“The Voice” welcomes back Gwen Stefani as Season Nine Blinds begin!

Gwen Stefani returns to "The Voice"

Gwen Stefani reunites with Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and longtime friend Pharrell Williams as “The Voice: Season Nine” Blind Auditions begin! (Photo property of NBC & United Artists Media Group)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

The Emmy-winning Voice is back for its ninth season!

Season Seven standout coach Gwen Stefani is rejoining her partners-in-crime: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Season Eight-winning coach Pharrell Williams at the coaches’ deck.

Will Adam, Blake or Gwen find the talent to dethrone Pharrell? Did any of the artists tonight made a strong impression to begin their road to inherit Sawyer Fredericks’ crown? Read on to find out!

The show kicked off its ninth season with the annual Before Blinds coaches’ performance. Revisiting the tradition that started in Season Six, the Season Nine coaches sang a medley of each other’s hits. Gwen brought a Reggae twist to Blake’s “Neon Light,” while the four-time Voice winning coach tackled No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” Pharrell soared with Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and Adam closed the performance with his take on Daft Punk, Pharrell and Nile Rodgers’ Grammy-winning hit: “Get Lucky.”

As the quartet got into their chairs, it was time for the Blind Auditions to begin! Chicago native Mark Hood was the first artist to face the coaches. The pre-package definitely showcased his energy and I was interested to see how it translated to the stage. The longtime Voice fan tackled Bill Withers’ “Use Me.” I loved hearing his funky voice and reminded me of a combination of Jason DeRulo, Chris Brown and Stevie Wonder. Mark’s performance received the first four-chair turn of the season! Despite originally wanting Blake, Mark chose to go with last year’s winning coach as his mentor.

While Blake pit away his Pharrell hat, a familiar face to Jake’s Take readers headed to face the coaches. Mad Wolf’s lead singer Kota Wade was recruited by Carson Daly and was ready to take it to the next level. I got chills from her audition as she successfully took Panda Ross’s crown as Queen of “Bring It On Home to Me” in a performance that caught the attention of Gwen, Pharrell and Blake! While Blake called her a modern-day Cyndi Lauper, Kota chose to go with her fashion inspiration: Gwen Stefani!

33-year-old Irish rocker Keith Semple brought his family to his Blind Audition. He reminds me so much of Season Three’s Terry McDermott (vocally and personality wise). However, it took me a while to receive chills from Terry…I instantly got them when Keith sang Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You” that caught the attention of both Adam and Gwen! Both coaches used Bono to get him onto their time, but however Adam’s pitch was stronger than Gwen and Keith chose the Maroon 5 singer and he became the first member of Team Adam.

My very first impression of 15-year-old Siahna Kim was extremely cute! I also have to give her major props for name-dropping the late Ray Charles as a musical inspiration. I loved seeing Siahna blossom on the Voice stage with her cover of Natalie Cole’s “Fever.” She has an extremely bright future ahead of her and I think that Pharrell will be a great coach for her. However, I have a strong feeling that Gwen might steal her in the Battle Rounds if she loses.

For the first time ever, the audience got to experience a Blind Audition like the coaches. This artist (Jordan Smith) chose to cover Sia’s “Chandelier” for their Blind and I thought that it was an interesting decision that he chose to tackle the song that revitalized Emily West’s career (BTW, I already want Jordan and Emily to do a duet of this song on The Voice finale!).  As Jordan finished, he received a hug from Gwen and standing ovations from Adam, Blake and Pharrell. He reminds me a bit of Season Five finalist Will Champlin and Who is Fancy and I think that he could be a dark horse from Team Adam.

As Adam tried to blow up Blake’s ego, Nadjah Nicole prepared to take the stage. The single mom turned banker tackled KC native Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” and showcased a lot of pop soul that caught the attention of both original coaches. While the Maroon 5 singer tried to steal Nadjah away from the four-time winning coach, Nadjah was the first member of Team Blake!

Braiden Sunshine was another young singer who wanted to audition for the show and was inspired by last season’s winner Sawyer Fredericks to audition for the show. I was impressed with his vocals and he reminded me of a mini-Colton Dixon. I cannot believe it took both Gwen and Pharrell to the end of the song to turn their chairs around. Despite Braiden wanting to go on Team Pharrell, he scored a free t-shirt when he enlisted with Team Gwen.

The final singer of the night was Barrett Baber. After surviving a nasty airplane crash, the high school speech and drama teacher (and dad of two) wanted to overcome his past and deliver a spot on one of the coaches’ teams. His cover of “Angel Eyes” caught the attention of all four coaches and might have tied Sawyer for the fastest four-chair turn in the past two seasons. As Adam pointed out, Barrett loved all styles of music and could be a potential member of this season’s Top 20. Despite being the King of Four Chair Turns, Adam lost Barrett to Blake!

While the Season Nine Blind Auditions continue tomorrow night, I will be taking a night off due to Kol Nidre! See you next week!


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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar