Tonight, Season 7 of The Voice finally premieres with the first of the Blind Audition Rounds! Long-time judges/coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are joined by two newcomers,though they have a lot of experience in the musical world, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.
During the Blind Audition Rounds, the four judges will begin the process of building their teams, trying to form the best team possible. They will not be facing the competitors, but will judge how well each might fit into the individual judges’ teams “blind,” based on their singing voices alone. If just one judge pushes his/her button and turns his/her chair around, then the singer will become a member of that judge’s team. However, if more than one judge turns their chairs around, the contestant gets to choose which team he or she wants to be on, of the judges who turned around their chairs.
These initial Blind Audition Rounds took place over the summer. Viewers across America will get to see who the judges decide to choose beginning tonight by watching The Voice, hosted by Carson Daly. Patience plays a big role in who develops the best team, as once a judge has selected his or her team members, then he or she has to just sit and wait as the other judges continue to hear contestants sing and finish assembling their teams. Yet, sometimes trying to be too patient, a judge might let an excellent singer slip through his/her fingers, so a degree of strategy is definitely involved.
Which of the judges will end up with the best team after the Blind Audition Rounds? That depends quite a bit on their selections of team members, beginning tonight! Pharrell Williams is certainly up for the challenge, having told Billboard in an interview four days ago that he wanted “to follow in Blake Shelton’s footsteps,” and be successful his very first season on The Voice. No doubt that the band No Doubt’s frontwoman, Gwen Stefani, wants to prevent that from happening, and have the season’s winner on her team ather than Pharrell’s, Blake’s or Adam’s.
The Voice began with all four coaches performing together on the stage. The song they all sang was Keep On Dancing. They ROCKED the SONG OUT! The song is an energetic one and the audience got into it, standing up the entire time the coaches sang.
The first singer trying out this season during the Blind Audition Rounds was Luke Wade of Texas. He said his mom owned a dance studio and he has been a professional musician for 11 years. Due to an accident involving a friend with a gun, he is blind in his right eye.
The song that Luke sang for his Blind Auditions was That’s How Strong My Love Is. All four coaches pushed their buttons and turned their chairs around — that is how good Luke sang. He NAILED it!
Each of the judges then made their pitch for Luke to be one his/her team. Gewn asked if he was a “professional singer,” and he said yes, “for 12 years.”
Pharrell dropped names like “Justin,” and said “I know what to do with that voice.”
Gwen said “I’m all fresh and excited, so I can really give you a lot of focus.”
Blake dropped a few names of his own, like the people he has taken to the “Winner’s Circle” during past seasons on The Voice.
Luke finally made his decision, saying “I choose Pharrell.” Pharrell Williams became the first of the coaches to begin forming his team.
Clara Hong, originally from South Korea but now living in Atlanta, Georgia, was the second performer of the evening on The Voice. She sang Chuck E’s In Love. Adam pushed his button quickly and turned his chair around right away. Pharrell and Gwen also pushed their buttons and spun their chairs around.
“That tone is like silk,” Pharrell said.
“You’re silk,” Clara said. “Your — voice is silk.”
Gwen: “That song is you, and your voice is so alluring. I think I can help you. Do you have a microphone?” Gwen stood up and started yelling out “I’m just a girl!” from her song of the same title.
Adam spoke to her in Korean. Then, he gave his pitch to her to join Team Adam. “Let’s make history,” he said. Pharrell then tried to sway her with a poem of his own.
Clara said: “I choose — Adam!” Thus, Team Adam then got its first team member of the season.
Bryana Salaz was the third competitor of the evening on The Voice. She is from Texas. Bryana said she “has done a lot of competitions,” but added that “nothing could prepare my for The Voice.” She sang Problem. Her voice carried so well, it was strong and powerful. All of the judges except for Pharrell pushed their buttons and turned their chairs.
“I think it would be a major loss not to have you on my team,” Adam said.
Gwen: “When I was your age, I wasn’t close to touching your voice. But I can relate so much better to you, ’cause I’m a girl, right?”
Blake: “Your willingness to take chances is awesome. Nobody has had a better track record with younger people on this show than your old Uncle Blake.”
“I think — I think I’ll pick Gwen!” Bryanna said. Now, Team Stefani has its first team member.
When The Voice came back from another commercial break, Carson introduced America to the next singer, Dennis Bell, of Louisiana. He said “I started singing at the age of four in local rodeos.” He had always felt that he would have a career in music. He got all choke up when he talked about his dad having a heart attack. He said that he had to give up on singing for a while to take care of the family business.
“It would be great doing something I chose to do,” Dennis said. “If a chair turned around, it would be the craziest thing that ever happened to me.” Dennis sang She Used to Be Mine. The audience clapped along right from the beginning as he sang. He played the guitar as he sang. Blake was tempted; he had his hand on the button but did not push it. None of the judges pushed a button.
Adam said, afterward: “It was one of my biggest mistakes that I didn’t follow my heart on that one.”
Carson met the next artist at LAX. The singer was Damien Lawson, from Monroe, Louisiana. Damien said he now works for TSA at LAX. He talked about the man who came to the LAX airport and started to shoot employees. He said that he sang at the funeral of a friend of his and fellow employee who died. “In this business there is a lot of rejection” he said, “but I only need one ‘yes’
Damien barely began singing the first notes of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday, when all of the judges except for Blake pushed their buttons and turned their chairs around. He has such an incredible, super-soulful voice! Blake finally turned his chair around near the end of the performance.
Gwen walked up onto the stage and gave Damian a big hug. He started crying and said he had been told no “so many times before.” Pharrell gave a beautiful speech.
Blake told him he had his pocketknife taken away at TSA. “I lost my favorite pocketknife,” he groused.
Gwen: “I’d love to have you on my team.’
Adam: “It made sense that you burst into tears when you finished the song. You put so much into the song.”
Blake: “You reminded me of Bill Withers, sticking in the low register as you sang.”
Pharrell: “So, who do you pick as your coach?” Before he could respond, The Voice went to a commercial break.
Damien said, after the break, “I pick — Adam!” He became the second team member for Team Adam. “I chose Adam because I think he was the most genuine with his words.”
Allison Bray, 18, from Kentucky, is next. She auditioned for Season 6 of The Voice and did not get a single chair to turn around. Blake told her back then if she just worked on her pitch a little bit, she “would be a serious threat.”
Allison sang Merry Go ‘Round. Blake pushed his button and Gwen pushed hers a split-second later. Then, Adam joined suite. Pharrell was the only judge not to push his button. Gwen said to Adam “She has a beautiful voice!” and Adam nodded “yes.”
Blake: “Your voice just blew me away! This is the most excited I’ve been sitting in this chair for some time.”
Gwen: “I really love your voice! It’s so beautiful. Sometimes, people who you think you wouldn’t go with…make magic.”
Adam: “I think I could put you into a position to win, and bother him simultaneously.’
Allison said: “Uh…I pick Blake!” She became the first member of Team Blake.
Megg, 23, from Rodondo Beach, California, sang next on The Voice. “I’m in a band, Party for One,” she said. “I’m a little bit nervous. It’s a crazy experience singing in front of one of my idols,” she added, referring to Gwen.
Megg had a powerful rockin’ voice. She sang Celebrity Skin. She did not manage to get even one judge’s chair to turn around, though. Gwen stood up and gave her a hug.
When The Voice came back from another commercial break, John Taylor Williams talked about working with dogs and singing. He said “I don’t have a Plan B,” so he hoped this would work out for him.
John sang Heartless. Adam pushed his button right away, and spun his chair around. played the guitar as he sang. Then, Gwen pushed her button and turned her chair around. Adam stood up and applauded the amazing performance.
Adam: “I’m so happy right now. Everything was perfect. Talk to us, me mostly.”
Taylor said “I love lyrics.”
Gwen said “I love lyrics too. I need to be around you in a greedy sort of way, to push me as I’m working on my new album.” Gwen said that Taylor was making her “hot.”
Pharrell said “I think that Adam understands your voice but Gwen understands your future.”
Adam: “I’m going to cry like a baby if you don’t choose me.”
Taylor said “I pick Gwen.” Gwen gave Taylor a Team Gwen T-shirt she designed for her team members.
Elyjuh René performed next. His mom said “Elyjuh is very much into fashion.”
He said that he has been “competing the last four years.” Elyjuh will be singing the Beyonce song XO. Adam turned his chair around uber quickly; then, Pharrell did the same. Elyjuh has a KILLER voice! He did a tremendous job singing this Bey song and had the audience claping along.
Adam said “You feel vulnerable — that’s what the best singers do. I want in — I want in.”
Pharrell said “You are annointed! You are the most amazing vocalist I’ve heard in my entire life. I rest my case.”
Adam said “These guys are so competitive. I have won and would like to win again.”
Gwen asked him “Who do you want to pick as your coach?”
Elyjuh said “I choose — Pharrell!”
Bianca Espinal, 21, was next up on The Voice. She said that her dad was a janitor. They sang in the New York subways and people stopped and gave them money. The song she sang was Foolish Games. She sang it with such such power and emotion! The audience cheered for her as she sang. None of the judges turned for her!
The last performer of the evening on The Voice was country singer, James David Carter. He played the guitar as he sang Nobody Knows. Adam was the first to turn his chair around; then, Pharrell, Gwen and Blake did the same. He sang with tons of power and raw emotion.
“Thanks for teaching my how to spell ‘bananas,'” James told Gwen. “I really appreciate that.”
Gwen stood up on the back of her chair for him.
Pharrell: “As a coach, you are totally what I dream of. You are a total performer.”
Blake: “I can’t stand on chairs, mostly because I’ve been drinking.”
James told him “I opened for you.”
Adam: “Can I talk?”
Blake: “Yeah, go ahead.”
Adam: “I hate losing, and I know that you can win this thing, no problem. I guarantee victory if you choose me. My claws are out.”
Pharrell: “Man, I would love to have you on my team.”
James said “I have to go with my gut. I have to go with Blake Shelton.”
Blake: “The only thing that topped his singing is when he chose me as a coach.” He was excited, saying “I got a good one!”
That was the end of the premiere of Season 7 of The Voice, the Blind Auditions Night #1. There were some extremely talented performers giving amazing performances tonight, making this episode one of the best season premieres of The Voice yet. Tomorrow night, the Blind Audition Rounds will continue with another 2-hour-long episode. Be sure to tune in!
Written By Douglas Cobb