NBC’s The Voice returned for its sixteenth season on Monday night, with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend searching for talent during a totally new round of the Blind Casting call. It is Legend’s very first time as coach, and Clarkson is coming off the two-season win streak. Once again, during this round, coaches can choose to block other coaches once.
The Blind Auditions got started along with Gyth Rigdon, who sang “Drift Away.” He’ s a small-town boy who worked with racehorses growing up, and he gravitates towards country, making him an obvious contender for Team Blake. Rigdon brought energy as well as a clear tone to their performance, earning turns from Shelton, Clarkson and Legend. Shelton, however, blocked Legend, taking him out of the working. Unsurprisingly, Rigdon ended up landing on Team Blake.
Maelyn Jarmon, who is hard of hearing in one ear, was up next, singing “Fields of Gold” by Sting. The lady delivered a seasoned performance that made her experience apparent, and she even showed off a higher note. She easily guaranteed a four-chair turn, plus Clarkson called her “unstoppable.” Jarmon proceeded to go with the newbie and decided to join Team Legend.
Next, Karen Galera did “ Mi Corazoncito” by Aventura, the song introduced to her simply by her brother. She sang in Spanish, which was a fantastic choice, helping her stand out as well as showcase part of who she is, which she said is important to her. Clarkson flipped first, followed by Legend. Levine rallied behind Clarkson, and Galera indeed chose Team Kelly.
Trey Rose put his own rewrite on “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, accompanying himself over the acoustic guitar. He had a singer-songwriter vibe, and both Shelton and Levine turned for him. Rose joined Team Adam.
Performing “No Scrubs” by TLC, Kim Cherry was up next. She had an impressive lower register and standout ad libs that helped the girl make the somewhat karaoke-y track sound more interesting. The lady rapped, too, which amazed the coaches. Clarkson turned during the rap part, joined up with shortly by Shelton. Cherry chose Team Blake, despite the fact that she was a better suit for Team Kelly. But she can always switch it up after future rounds.
AJ Ryan did not receive any turns for his performance of “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. He was hoping to impress Legend, but had too many pitch issues.
Full-time songwriter Rizzi Myers sang “Breathin” by Ariana Grande. Clarkson was so into it that she turned for her and blocked Legend. Shelton joined, and it was surprising that it wasn’t a four-chair turn, because her range was huge and she hit the high notes with ease. It was a technically tight performance, and Myers landed on Team Kelly.
Following up, Lisa Ramey sang Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.” She auditioned last season but did not make it. Ramey made the song her own, and this time she was able to get a turn from coach Legend, so she joined him.
Jimmy Mowery sang “Attention” by Charlie Puth. He shared a tragic backstory and said that guitar and music helped him through it. Levine turned very quickly, and Legend followed. Levine decided to show off some of his coaching skills and gave Mowery notes on using his chest voice. As a result, Mowery landed on Team Adam.
Fifteen-year-old artist Lil Joy accompanied herself on the ukulele and sang “Cool” by former Voice coach Gwen Stefani, and Shelton turned early for her. No other coaches turned.
Married couple Nathan and Chesi, this season’s first duo, did not turn chairs with their performance of “Waymore’s Blues,” but they were selected to compete on the show’s online-only series The Comeback Stage, which is being judged this season by Bebe Rexha.
Matthew Johnson closed out the night with his performance of “I Smile” by Kirk Franklin. His smooth and soulful voice earned him a four-chair turn, and Levine threw his shoe onstage in an homage to former coach Jennifer Hudson. Johnson chose Team John. It seems Legend will be the coach to beat this season.