'The Voice' Recap: Blind Auditions Part 1 – Gwen Stefani And Pharrell Williams Make Their Coaching Debut
Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams made their debut as coaches on The Voice in the first episode of blind auditions, and went head to head with seasoned coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.
Blind Auditions Part 1
First up was soul singer Luke Wade, who grew up as a dancer – his mother owned a dance studio. Luke got all four chairs to turn around about 10 seconds into his performance, kicking the season off strong.
Adam, anticipating a fight to the death, squatted on his chair, ready to stand up on his chair – his new signature move. “We did it! We won The Voice! This is amazing,” Adam said. (He’s mistaken.) Not to be outdone, Pharrell was quick to name-drop and whip out the producer card: “I want to be your amplifier.” In the end, Pharrell proved his smooth talking would rake in the contestants, winning over the first four-chair turn of the night. Luke Wade: Team Pharrell.
Next was Clara Hong said that as a young immigrant, music helped her learn English. Clara was emotional when she got up on stage to sing “Chuck E.’s in Love,” but her focus and soulful voice got Adam, Gwen and Pharrell to turn around early in her performance. Trying to win Clara over, Gwen decided to take things to the next level, by giving Clara a mini lesson in stage presence. Gwen went so far as to sing a few bars of “Just A Girl” and show Clara how to get the crowd going. Adam gave his pitch in the form of a “love poem,” and then declared, “I would kill for you.” Adam’s hard campaigning worked, and Clara went to Team Adam.
Bryana Salaz belted her way through Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” and got Adam, Gwen and Blake to turn around for her. At just 16, Bryana, was wooed by the best of them, and Pharrell, who didn’t have his hat in the ring, threw his weight behind Gwen, and it worked. Bryana went to Team Gwen.
Damien, a TSA Agent at LAX, turned three chairs almost immediately with his take on “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” with Pharrell, Gwen and Adam immediately impressed. Blake took a bit longer, but he eventually joined the other coaches, and pressed his button for Damien. Damien broke down in tears at the end of his audition, prompting Gwen to run out of her chair and give him a big hug. After some hard campaigning, Damien went with Team Adam.
Allison Bray came back to The Voice stage after failing to get any chairs to turn around last season. She proved to the coaches that she spent her time away working on her pitch, and the country hopeful got Blake, Gwen and Adam to turn around. She eventually went with Team Blake.
Taylor John Williams went with an acoustic version of Kanye West’s “Heartless.” With his guitar and slow start, Taylor won over Adam in the first few bars, with Gwen not far behind. Gwen and Adam both gushed over Taylor, but he eventually went Team Gwen.
18-year-old Elyjuh René dominated with his cover of Beyoncé’s “XO,” and got Adam and Pharrell to hit their buttons early on. “The first word that came to my mind when I heard your voice was ‘anointed,’” Pharrell told him. In the end, Elyjuh decided to go with Team Pharrell.
Country singer James David Carter closed out the show with “Nobody Knows.” James got all four coaches to turn their chairs early on, and inspired a bidding war between Blake and Adam. Staying true to his country roots, James went with Team Blake.
The Voice returns with more blind auditions Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.