As NBC readies its first-year round season of "The Voice" for spring 2013, one judge that likely won't be returning to their chair is Christina Aguilera.
In an interview with Billboard on Tuesday afternoon, Aguilera expressed her concern that the top-rated show has "kept me away from my heart, which is creating my own music. It's been a joy to be a part of other people's journey, to be able to inspire and be a part of new singers coming up in this business ... but I was staring to get really worried and concerned that I wouldn't have the time to go and be an artist again."
The 31-year-old singer is prepping a new album set for release later this fall, with first single "Your Body" due to radio and iTunes within the next week, according to executives familiar with plans. She's set to do a live Q&A on Twitter Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET to officially announce the name and release date of the project.
Aguilera was quick to praise "The Voice" executive producer Mark Burnett and NBC for creating the option to opt out and eventually return to future seasons, however.
"Mark made it very clear that these chairs are always our chairs," she says. "He said, 'I understand the only reason the show's going to work is if it doesn't get stale.' And he totally understood that I needed something to fulfill my creative soul, and said 'this chair will always be yours to come back to whenever you do what makes you the best.'"
And returning for future seasons is still very much in the cards, she added. "I'll probably be back. I just need to do my thing for a minute then I can come back and be that much better of a coach," she says. "I just need a second to get back to me."
Monday night's premiere of "The Voice" delivered a 4.1 rating among adults 18-49, with 12 million overall viewers.