Kelly Clarkson Reveals Why She’s Leaving Los Angeles & ‘The Voice’

Kelly Clarkson

Heavy/Getty Kelly Clarkson

After the Season 22 finale of “The Voice” aired on May 23, 2023, and Kelly Clarkson had danced the night away at the show’s wrap party, the music superstar and talk show host was ready to head east — first for some downtime at her Montana ranch, and then onto a new life in New York City.

NBC first announced Clarkson’s big move away from Los Angeles on May 8, uprooting her Emmy-winning “Kelly Clarkson Show” from Los Angeles and moving the production to New York, which will keep her from continuing as a coach on “The Voice,” she confirmed in an interview on Talk Shop Live after the finale.

Clarkson said the decision to move her kids — seven-year-old son Remington “Remy” Alexander and eight-year-old daughter River Rose — to New York was “100 percent my idea, and it was really cool NBC backed me.” As to why they’re moving, she cited the need for a “fresh start” as a family after several challenging years, including her difficult divorce from her ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, and wanting to be closer to her family.

Kelly Clarkson Says Move to New York Will Keep Her Off ‘The Voice’

Kelly Clarkson

NBCKelly Clarkson during season 21 of “The Voice”

During Clarkson’s half-hour conversation on Talk Shop Live with host Nancy O’Dell, viewers were able to send in questions and when someone asked how “The Voice” wrap party was, Clarkson revealed that she let loose and had a blast — but also that she won’t be back anytime soon.

“You guys, I danced all night long like Lionel Richie, more than I’ve ever danced,” she exclaimed and then noticed O’Dell laughing about her Richie reference. “Oh yeah, he’s on ‘Idol!’ That’s funny. No, I just meant I danced literally for three hours straight. I wasn’t even sore the next day. I think I have tequila to thank for that, but like, it was a good party.”

Some fans have hypothesized online that Clarkson might commute to L.A. in order to be on “The Voice.” But when O’Dell mentioned that Clarkson will not be part of the show’s cast “next year,” Clarkson replied, “I know. I’m not gonna be — I’m moving to New York.”

There was not a formal farewell to Clarkson during the finale, which focused on original coach Blake Shelton’s retirement from the show after 23 seasons. It’s possible that she and NBC are leaving the door open for an eventual return, depending on how things go in New York, but the network recently announced that “The Voice” Season 24 coaches will be returning talent Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan, and John Legend, with Shelton’s chair taken over by country legend Reba McEntire.

Later in the Talk Shop Live interview, after talking about how her divorce influenced her new album, “Chemistry” and looking forward to relaxing for a few days at her ranch, Clarkson said she’s not looking for new love and has “gotten to such a peaceful place,” making choices that simply help her enjoy life more.

She said, “Like, even that wrap party (for ‘The Voice’) … I had so much fun because … it was a night out for mom. Like, my kids were being watched and I got to hang out with friends, I got to dance all night, I got to just be me. And I think that that’s so important.”

Kelly Clarkson Would Have Left Her Talk Show if NBC Didn’t Move It to New York

Kelly Clarkson

GettyKelly Clarkson and kids.

Though NBC had announced it would be moving Clarkson’s show to New York ahead of its fifth season debut this fall, the star herself hadn’t commented publicly about it until O’Dell asked her to share her reasoning.

“I love this question because I haven’t actually been able to talk about this a lot,” Clarkson replied. “I even talked to my crew back in January … I was like, ‘You guys’ — and it was through tears, ’cause I have built such an amazing group of people.”

She continued, “Obviously, we’ve been very successful, and I love everybody I work with, and we have such great relationships. So I talked to them because I was like, ‘Guys I need you to know what’s happening. It’s either I’m not going to be able to continue with the show, or I got to go East Coast.'”

Clarkson then explained that her family lives in North Carolina, just a one-hour flight away from New York, and that since COVID lockdowns, she’d felt more and more isolated from them.

“I feel like our family — like me and my kids — really needed a fresh start,” she said on Talk Shop Live. “We could not get it here (in L.A.) and there was just hurdle after hurdle with things and I was like, ‘You know what? I gotta go East Coast.'”

Clarkson also said she’d decided that, at 41, she is “too old” to “work in an environment that isn’t always healthy and fun,” adding that she’d spent years working with people who were “incredibly mean.”

It’s not clear who Clarkson was talking about, but on May 12, Rolling Stone reported that 11 past and present employees of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” had complained about working in a toxic environment, although they all said they believed Clarkson was unaware of any issues behind the scenes. That night, Clarkson issued a statement promising that she and show executives would undergo leadership training and that her New York team would be “comprised of the best and kindest in the business.”

Clarkson continued, “That was 100 percent my idea. And it was really cool that NBC back made because I was like, ‘Y’all I love doing this show. I really do. I gotta make a change for me and like, my family.’ I was like, ‘So, any chance we could maybe do this? I know we can’t do it from my ranch. So, any chance we could do it in, like, New York?'”

Clarkson’s show will be filmed at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in front of a studio audience in Studio 6A, which has been home to late-night shows hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman. According to Variety, a “new state-of-the-art studio will be built” for Clarkson’s show ahead of its fifth season kickoff this fall.

Another reason Clarkson’s excited to live in New York is that she hopes to eventually appear on Broadway, and revealed that she’s been “writing something right now” for a future show. She said she’s not interested in acting for TV or movies, where there are multiple takes, but is excited by the live component of Broadway shows.

“I think that’s fascinating and there’s a different kind of energy to that you don’t get anywhere else,” she said.

But Clarkson’s immediate priorities this summer, she said, are to plant roots in New York with her kids and make sure her show is ready for fall.

“I’m getting my show settled,” she said, “and we’re establishing an amazing crew. We’re figuring stuff out, you know, on the inside … we’re gonna have a great time and a great workplace.”

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