The Voice is back for season 6! Shakira and Usher return to the coaching panel with the former champs, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. While I will miss the antics and drama that Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green bring, Shakira and Usher have some tricks up their sleeves and pull no punches in trying to get singers on their teams. This should be a fun season!
The coaches kick off the show with each of them performing the other’s hit songs. It is mostly hilarious to see Blake singing a Shakira song.
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Christina Grimmie (“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus)
With 2 million subscribers on YouTube, Christina is no stranger to performing for a large audience. However, performing on stage is a big change from the comfort of your own home and she is nervous about that change. Her mother has battled breast cancer three times and is Christina’s constant inspiration.
Well, she did not need to be nervous about performing on a stage because she is awesome. I love her voice, she has a huge range. It doesn’t take long for a four chair turn, with Blake finally being won over by her big note.
Despite the enthusiasm of the other judges, Adam wins the four chair turn (as always) and Christina is on Team Adam.
T.J. Wilkins (“Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John)
Carson is meeting with some of the contestants prior to their performances so that we can get to know them better. T.J. grew up in south central LA and his mother kept him out of trouble by enrolling him in a performing arts school. He wants music to be his way out for good.
He has a smooth voice and he makes it to the performance. He’s engaging on stage. I was a little skeptical about the song choice, but he certainly makes it his own. He gets everyone to turn around but Shakira.
Usher finds him creative and believes a good R&B record is in him, while Blake is impressed with his falsetto and range. T.J. chooses Team Usher because he has looked up to him for a long time.
Kristen Merlin (“Something More” by Sugarland)
Kristen has always been musically inclined and sings a lot of genres, but gravitates toward country. She won a contest with Sugarland and sang with them on stage which clinched her desire to sing professionally. While she may look like a rocker, she hopes that Blake turns around for her.
Her voice is strong, and while she may not look country, she sure sounds country. Though she doesn’t get a chair turn from Blake, Adam and Shakira turn around. Blake explains that he wants her to go for Shakira which is why he didn’t push his button.
Despite Adam’s enthusiasm, Shakira pulls out all the stops with her plea (including promising to ask Miranda Lambert for help and that she will have the support of her millions of followers) and Kristen likes it because she ends up going with Team Shakira.
Tanner Linford (“Stay” by Rihanna)
He looks about 12-years-old, but he is in fact 16. I can hear the fangirls already. He’s looking forward to being judged not for his size, but the size of his voice. He actually has a deeper voice when he sings. He sounds nervous at the start and a bit off pitch. I’m not sure he’s going to get a chair turn because it is a pretty shaky performance.
Yup, he doesn’t get a chair turn, but the coaches encourage him to find the emotional connection with his songs in the future and to nourish his talent.
Biff Gore (“A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke)
This 45-year-old father of five with another baby on the way sings soulful music in his church. He brings his brother with him, He watches a video from his wife and kids. He wants to leave a legacy for his family.
He sings one line and Adam turns around for him, followed quickly by Blake and Shakira and eventually by Usher. He does a supreme high kick when he finishes which is amazing. Usher likes his individuality and Adam wants to be a part of his classic artistry. Blake feels like he was taken to church, but apparently Biff likes Usher’s abs and chooses Team Usher.
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Dawn & Hawkes (“I’ve Just Seen a Face” by The Beatles)
The first duo to audition so far, this couple have been performing and writing songs together for a few years. I don’t usually enjoy the duos, but these two are too cute. All of their success hinges on music, so they are going for it with this audition.
As cute as they are off stage, they are even better on stage. I like their arrangement of this song and their harmonies are so nice. I have a feeling they will go really far. Adam and Shakira turn around immediately. Adam calls it his favorite performance ever on The Voice, and while Shakira agrees, they like what Adam had to say more and pick Team Adam. Which does seem like a better fit.
Leo Gallo (“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke)
As a singer, dancer and former boy band member, this guy has it all. He is looking to see if he has what it takes to be make it on his own, rather than as part of an ensemble.
He’s got a Lenny Kravitz vibe with those aviators. He has a great range and has some interesting dance moves, but it never seems to really get on its feet as a performance and no one turns around for him.
Jeremy Briggs (“Bad Company” by Bad Company)
This former athlete turned classic rocker works a 9 to 5 job to pay the bills. He wants to let his music take center stage in his life and hopes to leave the desk job behind.
He has a total classic rock voice, I can’t help but think Cee Lo would have loved to coach him. Both Blake and Shakira turn around for him and battle it out. Shakira argues that she is hungry for success on the show and is dedicated to his success as well. It’s hard to argue with that and Jeremy picks Team Shakira.
Jake Worthington (“Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley)
Returning after not making it in season 5, Jake is ready to try his “Jake Shake” on stage again. Blake advised the country singer last time to work on his breathing, which he has done since the performance.
He has grown so much since his first audition. He sounds like a different guy! Adam, Shakira and Blake turn around. Shakira tries to get a word in edgewise but instead has to endure the annoying comments from Adam and Blake about how a singer could only want her as a coach because she is sexy. Okay, boys, leave your sexism at the door and let the country singer choose the country coach. He goes with Team Blake, obviously.
Karina Mia (“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth)
This singer-songwriter has been working at music for years and wants to have music be her day job. She considers herself an indie artist and hopes the coaches see her passion.
I love her husky voice right away, but she sounds off pitch and so nervous. No one turns for her, but Blake tells her that her mid-range was strong and she needs to work on her higher register.
Bria Kelly (“Steamroller Blues” by James Taylor)
This 17-year-old soul singer may be young, but she already has a lot of experience under her belt having opened for Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert. She is most inspired by her parents, who have supported her pursuing music while still in school. Bria hopes Adam will turn around.
She starts with a huge note that gets Blake and Adam to turn around immediately. I love her passion and intensity. She has a raw edginess to her voice, I am almost concerned she is going to blow her voice. Shakira and Usher turn around as well and this is the third four chair turn of the night.
The coaches pull out all the stops, with Usher even pulling out his Grammy trying to win her over. Despite her wanting Adam at the start, the Grammy works and she surprisingly picks Team Usher!
So after night one, Adam has two singers, Shakira has two, Usher has three and Blake has one.
The Voice Blind Auditions continue on Tuesday at 8pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)