The Voice returned Monday night for season 7. Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams have joined Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in the big red swivel chairs.

After the first night of the Blind Auditions, each coach has two artists on their team. Those eight contestants talked with reporters, including BuddyTV, today during a conference call. Read on to find out what they had to say about the coaches (and their antics), getting a second chance and using music to overcome tragedy.

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How to Pick a Coach 101

When multiple coaches turn their chairs around, then it’s up to the contestant to choose which team to be on. It can usually be a tough decision, and many of last night’s singers said that it’s not always so cut and dry, even if it’s obvious to the viewers (for example, a country singer picking Blake).

Elyjuh Rene, who sang Beyonce’s “XO,” had to choose between Pharell and Adam. He said that it truly is hard to make a decision. Going in to the audition, it’s not uncommon for the singers to know which coach they want already. But Elyjuh revealed that “We were told not to do that in the beginning” because they might feel differently once the coaches start talking and making their case. If they follow that advice, they might go with a coach that wasn’t on their radar beforehand.

Luke Wade, who performed “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” echoed that statement, saying that you might not know how the coaches will feel about you. So when they start talking, “If the person you liked the most or the person you wanted the most doesn’t seem to be saying the right things or having the right perceptions about you, then you want to go with the person who gets you.” For Luke, he ultimately picked Pharrell over the other three because the “Happy” artist had the perfect thing to say to him including, “I want to show America who Luke Wade is.”

Do the Coaches’ Crazy Antics Sway the Contestants?

The Voice is known for having coaches that do all sorts of crazy antics and joking around to persuade the singers to pick them. Last night was no exception. Pharrell name-dropped artists he’s worked with, Gwen joined Clara on stage to show her how to pull in the audience, Adam wrote a poem and even stood on his chair — then Gwen eventually one-upped him by standing on the top of the chair.

At another point, Gwen said it was getting hot in the room after Taylor John Williams performed Kanye West’s “Heartless.” While Taylor said on the call that something like that could be a distraction and “It was flattering to hear” and “kinda cool,” there were other comments that helped to persuade him, like her “pinning me as a writer based on how I sing a cover,” and even saying that working with him will help to inspire her with her next record. He’s not sure how serious she was with that latter statement, but it was “incredible to hear her say that.”

Clara Hong thought the poem Adam wrote for her following her “Chuck E.’s in Love” performance “was cute,” “awesome” and “fun,” to use her words. But that wasn’t what made her pick him. Instead, he “seemed so excited and energetic.”

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If You Fall Down, Get Right Back Up

We’ve seen it time and again on all of the singing and talent competition shows: a contestant is eliminated early on in the season (or even right away at the audition), but decides to come back and try again. We saw that last night with country music singer Allison Bray, who auditioned in season 6 — but nobody turned their chairs for her.

That first tryout was overwhelming to her, and she let it set in that she didn’t make it to the next round. Something like that can make you second guess if you should go back. But she was determined not to give up after. Allison said that even though she “fell flat on national TV, it’s going to push me even harder to come back and redeem myself.”

Comparing her first audition to last night’s rendition of Kacey Musgrave’s “Merry Go ‘Round,” Allison admitted that it was “just as nerve-wracking” this time around. She worked on what the coaches wanted her to work on, and felt she listened to what they had to say and improved. One thing she learned was not to get in her head so much and not let the pressure get to her.

Allison went in with an open mindset this time in terms of picking a coach “and maybe that’s what worked out for me.” She did really want to go with Gwen as she was talking to her. But then she thought back to her season 6 audition and Blake had a lot of positive things to say (along with suggesting areas to work on), so she went with Blake.

Dealing with Tragedy and How Music Helped

On any of these talent shows, some singers come on and share their stories of tragedy and inspiration. For Damien, a TSA agent at LAX, his co-worker was killed after a shooting incident.

He shared that it’s tough to talk about that tragedy and to relive it, but it’s getting easier to talk about it now. Though during the first four months, he couldn’t talk about it at all or even watch the news. He went through therapy, which “guided me on dealing with PTSD.” At times, it’s still hard, which is obviously understandable, but “music is therapy for me” and “talking about it is healing.” 


The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.