Some of the best coaches in the history of The voice have been alumni of talent shows, such as American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. Now, with Kelly taking a break from the show after eight consecutive seasons, another superstar with a background in singing competitions is taking her red seat: Camila Cabello, who became famous for her beginnings in the X Factor girl group Fifth Harmony. And after last season’s underwhelming performance by Gen Z-friendly pop star trainer Ariana Grande, followed by The voiceThe unprecedented break of a year, so far, the likeable Camila seems to be exactly what this series needs. To employ a favorite Kelly catchphrase, Camila might have the best chance of browsing this show this year.
“It feels like a full circle, because I also started on the singing competition show,” Camila explained on Monday’s season 22 premiere, though, like Kelly and J.Hud before her, she conveniently never mentioned the actual singing competition show that gave her her big break. Even the contestants tried very hard not to mention The X Factor in the air. And there was a funny moment later when Camila’s co-stars mistook her for someone who had appeared on america’s got talent, star searcheither America’s Funniest Home Videosbut not The X Factor.
As for those co-stars, occupying the other chairs this Voice season are three returning coaches: EGOT winner John Legend (Camila’s “best friend” because she was her team’s advisor last year) and the cute Voice power couple Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani. Blake seemed delighted to have Gwen back on the show (this is the first time they’ve sat on the panel together as husband and wife), but the head coach clearly felt threatened by Camila, who came to the set with attitude, grit and real. cunning strategy that seemed to be working. At one point, Camila even challenged Blake to become a country singer, Orlando Mendez, specifically because she Dear train with Blake. And (spoiler alert), Blake. lost!
Blake was having a rough night overall: He didn’t recruit a single contestant for his team during the two-hour episode, so he went to great lengths, at one point bringing out a furry, hoofed, and ultimately uncooperative pet that reminded me of that kidnapped goat of Raquel the brady group. (Because Blake is supposedly the GOAT of The voiceGet it?)
Blake also introduced a shady tactic/trick from Season 22, ordering the stagehands to mute Camila’s microphone whenever she talked too much. Blake tried to interrupt Camila during Monday’s first audition for country/pop singer Morgan Myles, and was still trying during Kacey Musgraves’ final audition for songbird Kate Kalvach. But Camila was so determined that she just couldn’t be silenced. And that’s when the guaranteed hilarity.
Below are the successful blind auditions for Monday’s season 22 premiere:
Morgan Myles, 35: “Hallelujah”
Wow, seriously? East hype song, right out the door? There have obviously been plenty of charming, often Jeff Buckley-inspired interpretations of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in The voice (Y IdolY X Factor, and all the other talent shows on TV), so I’m not sure we needed another one. That said, Morgan’s version was “so pretty,” as Gwen noted, and when this “edge of the country” industry veteran messed it up a bit and let out that snarl, she grabbed the attention of all the trainers. John called her performance “exquisite” and even “one of the best blind auditions I’ve seen in a long time.” Camila told Morgan: “You have a beautiful tone. I want to listen to your records.
Who turned? The four coaches, but Camila blocked Gwen! “I did my homework. I know how the blocks work and I immediately thought, ‘Gwen is going to love her,'” the wily new trainer explained. “The new kid on the block blocked me!” Gwen gasped.
Result: Camila team! I guess Camila comparing Morgan to Rihanna was more convincing than Blake sharing war stories about her early days in Nashville. “We should all be a little scared of Camila,” John noted.
Omar José Cardona, 33: “Separate paths”
Omar the showman had such theatrical tendencies that I wish he had recreated Journey’s ridiculously bad “Separate Ways” music video, with Paul Mirkovich’s band mimicking the wind instruments in the background. I think that could have improved this performance, honestly. I appreciated Omar’s ’80s rock influences and soft mic stand, but he struggled remarkably to hit those Steve Perry power notes. Gwen was overly excited when she said, “I haven’t heard a voice like that since the ’80s,” and Camila was downright blasphemous when she said that Omar had “Freddie Mercury vibes.” Maybe this performance sounded different/better in the room.
Who turned? All four coaches, surprisingly. Everyone seemed especially surprised that John turned first.
Result: Legend Team! He was sure Omar would choose ’80s queen Gwen, but it seems John’s comment, “You’re the kind of artist who can win The voice”, sealed the deal. I’m not sure John is so right about that, though.
Ian Harrison, 20: “The night we met”
Ian, this season’s iconic indie folk, did a beautiful rendition of Lord Huron’s song, dedicated to his musician father, who committed suicide when Ian was 9 years old. He wasn’t a power singer, more of a Lewis Capaldi/Damien Rice type, with oddly British-sounding rounded vowels, so the coaches took their time turning around. But Gwen, an artist who often wears her own heart on her designer’s sleeve, seemed particularly intrigued by Ian’s “character voice” and vulnerability. “You are a super interesting artist. You showed your heart, and it was very pure,” she said.
Who turned? Blake, John and Gwen.
Result: Team Gwen, of course.
Emma Brooke, 19: “California Dreaming”
Emma’s slow, dramatic interpretation of the Mamas & the Papas classic reminded me of the Lion from the masked singer Season 1 (this was a Okay stuff; the Lion, aka Rumer Willis, was mugged!). Emma is classically trained, and she showed it through thick and thin; she would do well to dirty things herself in the future.
Who turned? John and Gwen.
Result: Team legend. John is also classically trained, so this pairing made more sense.
Orlando Méndez, 26: “Beer never broke my heart”
This one could have gone either way. As a Cuban-American singer born in Camila’s hometown of Miami, Camila seemed like an obvious trainer for Orlando. But…Orlando is a country singer, who sings about beer! (Blake’s congratulatory incentive/prize for his team members this season is a custom beer.) Gwen also seemed to like this confident artist, trying to convince Orlando: “I’m basically country now.”
Who turned? The four coaches. Camila actually urged Blake to become because she wanted the satisfaction of luring a country contestant away from Team Blake. Bold!
Result: Camila team. “Camila, let’s do this, girl!” Orlando yelled. This was Camila’s second four-chair contestant of the night, and the episode was far from over.
David Andrew, 25: “Falling”
A professional background singer for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Mickey Guyton and Kane Brown, David had a really cool stage presence and good looks. In fact, he somewhat resembled John Legend, and had once been John’s understudy on a television taping, dueting with Carrie Underwood during rehearsal. But David’s “dream is to be center stage,” and he deserves that opportunity. I liked his sophistication, restraint, and pure tone, as did Gwen, who called him “literally mind-blowing” and praised his “style, energy, vibe, and brilliance.”
Who turned? John and Gwen, who gave him a standing ovation.
Result: Team legend. of course David Dyed to go with his short-haired doppelganger.
Jay Allen, 36: “Until you can’t”
Jay’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and died three years ago at age 54. He wrote a benefit single in her honor, “Blank States”, which eventually grossed over $50 million. Later on Monday’s episode, he performed that song for the coaches, and it was far more powerful than the more conversational version of Cody Johnson that he auditioned with; in fact, it almost felt like a winning coronation song moment. But there was no denying Jay’s star quality from the get-go. Blake joked that Jay’s tattooed heartthrob looked like a UFC fighter, and Jay could put up a good fight on this show.
Who turned? Blake and Gwen.
Result: Team Gwen! Jay said he has a “rock side,” so apparently that gave the No Doubt frontwoman, a country music moonlighter, the upper hand here. “Blake, I’m a big fan and I respect you a lot, but I have to choose your wife,” Jay explained sheepishly.
Kate Kalvach, 27 years old: “Rainbows”
The daughter of itinerant music pastors, Kate began singing secular music with the encouragement of her Czech-born husband and mentor. She was expecting a big ecclesiastical gospel voice, but her Kate had more of a lovely indie vibe. At first I thought her pronunciation was too closed and confusing, but when she started to open up, both vocally and emotionally, magic happened and the trainers finally came around. She has a truly unique style. “I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone who can get in and out of her voice in her head and her chest so seamlessly,” Gwen commented.
Who turned? Blake, Gwen and Camila, all at the last minute.
Result: It’s a highlight! We’ll find out when the second episode of Season 22’s Blind Auditions airs on Tuesday. Blake did his best to silence Camila while she made her big sales pitch, of course, but she jumped up from her chair. and shouted his words of praise to Kate. Meanwhile, Kate complained, “Blake was my first choice, and he even fought for me,” so I don’t expect Blake’s luck to change in the first few minutes of Tuesday’s episode. Until then.
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