“The Voice” returned to NBC on Monday with the first round of “Blind Auditions” and sparks are already beginning to fly both on stage and with the coaches as they try to form the team of artists they’ll mentor for the rest of the competition.
Season 8 sees Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera united for the first time as she returns after having her second baby. The pair join Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, following his Oscar performance of nominated song, “Lost Stars,” on Sunday.
Aguilera, Levine, Williams and Shelton kicked off the season with a raucous rendition of Lenny Kravitz‘s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”
“For me as a coach, it’s about nurturing talent,” said Levine in a voiceover, while Aguilera strutted across the stage in black leather and lace. “It’s a cool dynamic that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
After the professionals were done showing off their moves, it was time for the contestants to wow them, beginning with 34-year-old rocker Sarah Potenza from Nashville, who impressed everyone but landed on Team Blake because of their shared Tennessee roots.
Other aspiring stars aiming for their chance at reality fame were Lowell Oakley, Rob Taylor and Treeva Gibson, the 16-year-old daughter of deaf parents who has hearing problems herself.
The night wasn’t without its drama, however, as Levine had a tantrum because he failed to recruit a single team member despite heavily laying down the charm, especially with country crooner Cody Wickline, who he said had a “truly brilliant voice [that can] transcend all genres … I am going to fight so hard for you.” Fought he did, but sadly he lost to his greatest rival.
When Levine later stormed off in a huff, Shelton basked in his own glory. “Adam was truly heartbroken, and that makes me so happy,” he said.
An early frontrunner on Monday was contemporary soul singer Sawyer Fredericks from Fultonville, New York, who caught the attention of fans on social media.
The long-haired 15-year-old also enraptured the coaches when they all quickly span their chairs around to both watch and listen, giving a standing ovation from all four for his performance of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” which was featured in the 2000 George Clooney film, “O Brother, Where Art Tho?”
Levine vowed that if Fredericks didn’t pick him, “he was going to change his mind.” But, you guessed it — he didn’t.
“The Voice” airs Mondays on NBC at 8 p.m.
Watch the video of the coaches’ opening performance here.