'The Voice' Recap: John Legend Joins for Season 16
NBC's The Voice returned for its 16th season on Monday night, with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend searching for talent during a whole new round of the Blind Auditions. It is Legend’s first time as coach, and Clarkson is coming off a two-season win streak. As a reminder, during this round, coaches can choose to block other coaches once.
The Blind Auditions got started with Gyth Rigdon, who sang “Drift Away.” He’s a small-town boy who worked with racehorses growing up, and he gravitates toward country, making him a clear contender for Team Blake. Rigdon brought energy and a clear tone to his performance, earning turns from Shelton, Clarkson and Legend. Shelton, however, blocked Legend, taking him out of the running. Unsurprisingly, Rigdon landed on Team Blake.
Maelyn Jarmon, who is deaf in one ear, was up next, singing “Fields of Gold” by Sting. She delivered a seasoned performance that made her experience clear, and she even showed off a high note. She easily secured a four-chair turn, and Clarkson called her “unstoppable.” Jarmon went with the newbie and chose Team John.
Next, Karen Galera sang “Mi Corazoncito” by Aventura, a song introduced to her by her brother. She sang in Spanish, which was a great choice, helping her stand out and also showcase part of her identity, which she said was important to her. Clarkson turned first, followed by Legend. Levine rallied behind Clarkson, and Galera indeed chose Team Kelly.
Trey Rose put his own spin on “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar. He had a singer-songwriter vibe, and both Shelton and Levine turned for him. Rose joined Team Adam.
Singing “No Scrubs” by TLC, Kim Cherry was up next. She had an impressive lower register and standout ad libs that helped her make the somewhat karaoke-y song sound more interesting. She rapped, too, which surprised the coaches. Clarkson turned during the rap part, joined shortly by Shelton. Cherry chose Team Blake, even though she was a better fit for Team Kelly. She could always end up there after future rounds shake out.
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 next, and Clarkson was into it enough that she hit her button and also 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.
Next up, Lisa Ramey sang Kings of Leon's “Sex on Fire.” She auditioned last season but did not receive any turns. Ramey made the song her own, and this time she got a turn from new coach Legend, so she joined Team John.
Jimmy Mowery next 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, so she joined Team Blake by default.
The season’s first duo, married couple Nathan and Chesi, 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 another four-chair turn for the evening, and Levine even 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.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.