Kelly Clarkson was an “American Idol” champion, while Jennifer Hudson was eliminated on that same reality TV show. But it’s rival program “The Voice” that brings them together for the first time. What happens when the two music divas face off for Season 15 of the Emmy-winning series on NBC? The two of them are coaches along with mainstays Adam Levine and Blake Shelton beginning Monday night.
Blind auditions begin Monday with a first round at 8:00 p.m. ET for a two-hour pre-recorded episode hosted by Carson Daly. Another one-hour installment airs on Tuesday. All season long, Gold Derby will bring you a live updating blog item for each episode as it is airing on NBC for the eastern and central time zones. Follow along below for minute-by-minute action and enter your comments as well.
Clarkson joined the program for Season 14 and has the defending champion of Brynn Cartelli on her first try. Hudson was a coach last fall but failed to have any artists in the championship round. She is a past Oscar and Grammy champ and mentored the winning act on the 2017 British version of “The Voice.” Shelton is a six-time coaching winner, while Levine has had the top act three times out of 14 previous attempts.
And now enjoy our live updating blog item for Monday below:
8:00 p.m. – Hi everyone! Welcome to our first live blog of the season! I can’t believe we’re already on season 15, but I’m excited for this cast of judges because Jennifer and Kelly both bring a vibrant energy to the chairs while Adam and Blake bring their own veteran confidence. Let’s hope this is an unpredictable and incredible contest!
8:03 p.m. – The first artist of the night was Sarah Grace, a 15 year old from Texas. For her blind audition she took on Janis Joplin‘s “Ball and Chain,” showing off a register so deep that it’s impossible it came out of someone so young. By the end of the song, Adam was the only coach that didn’t turn his chair. Kelly turned her chair early and so got to watch most of Sarah’s performance and became drawn in by her “stank face.” Jennifer didn’t make much of a pitch to Sarah and though Blake hurled a ton of compliments her way, Sarah ultimately went with Kelly. I’d say with her goal of making a blues and rock album inspired by Joplin and Etta James that Sarah made the right choice!
8:11 p.m. – For the first time, the show has added an online series called “The Comeback Stage” with Kelsea Ballerini. In the web series, Kelsea will coach six artists that did not make a team during the blind auditions and two of those artists will be up for a vote by the online audience to join the competition during the live shows!
8:14 p.m. – The second performance came from Tyshawn Colquitt from Ohio. His rendition of “Like I Can” by Sam Smith, specifically his falsetto, impressed Jennifer first, but Blake also chimed in to try and reel him on to his own team. I got the sense that the other coaches knew Tyshawn would be best fit on Team Jennifer, and even Blake acknowledged it in his pitch, and sure enough he went down the expected road. With his dedication to the soul and R&B tradition, I’d say that’s a good choice!
8:26 p.m. – Tyke James from Hawaii was next to take the stage, a far cry away from the taco trucks he performs in front of on the island. Tonight he sang Ed Sheeran‘s “Perfect” while playing his guitar. Adam, who seems to be playing it very picky again this season, was the first and only to turn his chair for Tyke. With that result, for the third straight time an artist joined the team of the coach most closely related to their own style of music. I’m a little surprised none of the other judges were compelled to turn for Tyke’s soft, singer-songwriter vibe. Kelly said that she was waiting for him to “go somewhere else,” but maybe he’ll show different sides of his voice in future rounds!
8:37 p.m. – 29 year old wedding singer Ayanna Joni brought her take on Demi Lovato‘s “Sorry Not Sorry” to the stage. Uptempo songs are always a bold choice for the blind auditions because they strain the voice in a way that doesn’t necessarily show off the singer’s clarity or depth. Unfortunately the risk didn’t pay off for Ayanna who got no coaches to turn their chairs. Jennifer said she was close, but said she was waiting for a big note that never came. Fortunately, Ayanna was one of Kelsea’s picks to compete in “The Comeback Stage” due to her rich tone.
8:46 p.m. – Up next was 17 year old Mercedes Ferreira-Dias, back after she failed to make it out of the blinds last season. Tonight she returned with “She Used to Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, transfixing all of the coaches with a confident and deep texture to her voice. In the last moments of the song both Blake and Kelly hit their buttons, immediately recognizing her as a comeback artist. Blake told Mercedes that her voice is “personal” and he can tell she sings from the heart whereas Kelly noticed a “broken” aspect in her voice that makes her sound sad (but beautiful). I’d say those are high compliments from both potential coaches, but it was mama’s advice (from off-stage) that nudged her to ultimately join Team Blake!
8:57 p.m. – Hailing from New Jersey, 19 year old Radha was the next artist to audition. She bursted on to the stage with a bang to Jessie J‘s “Mamma Knows Best,” earning an immediate turn from Adam who remained stern faced throughout the performance, likely a play to keep the other coaches from hitting their own buttons. Jennifer seemed the most tormented over the audition, finally hitting her button at the last second (along with Blake) only to find out that Adam had blocked her! That’s right, the block is back this season and that means Jennifer had no chance at getting Radha on her team. With only Adam and Blake as her options, Radha went with the coach that recognized her talent right away… Adam!
9:08 p.m. – The next audition came from Kameron Marlowe of North Carolina, the first country artist of the season. His take on the Luke Combs song “One Number Away” earned turns from both Kelly and Blake instantly, but kept Jennifer and Adam at bay. During the chorus Kameron sounded on par with contemporary country artists, but at the start of his performance I was getting some serous Bob Seger vibes from him which makes me think he has some rock moments ahead of him this season. If that’s true, his new coach Blake could have another winner on his hands!
9:20 p.m. – Another country artist, Mikele Buck from West Virginia, came next with “She Used to Be Mine” by Brooks & Dunn. Mikele’s voice is very traditional country with a sweet, vulnerable tone to it. As his audition came to a close it seemed like no one would turn for him, but in the very last second both Blake and Kelly hit their buttons. Having not turned his own chair, Adam chose to coach Kelly on how to successfully get a country artist against Blake. Mikele seemed torn by decision, but after looking off stage to his daughters and wife the choice seemed simple–he picked Kelly over Blake!
9:31 p.m. – Sam Hastings from Maine was next to audition. He said prior to this performance the biggest crowd he’d had was “40 people.” His nerves showed and because of that his rendition of “Angel” failed to catch the attention of any of the coaches. Blake loved his tone and pitch, but cautioned that Sam needs to show a little more range.
9:38 p.m. – The next artist was Patrique Forston from Georgia, a seasoned gospel singer whose career hit a rough patch early one when he was young. His soulful performance of “Get Here” by Oleta Adams struck a chord first with Jennifer and later with Adam. Patrique told them that he wants a coach that will challenge him and show him how to branch out from the box. In the end, he thought that Jennifer was the right choice for him.
9:49 p.m. – The final artist to audition on Night 1 was 13 year old Kennedy Holmes, the youngest singer in this season’s competition. Eager to show off her big voice, she sang Adele‘s “Turning Tables” with force and a super deep and rich vocal. Before the first chorus came to a close all of the coaches had hit their buttons, making Kennedy officially the first four-chair turn of the season. The coaches acknowledged her range, tone and control in referencing how seasoned she sounds. When Jennifer began to speak, Kennedy started crying and admitted that she’s dreamed of singing with her. With that, Jennifer took a mic and got on stage with Kennedy for an impromptu duet of “I Am Changing,” bringing Kelly to tears and painting huge smiles across the faces of Adam and Blake. Honestly I would have thrown my computer across the room if there had been any result other than… Kennedy joining Team Jennifer! Watch out–Jennifer has the frontrunner of the season. Game over!
10:00 p.m. – Kennedy stole my heart tonight. Who was your favorite from the first set of auditions? Sound off in the comments!
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