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'The Voice' Season 5 Premiere: Blind Auditions Begin; Christina and Cee Lo Return

Fresh off an Emmy win, the NBC singing show returns with all four original coaches and all new talent.

The Voice Season Premiere - H 2013
NBC

NBC’s The Voice is back, reunited and feelin’ so good, especially after winning the Emmy for best reality competition program (making it the second show to ever beat out The Amazing Race). Christina Aguilera has returned with a short bob and slim bod, and Cee Lo Green debuted a head tattoo (don’t worry, it’s not real, but already has a parody Twitter account) and an outfit as if he were “stealing Michael Jackson’s clothes,” according to Adam Levine. However, the season 5 premiere wasn’t the most successful night for reigning three-peat Voice champion Blake Shelton.

STORY: 'The Voice's' Christina Aguilera Returns Refreshed and Ready to Rumble

Once the coaches kicked off the season with its traditional ensemble performance – this time, joining forces for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – the Blind Auditions began, complete with hot hooks, tear-jerking back stories, and creative musical gimmicks that win every time.

Meet the first additions to The Voice’s fifth season (and the ones who nearly made the cut):

Kat Robichaud
Song:“I Got the Music in Me”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Green, Aguilera, Shelton
The female bandleader of The Design revealed that she met her husband on the road, and recently lost her dad to rheumatoid arthritis. A lifelong lover of glam rock, Robichaud’s raspy rendition of The Kiki Dee Band’s hit simultaneously enticed three coaches. Good call picking Team Cee Lo to channel David Bowie and Queen. Extra points for doing high kicks in striped pants and platform heels during deliberation.

Caroline Pennell
Song: “Anything Could Happen”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Shelton, Green
The super sweet 17-year-old indie fan musically came of age at camp, and sang a ballad version of the Ellie Goulding track with a quirk that reminded loyal Voice fans of Melanie Martinez’ creative stylings. It’ll be interesting to see if her new coach Green will edge up her image or let her stick to floral-printed dresses.

STORY: Nigel Lythgoe Angered, 'Shocked' by 'The Voice' Emmy Win

Donna Allen
Song: “You Are So Beautiful”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Aguilera, Levine
A member of the Miami Sound Machine (yes, Gloria Estefan’s Miami Sound Machine), the 54-year-old put her musical career on hold for motherhood. Her soulful notes immediately won over Aguilera and Levine, and though Shelton tried to encourage Allen to kick off Team Christina, she chose Levine – but we’re not really sure why. Maybe just so she could wrap her legs around him in that hug? Don’t take it too personally, Christina.

Jake Worthington
Song: “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
Coaches who turned their chairs: none
The 17-year-old Texas cowboy got the coaches singing along with their backs turned, meaning he at least picked a great audition song. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, I screwed the pooch,” said Shelton in regret.

Matthew Schuler
Song: “Cough Syrup”
Coaches who turned their chairs: all four
This adorable guy is a Westchester University student who plays rugby, a bagel shop employee who writes songs at work, and a pastor’s son whose family moved their congregation into their house’s basement. And then, he sang a Young the Giant hit with an epic a cappella intro that instantly – no really, instantly – won over all the coaches and got them all out of their chairs. Shockingly, he goes with Team Christina! She better not ditch him for her signature powerhouse female diva; instead, do it like Dez Duron who was the last one singing on Team Christina in season three.

STORY: Carson Daly Joining NBC's 'Today'

Nic Hawk
Song: “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops)”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Levine, Green
The 26-year-old moved home to help his brother with epilepsy, especially since their stepfather abandoned the family, to support his family through bartending and hip hop dance classes. He championed the tricky Blu Cantrell hit with plenty of attitude and breath control. “I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to focus because you’re so good looking,” Hawk teased to Levine, just before picking him.

Matthew Brea
Song: “I Want You Back”
Coaches who turned their chairs: none
The 15-year-old Haitian lost his younger brother when he was seven, and couldn’t finish singing at his funeral. Along with Julianna Bastone, Samuel Mancini and Franchika, Brea walked away from the stage without a coach.

Shelbie Z.
Song: “Here for the Party”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Aguilera, Green, Shelton
The Southern stylist and pageant coach was teased by classmates for her size, but sold three coaches on Gretchen Wilson’s spicy song. Naturally, the country girl picked Shelton, who was singing an octave lower during her audition.

Josh Logan
Song: “Too Close”
Coaches who turned their chairs: Levine, Aguilera, Shelton
The part-time musician and teen father is a welcome replica of Alex Clare with just a touch of Gavin DeGraw, earning “man crushes” from Levine and Shelton. But because his vocal runs mirror Aguilera’s, he joined Team Christina.

VIDEO: 'The Voice' Featurette Goes Backstage With the Reunited Coaches

Delvin Choice
Song: “Closer”
Coaches who turned their chairs: none
The classical music student and colorful personality made a mistake by picking the Ne-Yo dance hit for his audition. However, he shared that he’s known at the “singing barista” at Starbucks (which made for a nice spot for the sponsoring company).

James Wolpert
Song: “Love Interruption”
Coaches who turned their chairs: all four
The Apple store employee dropped out of an art program at Carnegie Mellon University to pursue music, and though the coaches sat silently through half of the Jack White track, all four turned their chairs when Wolpert added rasp and stretched his range. After begging and pleadings and embarrassing name dropping, the tech artist opted for Levine. Maybe that NBA three-peat championship argument really was what won Wolpert over.

After the first night of Blind Auditions, the contestant count puts Team Adam in the lead at three, Team Christina and Team Cee Lo tied with two each, and Shelton trailing behind with one. That’s probably the only way to humble a three-peat Voice champion – clever editing of a pre-taped round.

Twitter: @cashleelee