Country star Blake Shelton has dominated the first eight seasons of “The Voice,” winning the competition four times. Will the newly-started ninth edition bring him a fifth trophy? He once again competes against two-time winning coach Adam Levine, reigning champ Pharrell Williams, and Gwen Stefani, who is still looking for her first victory.
Each of the four coaches selected a dozen contenders for their teams during the recent blind auditions. Starting on Monday, the artists will begin the battle rounds, knocking out many of the contestants right away.
We are now profiling all four dozen artists, continuing with those of Team Blake’s members below. After reading about each, be sure to vote in our poll as to who has the best chance of winning “The Voice” for Shelton this season. Click one of these links for our previews of Team Adam and Team Pharrell. Watch for a Team Gwen preview later this week. You can also click here for the Team Blake photo gallery. And please click here to tour the past eight winners photo gallery.
Barrett Baber – From Fayetteville, AR.
At age nine, Barrett and his family moved to Durban, South Africa where he fell in love with African harmony and singing. He experienced a huge culture shock when they moved back to the States, and the only way Barrett could connect to others his age was through music. He received a scholarship to college and, at 19, made national headlines when his choir was on board a major commercial aircraft that crashed and took the lives of 11 people in Little Rock. His audition song was “Angel Eyes.”
Blaine Mitchell – From Fort Worth, TX.
Growing up, Blaine was passionate about sports, until a knee injury ended his baseball dreams. Since then, he’s been entirely focused on music and has an alternative rock band called Treeside with his brother. They have spent the past six years performing in Texas. To make ends meet, Blaine also took a job at Cowboys Dancehall singing country music. His audition song was “Drops of Jupiter.”
Blind Joe – From Fargo, ND.
Joe was born three months premature and was given only a two-percent chance of living. Miraculously, he beat the odds and survived. While in the hospital, his eyes weren’t protected from the harsh hospital lighting, which left him blind. Joe is incredibly close to his grandfather, who taught him how to play guitar by putting it on his lap. He is now known all over town as Blind Joe and performs with his wife. His audition song was “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.”
Chris Crump – From Baytown, TX.
Growing up, Chris was in a family gospel band called Simple Truth. They toured and played at festivals, wearing matching outfits. At 14, Chris decided to leave the family band to join a rock band. After being told that his voice was “too pretty” for rock music, he stared to pursue a career as a solo acoustic performer. Chris recently married his wife – so recently in fact, that the newlyweds left their reception early so Chris could audition for the show. His audition song was “Thinking Out Loud.”
Cole Criske – From Temecula, CA.
Cole began singing at three years old and performed the national anthem at community baseball games. Music was something he hadn’t taken too seriously, but that all changed in 2009, when he was 10 – his father was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Since then, Cole has used music to cope with his loss. His audition song was “Dreaming with a Broken Heart.”
Dustin Christensen – From Orem, UT.
Dustin has known his heart was always in music, but growing up, he wanted to hang out with the “cool kids” so rather than joining choir and music classes, he played sports and was on student council. He also comes from a business-oriented family, who always emphasized the importance of education, so he put music on the back burner for his education. His audition song was “Downtown Train.”
Emily Ann Roberts – From Knoxville, TN.
Emily has a passion for classic country and bluegrass and has wanted to pursue music since picking up a guitar at age 13. She and her grandmother are the only ones in her family who sing and her greatest memories are when they would sing old hymns together. After her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Emily started taking music very seriously. Her audition song was “I Hope You Dance.”
Krista Hughes – From Coal City, WV.
Krista’s grandparents adopted her when she was a baby because her parents were too young to care for her at the time. She comes from a coal-mining town in West Virginia with a rich tradition of live music. Her great-grandfather was a coal miner and saved up to buy the farm that Krista grew up on. She learned to play guitar by watching the family jam sessions at her house every Friday night. Her audition song was “Angel from Montgomery.”
Morgan Frazier – From Nashville, TN.
Morgan’s first introduction to performing was in a talent show when she was five years old. From that moment, it was all she could think about. At nine, she independently recorded her first CD and her parents spent their savings to have it made. Every day, Morgan would put on her cowboy hat and go door-to-door with her dad, selling her music. They eventually made enough money to pack up their lives and go all-in on Morgan’s dream. Her audition song was “I Want You to Want Me.”
Nadjah Nicole – From New Castle, DE.
Nadjah was introduced to music through her father, who was the musical director at her church. With her father being in the Air Force, she attended military school and sang the national anthem at every event. Her music career started to take off in high school, but Nadjah’s parents thought it was important to attend college. She attended for a brief time, but left when she became pregnant. Her audition song was “Tightrope.”
Tyler Dickerson – From Denham Springs, LA.
Tyler grew up loving country music. At the age of nine, as his family was leaving the store, Tyler began singing with a group of buskers and they decide to allow Tyler to follow his dream. By the time he was 11, he was playing over 200 shows a year and earned the nickname “The Outlaw Kid.” He and his family moved to Nashville, where he was discovered at the legendary Tootsies bar. His first single debuted at No. 51, and he opened for Brooks & Dunn on their farewell tour. After what seemed like a flourishing start, Tyler’s record label shut down, and he was involved in a terrible car accident. His audition song was “Hard to Handle.”
Zach Seabaugh – From Marietta, GA.
Zach grew up in a house with four sisters and is the only singer in the family. He hails from a huge sports town and his father is a very big football fan. Growing up, Zach’s life consisted of football, tennis and swimming and only recently did he start spending time with music and theater. Zach recently told his parents that he wanted to leave sports for the arts. His audition song was “Take Your Time.”
While we wait for the live shows in November, here is your first chance to chime in about Team Blake. Take our poll below about which of his artists will win this season.
When the live shows start soon for “The Voice,” you can make your weekly predictions about who will be eliminated each time. The top scorer for each week and for the overall season will win $100 Amazon gift certificates. Just log in to your account (or create a free one) and start answering our weekly questions. The deadline for each episode will be Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT.
We are now forecasting everything from the results on other reality TV shows like “Survivor,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and “The Amazing Race” to the winners and nominees of the Oscars, Golden Globes, and more. Click on any box to bring up that event and get started.
And be sure to sound off on “The Voice” every week in Gold Derby’s reality TV forum.
Photo courtesy of NBC.