‘The Voice’: Shakira, Usher, Adam Levine & Blake Shelton Start Things Off With A Cover Medley
Remember that time scientists grew a human ear on the back of a mouse, and it seemed like a good idea, but it kind of creeped people out? And despite how unnatural it was, it was kind of cool, and just too fascinating to to turn away? The opening performance The Voice Season 6 conjured similar emotions last night (February 24).
Blake Shelton begins the emotional roller coaster that is this medley with a country twist on Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever.” Shak saves it at the end, but then transitions into a cover of Blake’s “Boys ‘Round Here.” Though the international superstar exudes sex appeal doing just about anything, singing the words “chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit,” is just not one of them. The performance ends less traumatically than it begins when Usher sings Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody,” and Adam Levine closes with Usher’s David Guetta collab “Without You.”
Check out the carnage below and read on for our full recap.
Shake it off. At least Blake didn’t cover “Genie In A Bottle,” right?
After a dramatic opening sequence filled with slow motion hugs, contestant mentions of “once in a lifetime opportunities” and — of course — a reminder that the show has an Emmy under its belt, The Voice Season 6 is off and running. Take a gander at the first batch of contestants who made it through the Blind Auditions:
Christina Grimmie — 19 — New Jersey First up is Christina Grimmie, a semi-Youtube sensation who has over 2 million subscribers (and counting). Her effortless rendition of Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball” brings Usher to his feet, and has all four coaches vying for her. The soaring high notes Christina rocks at the end blow the coaches away.
“You’re more comfortable than I am up there, almost,” says Adam.
“In Season 4 I might have been hormonal and sleepless, but now I’m rested and focused like laser,” Shakira tells her.
“I plan on winning this entire thing with you,” Usher promises to the first — but (spoiler alert) not only — contestant of the evening.
“I want to make you be the winner of this show,” Blake agrees.
Christina takes the promises of certain victory with a rightful grain of salt, and picks Adam.
T.J. Wilkins — 23 — California Hailing from South Central Los Angeles, college music major T.J. Wilkins gives an R&B performance of Elton John‘s “Bennie And The Jets.” Going as far as to sing the piano runs, T.J. impresses Blake, Usher and Adam, who all try to win him over with glowing praise.
“It’s really refreshing when you see something that is clearly an R&B song, but it’s an Elton John song,” says Adam.
“I do hear an incredible R&B record in you,” says Usher. “I want to help you be the performer you can be and win this thing” (Usher: two for two on the victorious contestant promises).
“When you go for the high stuff, it’s unbelievable,” Blake tells T.J., who ultimately picks Usher, which prompts a victory dance from the coach.
Kristen Merlin — 29 — Massachusetts Working musician Kristen Merlin dabbles in all sorts of music, but gravitates mostly toward country. In 2012, she even won a “Sing with Sugarland” contest, and performed live with the band in Las Vegas. Fittingly, she does their song “Something More,” and although it’s a little shaky at first, she finds her voice and earns turns from both Adam and Shakira. Shakira, embracing the country of it all, is out of her chair dancing at the end the performance.
“It was so cool to hear your instincts,” says Adam. “I love the way that you dipped in and out; that sounded so pro.”
Shakira gets real, and presents the numbers. “I have over 20 million people on Twitter. These three guys combined, no offense, don’t even get 17.” Solidifying her bid, she promises to get support from Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert, in her coaching, hinting at a Blake/Shakira alliance. So it’s Blake-ira for the win!
Biff Gore — 45 — Colorado With a sixth child on the way, church pastor Biff Gore wants to win for his family. His soulful performance of Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come” hits a chord, and earns spins from all four coaches.
“Can I be your date at the Grammys when you and I win this thing?” asks Shakira. To Biff’s credit, he turns down Shakira’s date offer in favor of his pregnant wife at home.
“Individuality is what allows you to stand out from the rest,” says Usher, demonstrating his grasp of individuality’s definition.
“We all turned around because we all want to be a part of it,” Adam tells Biff.
“You just took me to church,” Blake adds.
All set for a future Grammys date, Biff turns down Shakira in favor of Usher.
Dawn & Hawkes — Texas First Duo alert! Indie-folk-Americana duo Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes (Dawn & Hawkes) are not only partners in music, but also partners in love (awww!). In addition to singing together, the pair also hold hands and give each other kisses and lots of loving looks. Yeah. It quickly goes from “awww” to “ugggh.” They do an acoustic performance of “I’ve Just Seen A Face” by The Beatles, earning enthusiastic turns from Adam and Shakira.
“That was my favorite performance I’ve ever seen ever on The Voice,” says a superlative-spewing Adam.
“You guys have the most amazing connection,” says Shakira. “You’re going to go straight to the top.”
Despite support from Blake and Usher, and the 70 million Facebook friends that Shakira boasts, Dawn & Hawkes select Adam as a coach.
Jeremy Briggs — 26 — California Sacramento native Jeremy Briggs wants to quit his day job at the unemployment office (irony?) to turn his night job as a musician into a full time gig. His strong performance of “Bad Company” earns spins from Blake and Shakira.
“That was so smooth, but with still some power, I think you’d be good on Team Blake,” says the country coach.
“You have so much power in your voice, but in the same sense you have control and technique,” adds Shakira, who goes on to explain that she was once a rocker, too. In a surprising twist, Jeremy picks Shakira, and the Blakira alliance suffers a blow.
Jake Worthington — 17 — Texas In Season 6’s first returning contestant, 17 year-old Jake Worthington gives it a second try with Keith Whitley‘s “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” The country singer, who struck out during Season 5’s Blind Auditions, earns spins from Adam, Blake and Shakira with his slow acoustic performance.
“That was so beautiful,” says Adam.
“It was perfect,” Shakira agrees.
“You’re perfect,” Jake tells Shakira, sounding creepier than he probably intended.
Calling his former ally a “crappy coach,” Blake fights to deliver Jake from the temptation of Shakira. “Do you want to be a novelty, or do you want to be a real rootsy country singer?” he asks. Despite the initial perving on Shakira, Jake picks Blake with zero hesitation.
Bria Kelly — 17 — Virginia Closing out the night is a surprisingly soulful performance from 17 year-old Bria Kelly. The powerhouse teen earns spins from all four coaches with her rendition of James Taylor‘s “Steamroller Blues.” Despite some notes of goat, she inspires some lively competition from the coaches.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just heard THE voice,” says Usher, declaring his third future champion of the evening. He even goes as far as to pull out one of his Grammys to show her for the occasion.
“I can’t believe it’s you that was doing that,” marvels Adam.
“You are a stud,” says Blake. “It’s just a powerful presence up there.”
“She reminds me of myself when I was at her age,” says Shakira, taking a decidedly Aguilerian approach.
Despite going into the performance with a preference for Adam, Bria picks Usher. Bring your own Grammy next time, Levine, or you’re going to get upstaged.
By the end of the evening, Usher leads the group with three contestants (two of whom he has declared champs), followed by Adam and Shakira with two contestants each, and Blake lagging with just one. Blake will have time to catch up when night two of the Blind Auditions continues tonight.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.