The Turning Chairs Return

Judges battling for talented performers, singers battling to win the hearts of the judges, and the race for first place can only mean one thing – The Voice is returning for another season. The Emmy-winning singing competition show opened it’s sixth season Monday night with the return of last Spring’s coaches, Usher and Shakira, and a new set of singing hopefuls wishing for a chair turn.

The coaches started the premiere by singing each others’ hits, three-time winner Blake Shelton took on Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever” and she added flare to his “Boys Round Here,” then Usher and Adam sang each others “Without You” and “Love Somebody.”

The first contestant of the 2-hour premiere was 19 year old Christina Grimmie, who has 2 million subscribers on YouTube and an even larger voice. She sang Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” minus the nakedness and hammer licking, and scored a four chair turn and an inevitable coach fight. Adam Levine commented on her ease on stage, while Shakira said she’d be the best to understand the up-and-coming star because she’s a woman. Ultimately Grimmie chose Levine, who went with her backstage to hug her family.

Another young singer, Bria Kelly, sang a James Taylor song with more bluesy emotion than most 17 year olds usually harbor. She, like Grimmie, got all coaches to turn around and also Blake Shelton to call her a “stud.” Usher ended up snatching her up after flaunting his Grammy.

Duo and real-life couple, Dawn & Hawkes, sang the Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and got turns from Shakira and Adam Levine. Levine praised their performance and called it his favorite that he’s ever seen on the show, which says a lot since he’s been on the show every single season. Even though Usher and Shelton rallied behind Shakira and her 24 million Twitter followers, the couple listened to the audience and chose Levine.

Returning contestant Jake Worthington, who didn’t get a chair turn during season five, performed Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and snagged three coaches fighting for him. Levine chose to point out that Shelton, although a three time winner, has only won once with a country singer and to not chose Shakira while blinded by lust. Shelton only had to ask the high school senior if he wanted to be a real country singer to win him over.

Other performers of the night were TJ Wilkins performing a soulful spin on “Bennie and the Jets” and landing on Usher’s team, openly gay country singer Kristen Merlin chose Shakira after she promised to call Miranda Lambert to help coach her, and former college baseball coach, Jeremy briggs, caused Shakira to jump into a dance break after joining her team.

The new season continued with the next nights blind auditions, starting with Delvin Choice, a Starbucks barista who tried out for the show before without any chairs turning.  After receiving some advice from Levine last season on choosing a better song, he performed Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song For You.” He got all four judges to turn, and joined Team Adam.

Country singer Cary Laine took on The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” making all four coaches turn around and fight for her powerful voice. Levine invited the 28 year old to sit in his chair causing Shakira and Usher to also let her try out their chairs. Usher then attempted to seduce her onto his team and Shelton reminded the country hopeful about season three winner Cassadee Pope, who already has a number one album. To the shock of the coaches, and her son backstage, Laine chose Team Adam.

Other performers from the second night include 16 year old Madilyn Paige and her soft cover of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium,” joining Usher, Noah Lis’ rendition of “Me and Mrs. Jones,” that landed him with Shelton, and 16 year old Deja Hall, who got snagged by Shakira because of her performance of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”

The Voice continues its blind auditions on Monday.