us three, he's out. But he does have a good team, I have to say."

The country star, 44, isn't all that worried. "It's going to take three of you [to beat me]," he boasts.

Gwen Stefani
Art Steiber/NBC

Last season, The Voice aired remotely from the coaches' and contestants' homes during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Though Stefani did not serve as a coach that season, she still felt like part of the crew as she helped Shelton film at his Tishomongo, Oklahoma, ranch, where they had been quarantining together.

"My little brother Todd was the one doing all of the technical stuff," she says. "So even though I wasn't on that season, I felt like I was."

When The Voice got the go-ahead to resume in-person production for season 19, Shelton and Stefani — who will celebrate their five-year anniversary of dating next month — packed up their bags and returned to Los Angeles to film.

Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson
Art Streiber/NBC

The new on-set safety protocols call for the coaches to sit 8 ft. apart in their iconic red swivel chairs, but thanks to the lack of a studio audience, "it feels more intimate somehow," Stefani says. "I feel like we're even more relaxed."

"There's so much talent this season, it's crazy," she adds. "We're so lucky to be here and watch live music in front of us. I feel so inspired."

While Clarkson, 38, says she enjoyed shooting remotely last season— "I got to ride a four-wheeler to work, then drink wine," she says — all the coaches agree nothing beats hearing the contestants perform live.

"All of us talked at one point about how it's weird that we don't have an audience, but at the same time it's kind of cool because you're more connected to the artist on stage because there's not a bunch of people clapping or screaming or yelling or dancing," Clarkson says. "It's much more intimate. I've enjoyed it."

Adds Legend, 41: "I think we all missed hearing other people sing live music. We made the best of last season, but it was certainly not ideal. Even though we still won't have an audience, we've seen from taping these blinds and battles and knockouts that we can still have beautiful performances and make some great television."

As Clarkson nears Legend's VEGOT (Voice, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony)-winning status after earning her first Daytime Emmy in June for her NBC talk show, he welcomes her to the family.

"We just got to write a musical or something for her!" he says. "We got to do something to get her a Tony, and then she can write a beautiful Oscar song."

Clarkson quips: "Don't be concerned John! I think I have enough jobs."

Season 19 of The Voice premieres Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. EST/PST on NBC.

For all the details on Gwen Stefani's latest adventure with Blake Shelton and her three sons, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.