Annnnd we’re back!
Now that the pesky “girl curse” has been broken once and for all — cue theaPharrell Williams prayer hands — it’s obviously gonna be ladies night every night up at Studio 12 for season 11 of The Voice.
Xtina cut and ran from her red swivel seat after helping former child star Alisan Porter achieve her dreams of snipping her Curly Sue roots and being known instead for her ballad belts in season 10. And Pharrell decided to pack up his treasure trove of hand-scrawled message T-shirts, too.
Taking the pair’s place this time around are Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus, two songstresses who are each having something of a ~moment~ in publicized self-discovery and -love. And judging by tonight’s *real* season premiere, they’re already ready to take charge of this joint and hang tough through Blake Shelton’s signature shtick moves — like whipping out a pair of Miley-cancelling earphones™ and a twin denim coat with giant fake flowers to match Miley’s oddball Canadian tuxedo — and launching the barbs right back at him and Adam Levine. Not to mention, claiming most of the contestants for their own squads, starting with the Olympics soft open which gave the ladies their first gold medal-worthy competitors.
The pre-premiere blinds
Wé McDonald (17 – Patterson, NJ)
“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Wé’s name earned a solid pun from the Team Blake pitch train — “I have a little tiny dream of introducing you at the Staples Center and saying, ‘Let me show you the Wé’” — but this girl had stars in her eyes at the very sight of Alicia Keys’ chair turning her direction, so it was over long before the tiny soul singer finished her last deep note and then shocked the whole panel with her Minnie Mouse speaking voice. Alicia’s deal-sealing line: “I got you for real. I heard you just now. I know you. You and me.”
Darby Walker (17 – Burbank, CA)
“Stand By Me” by Florence + the Machine
Darby Walker certainly played to her strengths when she opted to go full throttle with the Florence Welch audial impersonation because she sounded just like the powerhouse during her performance… maybe even too much so. But Miley, Alicia, and Blake tamped their buttons for her, giving Miley an opportunity to take the stage with her flower power style twin — who also shared in her love of Grandma Power, apparently — for a duet of “Jolene,” and with that, it was done.
Jason Warrior (21 – Chicago, IL)
“Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder
This Windy City native has a hankering for musical theater work and thinks his last name is the perfect moniker match for his will to survive and thrive in a dangerous neighborhood. His energy and note runs that won’t quit got the attention of Alicia and Adam, but even Adam knew he had exactly zero chance at welcoming this one into his crew once Alicia mentioned her respect for his sense of focus on being an entertainer. It didn’t help that Adam started bragging about winning three out of 10 seasons because Miley’s right; those stats don’t sound as good as they are.
Dave Moisan (33 — Louisville, KY)
“Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground
The season’s first four chair-spin came by way of this All American-swimmer-turned-Maroon 5 concert enthusiast and medical equipment-slinger. His unironically jazzy rendition of the ‘90s radio hit was enough to perk all of the coaches’ interests, and Adam especially wanted to work with him thanks to their mirror style and falsetto fetches. Dave was ultimately lured over to Team Alicia by her spooky wisdom about getting his soul into it, though, and Adam was pret-ty peeved at Miley and Blake for their added interference.
NEXT: This lady has ’em all begging… [pagebreak]
Courtnie Ramirez (17 – Bryan, TX)
“Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J
This Christian songwriter-in-waiting got both of the lady coaches to turn after she rocked her range with the British pop favorite, but she felt like Miley most believed in her potential.
Sundance Head (37 – Porter, TX)
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding
Sundance is a good ole’ country boy with a family tradition in music, who lives on a farm with his entire extended family and countless rescue dogs… and he’s pretty darn slick with the, to borrow Adam’s phrasing, “hat and boots rock” he lays down for his blind. Adam insists he doesn’t need to check the box next to twang and that he can ditch the genre game altogether if he wants, but he knew. Blake was the one, no matter what Adam had to say … or how much he freaked out the guy’s poor kids.
Maggie Renfroe (16 – Macon, GA)
“Lost Boy” by Ruth B
Maggie’s a full-on saint who spends her downtime singing at her local children’s hospital and raising awareness for autism research, but her nice tones needed a little bit of a tune-up before this quartet of coaches would want to take her on. ‘Til next time, little lady.
Ali Caldwell (28 – Woodbridge, NJ)
“Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
This R&B artist has a lot of experience under her belt — she was once in a girl group called Exhale and is something of a touring celebrity in Moscow — and she manages to knock all the socks in the room off with her massive tones and solid range. “You are it, you are it,” Adam insisted, comparing his initial response to her to what he felt after Jordin Smith and Alisan Porter came to do their blinds. “My entire season hinges on whether or not I have you on my team.” Even when Blake tried to hate on his chauffeur-ready suit game, he cleanly knocked the lobbed ball right back saying, “I am ready to drive her all the way to the top.” He wasn’t the only one groveling for her attention, of course. Miley also called her a finale shoo-in and ultimately won her team allegiance because she wanted to “dare to be different.” Ya know, like a dangerous woman.
Riley Elmore (16 – West Dundee, IL)
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
This youngster is obviously an old soul transplant from another generation, but there is one contemporary who totally gets his allegiance to the smoky lounge-style crooning game: Adam Levine. In fact, Adam’s a big fan of the ‘ol Blue Eyes classic of the night, so he takes the stage to show him that it’s about more than just a radio-ready voice that’s essential to making the number — you’ve gotta be a cool, hip customer, too, and he knows just the guy to help him loosen up. Blake Shelton, predictably, tried to shove his friendship with Michael Bublé into the picking mix, but it was too little, too late by then… and, besides, Adam really needed to add somebody to his list tonight.
NEXT: Judges get “Jealous”[pagebreak]
Dana Harper (25 – Dallas, TX)
“Jealous” by Nick Jonas
It took a sec for her strength with low notes to really come through with such a falsetto-centric pick, but eventually Alicia, Blake, and Adam all bid for her to join them. Alicia tries her darndest to woo another one with her “I hear your life coming through” spirit tap, but Dana Harper’s harboring a little crush for Blake Shelton right about now (she even says to him, “I love you DAD” during his adulation of her performance). Even though he turned for her, he didn’t see it coming when she opted to stick to her southern roots with his team, but, hey, Alicia’s got no hard feelings about the match and even agrees to help him with some clutch song selections for her in the future.
Gabe Broussard (15 – Lafayette, LA)
“Lonely Night in Georgia” by Marc Broussard
He bears no known relation to the singer who shares his name and whose song he struts out tonight, but Adam thinks Gabe’s got the looks and sound of his namesake in the best-worst way. “Your face is so sweet, but your voice is up to no good,” he says. Blake agrees that there’s some sultriness that’s way above his age range woven within his tones — “When you started singing you sounded like such a frickin’ stud,” he said. That was the sweet-talking BB Broussard needed, apparently, ‘cause he signs onto the Team Blake dotted line right away.
Chris Cron (33 – Orange County, CA)
“Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS
You might not know his name, but there are a lot of Japanese people who might recognize Chris Cron in a crowd thanks to the success of his former band Melee overseas a few years back. He wants to prove his worth on the home front, too, but unfortunately nobody was truly feeling what he laid down tonight. “He had a great voice, it was all there, but I didn’t quite hear him in it,” Alicia said. Tough break.
Christian Cuevas (20 – Orlando, FL)
“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton
There’s a reason this guy’s rendition of the coulda-been-stank-cheese ‘80s power ballad struck such a chord with so many coaches; he was drawing from somewhere deep with every word, after the recent, sudden passing of his father. Wherever the raw presence came from, it was felt throughout the room, apparently, because Blake was hypnotized (and, as Miley precisely predicted, he even declared himself “a fan” to curry some favor), Adam’s mind was blown, and Alicia “really, really, really felt” him in that moment. Ultimately, he helped round out Alicia’s utter domination of her very first round’s haul by hopping aboard her team, but even Adam couldn’t argue with the decision — “She’s Alicia Keys. How are you gonna argue with that? I would pick Alicia,” he said. No one, no one, no o-o-o-o-one can get in the way of what they’re feeling.
- Team Adam (1) – Riley Elmore
- Team Alicia (4) – Wé McDonald, Jason Warrior, Dave Moisan, Christian Cuevas
- Team Blake (3) – Sundance Head, Dana Harper, Gabe Broussard
- Team Miley (3) – Darby Walker, Courtnie Ramirez, Ali Caldwell
Tastiest coach ribs of the night:
- Miley Cyrus: “We don’t need two Adam Levines. We barely need one.”
- Adam Levine (to Blake): “Why do you have to put everything in a box? Why? ‘Cause you’re square?”
- Each and every time Miley Cyrus made fun of “Honey Bee” to Blake’s face.