Christina Aguilera is in full album mode, meaning she's releasing singles — rejoice in the glory that is "Fall in Line" — and talking to every major magazine, spilling years worth of tea. In a new interview with W Magazine, Xtina finally opened up about her time on The Voice and her rumored feud with Gwen Stefani.
"It was such a hamster wheel," Aguilera said, sounding dismayed by the memory. She had signed on as one of The Voice's original judges, along with Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton, in 2011, sometime after the release of Bionic, her foray into electronic music (and a critical and commercial flop of sorts, though it still has a certain fandom today). In case you're the rare person who has never seen it, the NBC competition show's gimmick is that its judges sit in huge chairs with their backs to the contestants, so as to make their decisions solely on the quality of the singing. It smartly played to Aguilera's strengths, at least at first. "And then I felt like things really started to shift and change," she said. "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 laughed. "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? 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."
Xtina also clears up the reason behind her exit from the show in 2016, making it clear that it had nothing to do with the romance between Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, who tabloids alleged she was feuding with.
"Oh my God, no...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...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. But just know that I was a fighter behind the scenes."
But Aguilera explained that she was grateful for the lessons working on The Voice taught her. "Once again, I found myself in that place where I'm being told what to do, what's going to be acceptable or unacceptable, what's okay or not okay...It's like, God, you know, I'm a mother of two now...the genie is out of the bottle."