The Voice 9 Premiere Recap Part 1 – Live Blog and VIDEOS
The Voice returns for its NINTH season tonight, hot on the heels of a big Emmys win! Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams returns to the coaching panel. Gwen Stefani joins them after skipping the spring cycle.
If you’re into spoilers and such, click here for a very detailed report on tonight’s premiere Blind Auditions. Or, just sit back and allow the magic to unfold! Heh.
The show opens…the coaches walk out in SLO MO. The voice overs are all about HOW FREAKING AWESOME THE VOICE IS! Next, it’s the now traditional coaches medley to kick off the new season. This time around, they cover each other’s songs. Gwen sings Blake’s “Neon LIghts.” Blake sings a nasally “Don’t Speak by Gwen. Pharrell sings a sweetly soulful “Sugar” by Adam Levine and Maroon 5. His version is really good! And to round it out, Adam sings Pharrell’s “Get Lucky.” Everybody joins in for the big finish.
In case you needed a reminder—Pharrell won season 8 with young singer, Sawyer Fredericks. It’s not all about Pharrell the coach says. Aw…the coaches brought welcome back presents for Gwen!
Mark Hood – 24 – Chicago – Use Me by Bill Withers – He’s got a lot of energy! And lots of heart. He grew up singing in church. His mom got mad when she found him listening to Usher at 11. Oops. She didn’t think it was appropriate. His parents sent him off to an agricultural high school because the kids were polite. WHAT. Music class gave him an opportunity to shine. Out of high school, he hit community theater. He played a dead guy on television once. He works bit parts. He really wants a coach who will push him. like Blake. Pharrell hits his button first! Blake is next. Mark has a slinky, sexy soulful tenor. Lots of personality in that voice. He brings acting chops to his performance. Gwen and Blake turn last. The coaches are smiling their heads off. Mark is freaking out at 4 chairs. Adam loves his infectious energy. Gwen calls him undeniable and believable. Gwen mentions that she’s recording a record. “We could have a lot of fun together.” Pharrell loves his jazzy runs, and it was never too much. They’d have fun picking songs, he said. Blake also loves his energy and crazy dancing. Pharrell asks what kind of music he wants to sing. “John Legend meets Pharrell.” Blake dons a Pharrell cap to sway him. Adam compares him to the fisherman in Jaws or Cap’n Crunch. Ha. OF COURSE Mark chooses Pharrell.
Kota Wade – Bring it On Home to Me – She lives in Los Angeles and works at Amplifier with her parents. Carson interviews the family at their family business. She’s an obvious recruit. They moved from New Mexico together to promote Gwen’s career. She tears up a little thinking about how supportive they’ve been. She’s got long purple hair and a hippie dress. She’s got a soulful vibe, but her voice is thin and a little shouty. She’s pushing it out of her range. This was probably not the song for her. She sings in a rock band, Bad Wolf. But she did get Gwen, Pharrell and Blake to turn, so there’s that. Kota says Gwen is her fashion icon. Gwen could see them in a band together. Pharrell loves that she’s doing it her way. Blake calls her a modern day Cyndi Lauper. Adam says Blake isn’t just a bad coach on paper, but a bad coach period. Ha ha. Kota teases that they all have a chance. But not really, because she picks the obvious. Kota chooses Gwen. She’s been a fan since 5th grade.
Keith Semple – 33 – I’ll Be There For You by Bon Jovi – This lad is from Northern Ireland, but lives in Chicago now. His mom is also a musician, his dad introduced him to classic rock. In 2006, he joined the band 7th Heaven. (When American Idol alum, Anthony Fedorov, was fired from 7th Heaven, Keith stepped in to take his place. The band has a large following). The band is successful, but he realizes it’s not him filling the seats. It’s time to make a name for himself. He’s got a family and small child to take care of and is looking to provide for them. Hm. He’s a decent, competent pop rocker, but I’m not jumping up and down. And neither are the coaches. He gets Adam and Gwen (last minute) to turn. He’s got a super generic sound. I’d never pick his voice out of a crowd, to be honest. Gwen mentions that she’s Irish too. Then, they both brag they know Bono. Sheesh! He loves his retro vibe and powerful voice. Gwen likes his melodic dynamics, and different than what’s on the radio now (Uh. That’s really not a plus. Probably why Pharrell didn’t turn). Blake pimps Gwen and urges Pharrell to do the same. The pimping has no effect. Keith chooses Adam.
Alyssa Sheridan – “I Remember You” by Sarah Mclachlan – She’s in nursing school presently. She Dedicates her song to her step dad who died in service while her mom was pregnant with her little sister. Stationed in Afghanistan, a bomb went off prematurely. She just graduated high school. She’s a newbie with a major backstory. But she has pitch problems and a voice that lacks dynamics or originality. The family is in the green room crying. Sadly, no one turns. But she did get to dedicate a song to her dad in front of millions of people. Adam tells her to keep singing! Pharrell suggests she work on the technicalities so she can come back next time and slay it. Gwen notes the song is hard to sing, with lots of long notes.
Siahna Kim – 15 – Fever – She’s Asian and French Canadian. Petite and cute, with a bit of a southern accent. She’s SUPER DUPER QUIRKY with her braces and cute little hat! She considers herself an “old soul.” No kidding. She’s got a husky, husky mature singing voice. Soulful, and wise beyond her years, like a female Sawyer Fredericks. But she talks like a wee little girl. Very, VERY unusual. They’ve all turned, except for Adam. Gwen is especially enthusiastic, hooting and hollering along. After Siahna calls Pharrell Grandmaster Skater P, Pharrell one ups Gwen. He walks up to the stage and hugs Sihna. “Regardless of what happens, I wanted you on my team,” he tells her. Adam calls Pharrell “Bigfoot.” Blake advises her to hone her “bullrap meter.” Gwen pushes her band credentials and that she was a teen when she started. Blake promises he’ll do everything he can to make her a star. But, her heart was set on Pharrell, and that’s why Siahna chooses Pharrell.
Jordan Smith – Chandelier by Sia – Harlan Kentucky – Next is a “Mystery Singer” we hear the voice, but like the coaches we don’t see him/her. Everybody quickly turns, Adam a little later, and then we see a chubby white guy. But he sings in a high soulful tenor. He’s got a unique sound. While his speaking voice is feminine, his singing voice sounds like a masculine, soulful tenor, reminiscent of old soul singers like Eddie Kendricks. Jordan doesn’t have a pop star look, but I bet he could kill it in gospel. Gwen runs up on stage “OMG YOU SHOCKED ME!” He doesn’t look like he sounds and she calls it “trippy.” Pharrell is impressed by all the “individuality” on stage. Adam thinks he’s ready after nailing a tough song. Jordan talks about growing up in a small town, singing in church. He gets called ma’am on the phone and in drive thrus. But he accepts his high voice as a gift from God. Gwen feels connected to him. “You moved me so much today.” Adam calls him the most “important person” to ever be on the show. REALLY? Maybe the hyperbole got to him, but Jordan chooses Adam who calls him a “ray of light.” Jordan cries afterward.
Dr. Paul – 66 – Mama Tried by Merle Haggard – The doc lives in a log cabin in Appalachia, and sports a long, long white beard. He got his nickname “doc” in the army. He played music through the 70’s but quit when he married and had children. When he lost his job 15 years ago, he turned to music and has carved out a little career for himself, playing gigs. He wants to leave something for his children. He wants a recording contract. Doc’s gravelly country crooning was so obviously old school, and although Blake swears it’s not the reason (he was flat at the end of his phrases) it’s probably why nobody turned.
Nadjah Nicole – 23 – Tightrope by Janelle Monae – She went to military school, where she played political events. Eventually, she performed a huge show at the Apollo. Nadjah left for college, where her career progressed further. Then she got pregnant, and that stalled the career. She broke up with the father of her two year old last year. She works at a bank, and gigs when she can. She chooses “Tightrope” because it represents her as an artist. Knowing is half the battle! And she acquits herself ably, even if the performance of “Tightrope” lacks the infectious energy of the original. She’s not offering the coaches as much as she could to impress them. Pharrell might have turned otherwise. But Nadjah can sing! She does hit a big, big last glory note, and it seals the deal. Adam and Blake turn. Adam goes on about how Blake doesn’t know who Janelle Monae is. “I was blown away,” he says. Blake says she couldn’t be any cuter! “I don’t know who the hell Janelle is,” he says, “but I turned around for Nadjah!” Blake wants to make her a star and it works! Surprisingly, Nadjah chooses Blake! Blake got his first artist.
Next is a The Voice inspired promo for Hotel Transylvania 2. SYNERGY BABY.
Braiden Sunshine – 15 – The Mountains Win Again by Blues Travellers – NOT A STAGE NAME PEOPLE. He’s been singing since he was nine. He joined a band called “Silver Hammer” with fellow school boys. The rest are older and off to college, so he’s on his own now. Sawyer Fredericks inspired him to audition. Another kid with a really mature voice. It’s so smooth and full of character. He’s singing, acoustic guitar in hand, like he means it. The coaches should be surprised by the cherubic, bespeckled, curly haired kid when they turn. IF they turn. Gwen and Pharrell turn at the very last minute! “You’re so amazing! says Gwen. Pharrell calls him special, “You have an old soul. There will never be anyone like you.” Pharrell promises to help him grow. Gwen is a mother of 3 boys. SHE knows how to help him. “If you choose me, it would make my day…Mr. Sunshine, choose me!” Blake compares Gwen and Pharrell fighting for Braiden to a custody battle. in the end, Braiden chooses Gwen. He’s probably got a little crush on her. Heh.
Michael Woolery – Los Angeles CA – Say by John Mayer – He is Chuck Woolery’s son and the great-grandson of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Grandson of Dave Nelson. Chuck is here. He taught him a few guitar chords. His family lived in Park City Utah for awhile. He was a competitive skier, but after an injury, it was over. That same year, his grandfather died. It was tough. Michael currently works at a jewelry store as a salesperson. He longs to find his own identity in the family. He’s got some pitchy stuff going on here and there, but he’s got a lovely tone and an emotional delivery. No one turns! Adam didn’t feel self-confidence, although there were great moments. Gwen thought he was oversinging. Pharrell suggests he perform for crowds that are super-tough, so the songs become second nature. Oof. That’s gotta be embarrassing not to impress with all that family history. Ozzy was a band leader, and Harriett a singer. Of course, great-uncle Ricky, was a pioneer of country rock. A long, long legacy there.
Barrett Baber – 35 – Fayetteville AR – “Angel Eyes” by the Jeff Healey Band – His missionary parents moved the family to Africa for awhile. He was involved in a terrible plane accident. He found a hole in the airplane and get out. He lost fellow members of the choir he was travelling with. He experienced survivor’s guilt, until he met his wife and had children. He teaches high school speech and drama currently. He’s looking forward to learning so much from the coaches. Four turns are really really quick! Blake requests that he “Calls in the Hogs” aka the college football Razorbacks, and he does, with help from his family. He’s a good ole boy! “I can tell by your vocals that you love all styles,” Adam enthused. “That’s why you’re one of my favorites.” Adam was practically jumping out of his seat, doing that “try hard” thing he always does. Gwen pitched herself with the tidbit that she grew up on folk music and bluegrass. Pharrell admitted that he pressed his button because he heard so much soul, “Whatever this is, it deserves four chairs to turn…” Blake says, “I think a combination of you and I blazing a path…I’m not kidding, it’s like watching Garth [Brooks] up there.” and of course, Barrett chooses Blake explaining that he’s an “icon of country music.
Tomorrow at 8/7c pm…TWO more hours of Blind Auditions! Join us then.