Monday (September 21) marked the premiere of The Voice season 9. The show opened up with this season’s four judges, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton singing snippets of each other’s hit songs (such as “Sugar” by Maroon 5 and “Up All Night” by Pharrell). After the collaboration, the show’s host Carson Daly previewed the upcoming season and claimed that tonight’s episode will be “the most shocking blind audition” in the show’s history.
Unfortunately, the show was filled with more singers that seemed to just blend in with one another than any that truly stuck out and showed promise. Nonetheless, the majority got at least one chair to turn and so began the recruitment for the judges’ teams.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the judges are as the season progresses as each one of them have had pretty major life things happen. Pharrell had the lawsuit brought against both he and Robin Thicke for the “Blurred Lines” song by Marvin Gaye’s family which they lost. Blake Shelton filed for divorce from Miranda Lambert amid many rumors of trouble there and Gwen Stefani has broken up with long-time husband/singer Gavin Rossdale. Adam Levine seems to have had the least happening aside from divorce rumors.
Here are some of the performances (both good and bad) from tonight’s auditions:
“Use Me” by Billy Withers
Four chairs turned – ended up on Team Pharrell
Mark was the first to audition tonight. His intro had him explaining that he has prior experience in the entertainment industry, including playing “a dead guy” on a TV show. His personality shined through during his performance. Although his vocals weren’t particularly memorable, his stage presence definitely was. After Mark admitted that he aspires to be an artist that is a mix of “John Legend and Pharrell,” it was clear where he was headed: Team Pharrell.
“Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke
Three chairs turned – ended up on Team Gwen
Although Kota came out with a relatively unique voice, it wasn’t necessarily a strength that played in her favor. Blake commented that her voice is like “a modern-day Cindy Lauper,” however although she does have the raspy tone she doesn’t have much else that warrants a comparison to Lauper.
“I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi
Two chairs turned – ended up on Team Adam
Keith is a 33-year-old Irish rocker who has been playing “gigs” since he was 16. He became part of a relatively successful rock band, that actually opened up for Bon Jovi (which is one of his biggest musical influences). While Keith has a strong voice and is obviously experienced and talented musically, personally he sounded a bit too much like what you would expect to hear from the lead singer of a “rock band” targeting teenagers (i.e. Hedley, Simple Plan, etc.).
“I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan
No chairs turned
Although Alyssa shared a heart-warming story about losing her step-dad while he was off serving in the military, she couldn’t quite manage to stick out vocally. Basically she could sing the song as good as the thousands of people who have covered it on YouTube.
Attention singers: Despite previous events on The Voice, an emotional story apparently will not, in fact, secure you a place on a judge’s team.
“Fever” by Peggy Lee
Three chairs turned – Pharrell
Siahna is an off-beat 15-year-old artist who has a surprisingly deep singing voice (in comparison to her youthful, light speaking voice). Not surprising is the fact that she got a chair to turn for her (Gwen) after singing about two words of “Fever.”
“Chandelier” by Sia
Four chairs turned – Adam
Jordan had impressive control over his vocals as he belted out an evidently challenging song. In his audition, he also showcased his ability to navigate his upper register. However, I don’t think he quite fulfills the “most unique voices to ever hit the stage” promo. Although Jordan does admit that he is called “ma’am on the phone all the time.”
“Tightrope” by Janelle Monae
Two chairs turned – Blake
Nadjah grew up singing at political events. She even had the opportunity to sing at the Apollo theatre, which instilled a passion within her to pursue singing. However, soon after she unexpectedly became a young single mother, which altered her plans and landed her in a banking job.
Nadjah choose a high-pace song for her audition and therefore it was hard to tell what her vocal abilities were for most of the song, as she was more speed talking than anything. However, towards the end she began showing off her range and it was then that she got two chairs to turn: Blake and Adam.
Braiden Sunshine (note: this is his real name, “it’s on [his] birth certificate, [he] swears!”
“The Mountains Win Again” by Blues Traveler
Two chairs turned – Gwen
15-year-old Braiden has already had plenty of experience performing, as he is the lead singer in a local band. Although there weren’t any particular points of excitement in his audition, he did have a soulful voice that was very much reminiscent of last season’s winner, Sawyer Fredericks.
“Angel Eyes” by Jeff Healey
Two chairs turned – Blake
Of course the show had to end off with an exciting quadruple chair turn.
Barrett is a 35-year-old father from Arkansas who survived a serious airplane accident during his college years. He has been singing in choirs throughout his academic career and hopes to create his own genre, as he mixes country and soul together. Barrett was probably the most polished voice of the night and had qualities reminiscent of John Mayer. He will definitely be able to appeal to country fans, but has potential for an even wider fan base beyond that.
So that’s it for tonight’s episode. Basically The Voice is back in all its glory including Carson Daly’s excessive hyping of singers, Gwen and Pharrell’s crazy fashion choices, the Adam-Blake bromance and of course, Starbucks cups everywhere!