By Tionah Lee
For the Baltimore Sun
10:33 AM EDT, September 24, 2013
Monday night’s season opener brought the return of the shows four original coaches. Fresh off an Emmy win, Season 1’s winner Adam Levine, three-time "The Voice" champion Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera were ready to pick lucky contestants to join their teams in night one of the blind audition round. Before kicking off the competition the coaches performed the Joan Jett classic “I Love Rock & Roll” showing off their teamwork before it became every man (or woman) for themselves.
(Sidebar: In case we forgot the rules, or this is our first time giving the show a chance, each contestant comes out and performs for each of the judges, and the live studio audience. While the contestant is performing (and Carson Daly is backstage freaking out with their families) the coaches’ chairs are faced towards the audience. If they like what they hear, they press the big red button and turn around. If there are numerous votes the contestant picks the coach they want to advance with throughout the season, if not … they do not make it to the next round.)
Kicking off the competition was former rock star Kat Robichaud. Kat wowed the judges and audience with her powerhouse high-kicks and rendition of the KiKi Dee Band’s classic “I Got the Music in Me.” Automatically getting four spins from the coaches, Kat couldn’t be thrilled to see coaches Cee-Lo, Blake and Christina fighting (with words) over her. Kat decided to take her soul to team Cee-Lo. Coach Cee-Lo did not stop there, after hearing 17-year-old giggly summer camp star Caroline Pennell sing “Anything Can Happen” beating Coach Blake and putting his faith in the first two contestants of the night.
We love when the talent isn’t young. Veteran performer and former Miami Sound Machine background singer Donna Allen won the hearts of the judges and America with her version of “You Are So Beautiful.” As soon as the 54-year-old “trailblazer” belted out the tune, Adam and Christina were eager to have her on their teams. Although Christina connected with her tone and voice, Donna decided to keep Adam’s spirits high and break Christina’s heart and advance with Coach Adam. Joining her on Team Adam is the eccentric blend of Amy Winehouse and Jesse J, Nic Hawk. Can we mention how blown away we are the he actually performed a version of “Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" worthy of getting him through the competition.
While there was a lot of victory in the first part of the competition, the coaches couldn’t pick everyone, and had to let some good talent go until next time. Just when you thought Blake was going to end up with someone on his team, he decided not to turn around for country crooner Jake Worthington. Upset about his decision, Blake decided that it wasn’t the year for him. Jake, however, didn’t mind he was just happy to be there.
In what was possibly the biggest upset of the night, none of the coaches turned around for 15-year-old Matthew Brea. Matthew made it is mission to perform and sing in memory of his brother. After his energetic and upbeat performance of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” none of the judges turned their chairs, and realized what a big mistake they made after noticing how much talent the young teen had. After a tearful meeting with his parents and host Carson Daly, CeeLo rushed backstage to give the fellow Georgia native some words of encouragement, and made him promise to come back next season.
It’s OK, Matthew, I would have turned my chair for you.
It was time for another Matthew Schuler to shine. An order-taker and sandwich maker from Pennsylvania, he blew the judges away with his rendition of “Cough Syrup.” After getting all four judges to turn their chairs before he could begin his actual performance. After literally getting coaches Adam and Christina out of their seats, Blake and Ceelo tried interesting tactics to get him on their teams as well. Matthew decided to go with fellow Pennsylvania native (who knew?) and comeback coach Christina. After that, the talent kept coming to Team Christina. After his version of “Too Close” Blake Shelton’s man crush decided to keep the pattern of the boys going with the only female coach on the show.
Shelbie Z. A stylist and pageant coach from Tennessee was looking to take her talents in a new direction. After performing “Here for the Party” by Gretchen Wilson (and giving her a run for her money) coaches Ceelo, Christina, and Blake all wanted to party with Shelbie Z. on their teams. After much persuasion and talk about her cowboy boots, Shelbie decided to go Team Blake, becoming the only member of his team from night one.
It was the battle of the night when college dropout James Wolpert took the stage and performed “Love Interruption." Automatically al four coaches wanted the indie artist on their team. Although he wanted to choose them all, he decided to go with Coach Adam.
By the end of night one Team Adam had three contestants, both Team CeeLo and Team Christina had two and three-time champion Blake had one. Each coach still needs 12 contestants to complete their team. Who will be the first to do it, and who do you hope will take it all this season of "The Voice"?
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