The Voice recap: New season kicks off

Scenes from Season 6 of The Voice. (NBC/Handout)

Scenes from Season 6 of The Voice. (NBC/Handout)

Jason MacNeil, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 PM ET

The new season of The Voice kicked off Monday with a two-hour debut of blind auditions teeming with ambition.

After all four coaches – Adam Levine, Usher, Shakira and Blake Shelton – opened with what could be dubbed CMT Crossroads from Hell, things got started with Christina Grimmie. With her family looking on, Grimmie nailed Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball with three of the four judges wanting seconds afterwards. Two standing ovations by Usher were in vain as Grimmie went with Levine.

Meanwhile Los Angeles soul singer T.J. Wilkins took a more adventurous route, slightly revamping Elton John's Benny And The Jets. Although it took a bit longer to gel, the closing moments had Wilkins working the song into his soul-stirring wheelhouse. Here Usher ended up being the chosen one, stating Wilkins was hitting some fine falsetto notes.

From there, country singer Kristen Merlin – who sings four to six times a week professionally – covered Sugarland's Something More. Merlin wanted Shelton to be her coach but the country star didn't want her. Shelton thought Shakira would be the perfect coach and Merlin agreed. Shakira said she'd get pointers from Miranda Lambert.

The first contestant shutout was Tanner Linford. The 16-year-old showed some range with Rihanna's Stay but all four didn't quite feel he was there yet. The same couldn't be said for Denver native, father of six and pastor Biff Gore, who quipped he had a “keg” compared to Usher's lean “six-pack” stomach. Gore went with Usher after his soulful rendition on Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come eventually won the coach over.

The show's final singer was blues belter Bria Kelly. All four judges gave the 17-year-old a standing ovation for Steamroller Blues before Usher with a Grammy in hand sealed the deal.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came in a duet from Dawn and Hawkes, who nailed the Beatles’ I've Just Seen A Face in a warm, folksy facet. Levine seemed genuinely eager to coach the couple, adding it was his “favourite performance ever” during The Voice. The heartfelt plea struck a deeper chord than Shakira citing her 70 million Facebook followers.

Shakira also scored a bit of a coup with rocker Jeremy Briggs. The Sacramento native shone on Bad Company's Bad Company and Shelton instantly lapped it up. However Briggs opted for Shakira, leaving the Latin diva to commit some semblance of dancing. Shelton successfully pulled out all the stops to land country singer (and return contestant) Jake Worthington who delivered Keith Whitley's Don't Close Your Eyes perfectly.

As for biggest bust, Leo Gallo's choreography-filled moment to shine was lost on the coaches. Had Gallo been auditioning for The Dance he might have had a chance. Sadly a weak performance of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines screamed cruise ship entertainer and not potential pop superstar. Philly native Karina Mia didn't quite hit the mark with Emeli Sande's Beneath Your Beautiful but got hugs and encouragement from Shakira and Levine.

 

 


Videos

Photos