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'The Voice's' Christina Aguilera Returns Refreshed and Ready to Rumble

"I felt like coming back was like my first day back at school," says the singer who returns to NBC's competition for season five.

Christina Aguilera on The Voice Season 5 - P 2013
Trae Patton/NBC

Christina Aguilera is back and better than ever.

The platinum blonde pop singer spent three seasons mentoring aspiring singers on The Voice before taking a break for season four. Now, she's returning to the red rotating chair once again to help mold the next music superstar.

"[I wanted to] live my life for a second outside of the bubble of this red chair," she tells The Hollywood Reporter and a small group of reporters at an intimate dinner in West Hollywood. "And it's important to give back to yourself so that you can then re-give to others, and give in a new way. So that's been nice and it's been refreshing."

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Aguilera seems quite refreshed, excited and happy in her own skin, a demeanor she's determined to share with the group of singers she'll mentor in season five. During her season off from the show, Aguilera spent time with her son Max and has slimmed down her petite figure.

"Right now I'm in an interesting place," she says. "It's learning how to better care for and protect and nurture yourself. And I'm giving these kids that coaching advice on my team this year, and I'm trying to get them to step, sometimes, away from the competition of it."

In season five, Aguilera will reunite with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green, who is also returning after a season away.

"I know this might sound a little probably cliche when I go, 'You're brothers, you're family.' But it's really the truth," she says. "I felt like coming back was like my first day back at school."

Aguilera has yet to win a season of The Voice, which will return for season five on Monday, Sept. 23, on NBC. She tells THR that she's looking for a "signature" when picking her contestants.

"It's a quality that just sort of stands alone," she says. "It's something that's felt. And that's what I've always done in that chair. You have to just go with what you feel, because there's nothing you can see."

The pop singer, who has already taped the blind auditions for this season, kept quiet about the members of her team, but said she often gravitates toward younger talent.

"I always like to go for underdogs," she says. "You know, just to mold the younger talent. Just because I've been there."

The Voice season five premieres on Monday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. on NBC.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford