The Voice returned for its 15th season on NBC tonight, with Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson settling into the coach seats for the Blind Auditions. Coaches have one block this round, which they can use to disqualify another coach from the running.
First up was 15-year-old singer Sarah Grace, singing “Ball and Chain” by Janis Joplin. She has experience playing piano in a band with her family and gravitates toward the blues. Clarkson turned first, followed by Shelton and Hudson. Clarkson praised her “stank face” while performing, and Hudson similarly said she could sense her strong stage presence without even seeing her. Grace joined Team Kelly.
Tyshawn Colquitt, who has a cake business with his mother, was up next. He sang “Like I Can” by Sam Smith, turning the chairs of Hudson and Shelton with his smooth voice and warm tone. Colquitt seemed to have his mind made up before the coaches even made their pitches: He joined Team Jennifer. “Your voice is limitless,” Hudson said.
The 17-year-old artist Tyke James gave a folky performance of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran next, accompanying himself on the guitar. Levine was the only coach to turn, so he joined Team Adam by default.
Ayanna Joni, who has worked professionally as an actor and singer, came to The Voice hoping to take her career to the next level. She sang “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato and had some pitch issues, so she didn’t turn any chairs. However, she was chosen as a comeback artist, which means she will compete against other Blind Auditions rejects in The Voice’s online series The Comeback Stage and possibly rejoin the main competition later in the season.
After failing to turn a chair last season, Mercedes Ferreira-Dias came back to sing Sara Bareilles, vowing not to hold back this time. Sure enough, she snagged two turns at the last second this time around, with Shelton and Clarkson going head-to-head for the artist. She surprised by joining Team Blake despite being a better genre fit for Clarkson’s team.
The next artist, 19-year-old Radha, cited her father as one of her musical inspirations. She sang “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J and impressed Levine, Hudson and Shelton. Levine chose to block Hudson, which worked in his favor, because Radha joined Team Adam. “I think you could win, and I think it’s with me,” Levine said.
Kameron Marlowe sang “One Number Away” by Luke Combs. He was a straightforward, radio-ready country artist, so Shelton obviously turned. But Clarkson through her hat in the ring, too. A big Shelton fan, Marlowe unsurprisingly joined Team Blake.
Clarkson got another chance to go for a country artist when Mikele Buck took the stage with his performance of “She Used To Be Mine” by Brooks & Dunn. Clarkson and Shelton both turned again, but this time Team Kelly landed the country artist, with some backup support from Levine.
Sam Hastings’ performance of “Angela” by The Lumineers did not turn any chairs.
Patrique Fortson was the second-to-last artist of the night. He gave a soulful performance of “Get Here” by Oleta Adams. Fortson recorded a gospel album when he was just 7 years old, and his experience came through in his audition. Levine and Hudson both turned.
As is The Voice tradition, the first night of the Blind Auditions ended with a four-chair turn. It went to 13-year-old artist Kennedy Holmes, who sang “Turning Tables” by Adele. “I think you’re the best vocalist that has auditioned this year,” Shelton said. “You sound so beautiful,” Clarkson added. Hudson pulled out the move where she gets onstage and sings with the artist, and it did the trick: After their brief duet of Hudson’s own “I Am Changing,” Holmes joined Team Jennifer.
The Blind Auditions continue tomorrow night on NBC.