It's official: Keith Urban will not return to the panel of celebrity coaches on The Voice next year.
Rumours had been swirling that the country music superstar would not commit to a second season of the hit Australian show. Channel Nine confirmed today that Urban will not return.
Urban, who is based in Nashville with his wife Nicole Kidman, has urged Australians to keep watching.
"I've been so fortunate to have been a part of The Voice. And as much as I'd love to do it again, it's clear that the recording and promoting of a new album, a tour and other commitments will keep me from being a part of the second season," Urban said through a statement released by Nine.
He passed on his thanks to the other coaches involved in the show, plus the contestants from series one.
"To everyone who sang on the show, I thank you; you've inspired not just me, but countless others. To everyone behind the scenes and to my on-camera family - Darren [Hayes from Savage Garden], Delta [Goodrem], Joel [Madden] and Seal, thank you for making it so much fun," Urban said.
The singer and songwriter is believed to be considering a multimillion-dollar offer from American Idol in the US, as a member of its high-profile judging panel.
But it was his popularity on the Australian that which made the US television industry sit up and take notice.
Urban gained an enormous following while on the first series of The Voice, which cemented his name in Australia as a lot more than just "Mr Kidman".
Despite being a multiple Grammy winner and a genuine superstar in the US, he had struggled at times to gain traction with the mainstream market in Australia as a huge artist in his own right.
But his gentle, insightful and heartfelt observations (not to mention singing along to all the songs) on The Voice changed all of that, with Urban's popularity now sky-high in Australia.
Nine has refused to reveal who will be Urban's replacement on the show, but a number of artists have already been rumoured, including Darren Hayes (who appeared as a mentor in the first series) or another major US name such as Will.I.am from the Black Eyed Peas.
Urban's decision has already prompted speculation about whether Nine should opt for an Australian coach to be used in his place.
Goodrem and Urban were considered the Australian contingent on the panel, with Seal and Madden considered the "international" coaches.
David Campbell has already taken to twitter to start a campaign for his legendary father, Jimmy Barnes, to be Nine's new coach.
Campbell wrote: "Sad to hear the Keith Urban has left #TheVoiceAu .. let's get this trending.. #TeamJimmy ..It has a loud ring to it...I like it."
Michael Healy, Nine Network's director of television today said: "We were really happy to have Keith as part of the inaugural Voice crew and, of course, he will always remain part of The Voice family in Australia. We are currently in negotiations with superstar musicians to fill the coaching roles in 2013."
He said an announcement about the 2013 line-up would happen soon.