It is a pleasure to finally have The Voice back, baby! Oh, how I have missed it. This is the first Blind Audition of season 7 and we also have the addition of two new coaches: Gwen Stefani (Holla!) and Pharrell Williams (and his smaller hat!) All are eager to mentor new talent, and help someone else achieve their musical dreams.
Of course, everyone knows that coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are the backbone of The Voice, but I am waiting to see the chemistry of all the coaches together. I think it will be awesome.
So who will get the first four-chair turn this season? Let’s find out!
The coaches hit the stage and perform “Hella Good.” They are amazing together.
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Luke Wade (“That’s How Strong My Love Is”)
This 31-year-old soul singer is from Dublin, Texas. He has been on the road for years as a struggling singer. As a teenager, he suffered a horrific accident when a friend shot him in the eye during a game of paintball. Losing the vision in his right eye taught him that life is fleeting.
It doesn’t take long for all four coaches to turn their chairs once Luke starts singing. I really like his tone and delivery. Adam stands on his chair to demonstrate his enthusiasm while the rest of the coaches give a standing ovation. Pharrell tells Luke that he knows a bit about “blue-eyed soul” and drops the names Justin and Robin. Blake is pretty confident that Pharrell can make an incredible record with Luke — once he wins with Blake.
Result: Luke chooses Pharrell
Clara Hong (“Chuck E.’s in Love”)
This 22-year-old was born in South Korea and moved to the US when she was 8. She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She learned English from listening to American music. Against her parents’ wishes, she decided to pursue music instead of college. She is also a huge Pharrell fan.
It takes me a while to get into the performance, but Adam, Gwen and Pharrell all turn for her. Pharrell compliments her tone by calling it “silk” and she replies, “You’re silk. Your voice! Your voice!” Hilarious! Gwen asks for a mike and demonstrates how she gets the audience into the performance. Adam, meanwhile, decides his best course of action is to write a love poem. It’s actually pretty good until Pharrell stands up and delivers an even better poem on the fly.
Result: Clara chooses Adam
Bryana Salaz (“Problem”)
She is a 16-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, who has moved all around the country because her dad is in the military. Her father, who is ill, was unable to be at the competition, but he gave her a necklace to wear during her performance.
Adam turns his chair first, followed by Blake and Gwen. So who will Bryana pick as her coach? Blake hones in on the fact that she is from Texas. Gwen puts it out there that she has had the longest career of all of them. Adam mentions that he did listen to Gwen’s music when he was a child. He hurries over to hug her and apologize. Pharrell doesn’t get a vote in this contest, but he throws his support to Gwen, “his Boo,” anyway. Blake is befuddled because he doesn’t know what a “Boo” is.
Result: Bryana chooses Gwen
Dennis Bell (“She Used to Be Mine”)
This dirt contractor hails from Mansfield, Louisiana, where he works in the family business. He is 52 years old and has always dreamed of pursuing his passion, but he had to step into the family business after his father’s death. He doesn’t get any chairs to turn, but the coaches encourage him to continue singing.
Damien (“It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”)
He is from Monroe, Louisiana. He works for the TSA at LAX, and was involved in an incident where his co-worker was shot and killed. Damien sang at his co-worker’s funeral.
His soulful voice is just magical. Adam, Gwen and Pharrell turn their chairs almost instantly. Finally, Blake joins the party and turns his chair. When Damien bursts into tears, Gwen runs up to comfort him. Blake feels that Damien is a stand-out, and professes his love. Pharrell reiterates that Damien deserved the four-chair turn.
Result: Damien chooses Adam
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Allison Bray (“Merry Go ‘Round”)
This Louisville, Kentucky, singer auditioned for the sixth season of The Voice but didn’t get a chair to turn.
This performance is good, and Blake and Gwen turn at the same time, followed by Adam. Blake loves her pitch, and her voice. Pharrell didn’t turn because he feels that Allison would be best suited to Blake’s team. What can Blake possibly say to Pharrell for this kindness? He embraces Pharrell and tells him that “You’re my Boo.” Gwen praises Allison’s voice and stresses her ability to go outside of the box.
Result: Allison chooses Blake
Megg (“Celebrity Skin”)
This 23-year-old is from Redondo Beach, California. She went to school for music, and Gwen Stefani is one of her idols. Sadly, she doesn’t get any chairs to turn. Blake cites Megg’s enunciation as the reason he didn’t turn. Gwen praised Megg’s aggressive voice.
Taylor John Williams (“Heartless”)
This folk singer, from Portland, Oregon, has been waiting for his big break.
I love his voice and delivery. Adam pushes his button, followed by Gwen. Gwen is impressed by Taylor’s creativity and his vibe. She even tells him that working with him will help inspire her to write her next record. Gwen also says that it is hot in the room, and Adam points out that the singer “is making Gwen Stefani hot.” Seriously, can I hire this panel to be at my next party?
Result: Taylor chooses Gwen
Elyjuh Rene (“XO”)
This 18-year-old singer from Long Beach, California, enjoys singing soul and R&B. Elyjuh’s single mother is very supportive and is his manager.
His voice is amazing, and he has a fantastic range. Both Pharrell and Adam turn their chairs. Pharrell praises Elyjuh as “one of the most amazing vocalists that I’ve seen in a long time.”
Result: Elyjuh chooses Pharrell
Bianca Espinol (“Foolish Games”)
This singer is from New York, New York. She sings with her father in the New York subways.
Her voice is good, but her performance seems overdramatic. She doesn’t get any coaches to turn. Pharrell feels that she was singing to the coaches, rather than for herself. He even goes onstage to hug her when she starts crying.
James David Carter (“Nobody Knows”)
This singer from Atlanta, Georgia, was hoping to play football when he suffered a career-ending injury. He has been working as a solo musician for the past 12 years.
I love how his voice is so full of character and emotion. All four chairs turn for James, and that is not shocking at all. Adam once again climbs up on his chair, so Gwen does him one better and perches on the very tip of her chair. Blake, unfortunately, informs us he can’t get on the back of his chair because he is too tipsy, but he calls James’ performance perhaps the best country audition he has seen on The Voice. Adam thinks that James could win with him on his team.
Result: James chooses Blake
So after the first night of Blind Auditions, each coach has acquired two singers for their teams.
Tune in Tuesday night as the Blind Auditions continue!
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)