7:02pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
Kelly Clarkson Makes Her Coaching Debut on 'The Voice'
The Voice returned for its 14th season on NBC tonight. Previous Voice coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Alicia Keys were joined by new coach Kelly Clarkson. Tonight was the first night of the blind auditions, the program's famed first round where coaches listen to artists without facing them and then turn around if they like what they hear. Artists who turn more than one chair have to pick which team they wish to join. This season added a twist to the blind auditions: Coaches can use a "block" to prevent another coach from getting an artist. They only get one block for the round.
The first artist to audition for season 14 was Britton Buchanan, a 17-year-old singer who performed "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne and accompanied himself on the guitar. He got the season off to a strong start: Levine, Keys and Shelton all turned. As part of their usual rivalry, Shelton went ahead and used his only block on Levine right out the gate. So Levine advocated for Keys. Buchanan indeed joined Team Alicia. Keys won the last time she was a coach on The Voice.
Next up was 14-year-old Brynn Cartelli, singing "Beneath Your Beautiful" by Labrinth. It was a strong performance, Cartelli showing a clear sense of artistry and a lot of versatility. She got turns from Clarkson and Shelton. Coming into her audition as a definite Clarkson fan, Cartelli joined Team Kelly, making her Clarkson's first artist as a Voice coach.
The next artist, Rayshun LaMarr, was diagnosed with lymphoma a few years ago. He lost his voice during treatment and hearing in one ear, but he is now cancer-free, and his hearing and voice have returned. For his blind audition, he sang "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey and gave a performance full of passion and a striking tone. He got an immediate turn from Levine, shortly followed by Keys. Levine already had a hashtag idea for him: #RayshunNation. "The sheer bliss that you sing with is really infectious," Levine said. LaMarr joined Team Adam.
Nashville artist Kyla Jade was up next, singing "See Saw" by Aretha Franklin. She has been singing professionally as one of former The Voice coach Jennifer Hudson's background singers. It was a magnetic performance, so it was surprising it took so long for Shelton and Clarkson to turn. "I love everything about you," Clarkson said. Even though she was a Clarkson fan, Jade joined Team Blake. Shelton won last season.
Worship leader Blaise Raccuglia followed, singing "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes. He did not turn any chairs.
Hoping to turn things around, 21-year-old Kelsea Johnson sang "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" by Meghan Trainor, showcasing impressive runs. Clarkson, Levine and Keys all turned for her. Clarkson wished she had blocked Keys. "Hands down, you could make a record right now," Clarkson said. Johnson was the second artist of the night to join Team Alicia.
Next up, movie theater bartender Drew Cole sang "Sex and Candy" by Marcy Playground. He went viral when he posted a video of himself playing guitar for his friend's dog. Cole got turns from rivals Shelton and Levine, but definitely seemed like a better fit for the latter. He joined Team Adam.
Singing "Believer" by Imagine Dragons, D.R. King was up next. He secured turns from Shelton and Clarkson, who seemingly had similar tastes on Monday night. King joined Team Kelly.
Kaleb Lee followed with a performance of "Never Wanted Nothin' More" by Kenny Chesney. Lee stopped singing in order to be with his family, but he came to The Voice ready to get back into the business. It was a straightforward country performance. Shelton and Clarkson turned again. Clarkson lost this time, even though she tried serenading Lee. He joined Team Blake.
Next up, Makenzie Thomas sang "Redbone" by Childish Gambino, but she failed to turn any chairs. The coaches encouraged her to come back.
The last artist of the night was Justin Kilgore, singing "Tomorrow" by Chris Young. He closed out the night with the first four-chair turn of the season. The coaches all fought for him more than for any other artist all night. Keys even used her block on Shelton. Kilgore cited Reba McEntire as an influence, and Clarkson jumped on that as a selling point for her team. He ultimately joined Team Kelly. Clarkson had a particularly strong night.