NBC’s Emmy-winning “The Voice” returned Monday, September 25, with the first blind auditions of Season 13. The reality TV program continues through battle rounds, knockouts, and live shows with an all-star live finale on December 19.
Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are back again for this fall season, having never missed a cycle since the show began in 2011. Joining them are be pop superstar Miley Cyrus, who was also a coach a year ago in fall, 2016. Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson joins the panel for the first time in America (she was a winning judge on the British version). Reigning coaching champ Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani are both taking a break from the series. Shelton has been the winning mentor five times in the first dozen seasons. Levine has taken the trophy three times. The other coaching champs were Usher, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera.
All blind audition episodes and many of the other non-live programs have already been recorded in advance of airing on NBC. Battle round advisors for each of the coaches will be Joe Jonas (Team Adam), Rascal Flatts (Team Blake), Billy Ray Cyrus (Team Miley), and Kelly Rowland (Team Jennifer).
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “The Voice” recap of the blind auditions for Season 13, Episode 1. Sound off in the comments section about the reality TV show’s best and worst moments. Keep refreshing/reloading this page as we’ll be updating live.
8:00 p.m. – The blind auditions are my favorite part of the series so I’m excited to be here live blogging the premiere episode! Last season’s winner Chris Blue was the very last artist to perform in this first round. How soon into season 13 will we find our new winner?
8:06 p.m. – Worship leader by day and drag queen by night Chris Weaver is the first to audition, taking on “Try a Little Tenderness” and gets a turn from both Adam and Jennifer almost immediately!
8:07 p.m. – Seconds later both Miley and Blake turn as well and the entire panel is on their feet for the first (of probably a handful) four-chair turn of the season! Let’s see who he chooses — I’m expecting a strong case from Jennifer.
8:10 p.m. – Blake’s pitch is that he’s never won the show with a drag queen and this is his chance. Hmm…
8:12 p.m. – In making his decision, Chris says that “because [we] are in such a similar place” he has to go with Jennifer! Perfect pair. They could be a force to be reckoned with. Watch out! That’s one for Team JHud.
8:19 p.m. – Mitchell Lee is next up. He’s a (ahem!) handsome woodworker from South Carolina. Mitchell is inspired by his mother who passed away and his audition song “Hold My Hand” illustrates that perfectly.
8:21 p.m. – Once again, Adam was the first judge to press his button, followed closely by Jennifer and Blake while Miley sits this one out.
8:24 p.m. – No surprise that Adam and Blake are bickering like brothers to bring Mitchell onto their team. Jennifer’s pitch is that she provides him something new and will give him “his own lane.” In the end, he goes with Blake.
8:32 p.m. – The third artist to take the stage is Janice Freeman, a cancer survivor and self-described fighter from California, with “Radioactive.” She has a big, deep voice, but it took half the song for Miley and Jennifer to turn around. Neither guy pressed their button.
8:36 p.m. – After inspirational conversations with both judges, Janice surprises by going with Miley! That’s one for each judge except Adam. He started out slowly last season, too, didn’t he?
8:40 p.m. – Xaris is a 17-year old from Florida who loves folk music who plays a range of instruments like the harmonica and banjo. Sounds like a perfect fit for Miley, no?
8:43 p.m. – As she expected, Xaris surprised the judges by singing “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,” a folk song from 60 years ago. Unfortunately, they were so surprised none of them turned around. I’m flabbergasted. She deserved a four-chair turn!
8:49 p.m. – Shi’Ann Jones begins her audition of “Drown in My Own Tears” and within two notes Jennifer has already turned around!
8:51 p.m. – Throughout the performance, Jennifer threatens the other judges not to turn around, but of course Blake does anyway! But to be honest, how could he not? Shi’Ann slay slay slayed that with her deep voice. And she’s only 15!
8:53 p.m. – She chooses Jennifer! There was no other option really. Jennifer is on a roll!
8:59 p.m. – Halfway into the episode and next up is Dave Crosby, a viral YouTube star who is known for singing on camera with his daughter, Claire. Based on the previews from earlier in the night I think she’s coming on stage with him in a bit…
9:01 p.m. – Dave gets up on stage alone for “I Will You into the Dark.” For the third time tonight, Adam is the first to turn around. After some initial indecision, Miley and Blake both turn as well, making this a three-way battle.
9:03 p.m. – After realizing who Dave and his daughter are, the judges beg her to come out on stage and we finally get what we wanted–Dave and Claire performing “You Got a Friend in Me” together live!
9:06 p.m. – For their pitches, Adam and Miley went sentimental with stories about how they relate to Dave’s relationship with his daughter and music. Blake speaks more to how he wants to coach him and where they can go together musically. And then just when he’s about to tell us that he chooses… it’s a commercial break. Ha!
9:09 p.m. – We’re back and he picks Adam based on their bond as fathers with daughters. Good choice. That gives Team Adam its first artist!
9:12 p.m. – The next artist is Odiseas who auditioned on season 3 at the age of 15, but failed to get a judge to turn around. He says he’s grown up a lot and has written and recorded music in the time since first appearing on the show. Let’s see if the work paid off! He’ll be taking on “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
9:14 p.m. – This might be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen on the show because, yet again, he didn’t get any support from the judges. Jennifer and Adam give him the advice that he was doing too much in the performance and should not dance next time. “Third time’s the charm,” says Adam.
9:21 p.m. – Esera Tuaolo is a 48-year old from Hawaii, but currently lives in Minnesota now (he once played with the Vikings in the NFL, among other teams). He is also openly gay and describes the stress and pain of being in the closet for so long as one of the hardest things to overcome in his life.
9:25 p.m. – Esera’s rendition of “Rise Up,” earned a turn from Jennifer first and another later from Blake. Though he put up a bit of a fight, Blake more or less conceded this one to Jennifer, seeing that she was the best choice for him to make, but instead Esera chose Blake! I’m not sure this is the best pairing, but hopefully they can prove me wrong because I really liked Esera’s performance.
9:32 p.m. – The next artist is Brandon Showell, a 7th grade teacher that has also worked as a cruise ship performer. “The Voice” is a chance for him to return to singing as a career. His audition is to “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.”
9:34 p.m. – Adam is the first judge to turn (fourth time tonight, right?). Jennifer and Miley follow just before the song ends, but Blake passes.
9:37 p.m. – Despite having the cruise ship connection and going into the day thinking he wanted Jennifer as his coach, Brandon joins Team Adam.
9:42 p.m. – Lucas Holliday‘s friends refer to him as “Luke the Singing Cashier” and like Dave gained notoriety online after a video of him singing went viral. For his audition he sang “This Woman’s Work,” a song by Maxwell who once invited him to perform with him after seeing his viral video.
9:45 p.m. – Wow, Lucas’ voice was all over the place and the judges seemed confused for most of the performance, but at the very last minute Jennifer pressed her button.
9:53 p.m. – The final audition of the night came from Brooke Simpson, a Native American from North Carolina. I’m already obsessed because in her opening package she talked about how much she loved The Spice Girls while growing up.
9:55 p.m. – For her performance, Brooke sang “Stone Cold,” a song you might remember was something season 10 winner Alisan Porter sang. It must be a good luck charm because all four judges slammed their buttons early on, making Brooke the second four-chair turn of the season.
9:59 p.m. – The fight for Brooke was by far the hardest fought by the judges. I think they sensed, as I do, that she’s going to be one of the top competitors this season and possibly the ONE to beat. The judge lucky enough to grab her for their team is… (drum roll)… Miley! Will we have another female coach winner? We just might!
10:00 p.m. – That’s it for tonight. Tune in to “The Voice” tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on NBC for Night 2 of the blind auditions.
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