As Season 16 of “The Voice” begins on Monday, viewers welcome EGOT champ John Legend as a brand new coach. Returning to the long-running, Emmy-winning program are two-time reigning champ Kelly Clarkson, six-time winning coach Blake Shelton and three-time champ Adam Levine. Night 1 of blind auditions air on NBC at 8:00 p.m. on both coasts.
All throughout this season, we will continue our tradition of updating live blogs while each episode is airing for the east and central time zones. Follow along below and keep refreshing during the two hours. Make your own comments about which artists you like and don’t like for this winter/spring cycle.
Legend just became one of only 15 EGOT winners this past September for producing the variety special “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He was an advisor on a previous season of “The Voice” and was unusually tough on the competitors (most advisors are quite soft and gentle). How will he do in obtaining singers for his team and what approach will he take to try and win this season?
When the battle rounds begin weeks from now, Season 16 advisors will be Charlie Puth (Team Adam), Khalid (Team John), Kelsea Ballerini (Team Kelly) and Brooks and Dunn (Team Blake).
And now follow along and refresh our live updating blog below for Monday, February 25:
8:00 p.m. – So John Legend is literally one of my favorite artists ever. To say that I’m excited for what he’ll bring to the show is, well, an understatement. I think the panel is fantastic this year and we’re in for probably one of the best seasons in series history.
8:04 p.m. – The first artist of the new season is Gyth Rigdon, a country artist that idolizes and grew up learning music from his father. He sang “Drift Away” by Uncle Kracker earning an almost immediate turn from Blake and simultaneous turns from John and Kelly soon after. Unfortunately for John he was blocked right out of the gate by Blake. Stealthy!
8:08 p.m. – In his conversation with the coaches, Gyth expressed his interest to straddle both country, rock and pop genres while Blake tried to convince everyone that he didn’t block John. Ultimately Garth did choose to join Team Blake and he’s off to a solid start on board with the winningest coach in Voice history.
8:14 p.m. – Next to audition was Maelyn Jarmon, deaf in one ear from an early age. As a New Yorker her path to stardom has been tough, but she believes that the show is a new journey for her. She sang “Fields of Gold” by Sting earning turns from Kelly, Adam and Blake after a single note, but her ideal coach John held out a little longer before giving her the first four chair turn of the season. Blake pointed out Maelyn’s precision, but when John referred to her voice as “magic” it sealed the deal. The new coach secured his first artist of the season, and perhaps one of the biggest!
8:27 p.m. – Hoping to share the States another side of the Latin community, Karen Galera took the stage with her rendition “Mi Corazoncito” of in honor of her brother. When I say Kelly hit her button immediately I mean Kelly. hit. her. but. ton. im. me. di. ate. ly. John followed shortly after and the two battled it out for the season’s first Latin singer. Both Kelly and John made the case for the show’s first bilingual winner, advocating for helping Karen achieve that milestone, but for Karen it came down to birthdays and since they apparently have the same one, she chose Kelly!
8:38 p.m. – Single parent Trey Rose was next, hailing from the same place as Blake, but not a country artist. Instead her performed Avicii‘s “Wake Me Up” for the coaches and his rock vocal earned the respect of Adam straight off the bat. Blake chimed it at the end of the performance, but it proved a little too late for Trey who joined the team of the first coach to commit to him… Adam!
8:51 p.m. – In a complete detour from show tradition, the next artist was kept secret from the judges and us and she erupted into TLC‘s “No Scrubs,” including the rap portion that caused Kelly to turn her chair. Right before the close of the audition Blake also turned his chair to see Kim Cherry. The coaches were impressed by Kim’s “fearlessness,” believing her to be a different artist than most that have appeared on the series thus far. In the spirit of knocking down expectations, Kim chose to join Team Blake! A perfect pair, I’d say!
8:57 p.m. – The next artist to audition was AJ Ryan with “Love Runs Out.” His shaky performance didn’t inspire any of the coach to turn their chairs. They thought that he overreached in his song choice and had him try his hand at John’s “All of Me,” which turned out to be just for fun because he still went home.
9:04 p.m. – Songwriter and mother Rizzi Myers was next with her version of Ariana Grande‘s “Breathin’.” She shifted the upbeat track into ballad territory that encouraged Kelly and Blake to turn their chairs, as well as John who was (again!) blocked. And this time we know it it had to have been by Kelly! After Rizzi and Kelly shared a moment with each other over a photo of them together from years ago, Rizzi obviously joined Kelly’s team, leaving Blake in the dust. Kelly might have wasted a block!
9:16 p.m. – Season 15 contestant Lisa Ramey returned to prove herself after earning no chair turns last season. Her cover of “Sex on Fire” was slower, as Kelly asked of her last season, but while it failed to get Kelly’s respect this season it did get John’s, the only coach to turn for her.
9:24 p.m. – Jimmy Mowery was next up with “Attention,” a song that got Adam to commit early on. Despite nervousness triggered by Adam’s chair turn, Jimmy kept the quality up and earned John’s turn as well. The coaches admitted that there were issues with his performance overall, but when he was in his spot they felt he had the goods to go all the way. Ultimately Jimmy joined Team Adam, a coach I think will be committed to helping him gain the confidence to remain solid throughout a performance.
9:35 p.m. – Wig extraordinaire Lili Joy auditioned next with Gwen Stefani’s “Cool.” She hoped to get Blake’s support with the song and that she did, even if Blake didn’t immediately recognize the song as Gwen’s. Like his block of John it’s unclear if Blake was telling the truth about whether he knew or not! In any event, Blake was the only coach to turn and so Lili earned a spot on his team straight away.
9:44 p.m. – Married couple duo Nathan & Chesi performed “Waymore’s Blues” in the spirit of contemporary country music, but their flavor wasn’t the taste of any of the coaches. Luckily they caught the ear of this season’s Comeback Stage coach Bebe Rexha who invited them to compete for a second chance at entering the competition later on.
9:53 p.m. – The last audition of the night came from Matthew Johnson from Jacksonville. His song choice was Kirk Franklin‘s “I Smile,” representing his jovial and uplifting outlook on life. Blake was the first to hit his button for Matthew after he erupted into a note eerily like the kind John hits. John, Kelly and Adam hit their own buttons shortly after making it a competitive four-chair turn. The panel was moved by his powerful gospel vocal and in the end he went with the untested coach John! That means John got both of episode 1’s two four-chair turns despite getting two blocks, too! What kind of….. Legend?
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