'The Voice' Season 14 Premiere Recap: The Blind Auditions Begin with New Coach Kelly Clarkson
'The Voice' Season 14 Premiere Recap: The Blind Auditions Begin with New Coach Kelly Clarkson
Derek Stauffer
Derek Stauffer
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The Voice is back and with a new addition to the panel of coaches. Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus are out, and Alicia Keys is back with newcomer Kelly Clarkson, who has some obvious experience with reality shows. However, Kelly isn't completely new to The Voice. Kelly has appeared multiple times on The Voice as a mentor and even a performer. It's probably because of those previous appearances that Kelly fits perfectly into the show. She won't, because no one has, but even after one showing Kelly should be the third permanent coach, joining regulars Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.

Kelly isn't the only new addition to the season. The chairs have also been revamped because the coaches have a new power (and button to press). During the Blind Auditions, the coaches can use a Block to shut another coach out, if they turn around to try to pitch for an artist. The blocking immediately puts the coach out of the running. The twist of the Block power is that the coaches can only use one Block per season, no matter who they actually target. (In other words, one coach can't block all three other coaches once. They have only one choice.) 

This twist is very much about the dynamic between the coaches and not the artists. However, a lot of The Voice is built on coach interplay already, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Britton Buchanan ("Trouble")

Season 14 starts off strong with Britton Buchanan, otherwise known as southern teenage Matt Damon. Britton's awkward but in that endearing young Voice contestant kind of way. Britton will probably flame out in the Battles or Knockouts, but his rendition of "Trouble" for his audition is pretty fun. 

However, the highlight of the audition is Blake using the new Block power against Adam. When the coaches should be talking about Britton, they're bickering with one another, though the Block does lead to a hilarious moment when Kelly genuinely doesn't know that Blake blocked Adam and is shocked to find out.

Result: Britton joins Team Alicia

Brynn Cartelli ("Beneath Your Beautiful")

The Voice is bringing out the youngsters early (probably because it's before their bed time). After 17-year-old Britton, there's 14-year-old Brynn. 

Brynn's a huge Kelly Clarkson fan who shockingly doesn't sing a Kelly Clarkson song. Luckily for Brynn, Kelly is one of two coaches who turns around, and she wastes no time in shutting down her coaching opponent Blake. The arguing between Blake and Adam will always be the lifeblood of The Voice, but they usually reach a stalemate. Blake needs someone to force him to take a (metaphorical) seat, and that could be Kelly.

Result: Brynn joins Team Kelly

Rayshun Lamarr ("Don't Stop Believin''')

It took three auditions, but The Voice season 14 has their first sob story of the season. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective), it's a gut-wrenching one. Rayshun Lamarr nearly died of cancer, but he fought back. Now he channels all of that fighting spirit into his music and performances. Rayshun is infectiously joyous, and it's no wonder that Adam and Alicia fight hard to get him on their respective teams. 

Both coaches do their usual thing. Alicia is vague but weirdly inspirational, while Adam praises and offers some words of wisdom and/or advice. Though Kelly is ready to kill for Alicia after hearing her pitch, Rayshun is more swayed by Adam's constructive criticism. 

Result: Rayshun joins Team Adam

Kyla Jade ("See Saw")

With her backstory of singing in churches and her overall personality, Kyla feels like she picked the wrong season of The Voice. Kayla seems perfect for Jennifer Hudson. However, Kyla is already working for Jennifer as her back-up singer. 

Now Kayla wants her moment in the spotlight. Kyla's audition is fine (a little too screamy), but it's enough to get the attention of Kelly and Blake. Kelly really seems like the better option of the two, but Kyla goes for Blake because Wionna Judd  gave her her first big break, which is some ass backwards logic. 

Result: Kyla joins Team Blake

Blaise Raccuglia ("Wanted")

The Voice spends a bizarre amount of time setting up this part-time pool boy and part-time musical minister. Yet no one is interested in picking him up, which does feel like a bit of a mistake. Blaise's audition isn't great, but he's so close to being great; it's strange that no coach wants to mentor him down that journey.

Result: Blaise goes home

Kelsea Johnson ("Like I'm Gonna Lose You")

Until further notice, Kelsea is going to be known as Mini Alicia Keys. Kelsea has similar ambitions as Alicia, and she even sounds like her. The only real difference is that Kelsea and Alicia don't look much alike. 

Kelsea is easily the best artist of the season so far. She rightfully gets the attention of most of the coaches. Blake sleeps on it because he's probably thinking up an insult to hurl at Adam. However, as soon as Alicia turns around, it's over for the other coaches. It's a huge missed opportunity for a Block because Kelsea is like a moth to an uncanny flame.

Result: Kelsea joins Team Alicia

Drew Cole ("Sex and Candy")

In his mind, Drew has already had a brush with fame, as he filmed a viral video where he played a guitar for a dog that really enjoyed it. (Trust me, you've seen it.) Drew is greatly overestimating his musical talents in making the video popular. Luckily, though, Drew does have more skills than making adorable golden retrievers happy. He's still a little full of himself, but he has a nice enough voice to get him on the show, until it comes to the Knockouts and he gets cut.

Really, though, Drew is the battleground for the first pure Adam versus Blake conflict. Adam does a terrible job pitching himself. He compliments himself more than Drew, which Kelly points out. Blake doesn't even have to mock Adam that much. However, Drew had his mind made up about which coach he wanted before he even stepped up on the stage. It's not Blake.

Result: Drew joins Team Adam

D.R. King ("Believer")

D.R. definitely has a cool name, but he screams future cannon fodder for later in the season. The coaches seem to be impressed, but D.R. is very forgettable. He comes out swinging, but it seems more like he's going to flame out sooner rather than later. Kelly and Blake both go hard. Ultimately, it's the former reality TV contestant from "that show" who lands D.R. (and the chance to discard him later). 

Result: D.R. joins Team Kelly

Kaleb Lee ("Never Wanted Nothing More")

Kaleb is so country that he probably sweats whiskey and sings ballads about heartbreak in his sleep. He's also clearly being positioned as the cute family man of the season because there's always one. Kaleb has two daughters and one adorable adopted little boy, who host Carson Daly feels the need to tickle when Kelly and Blake turn around for him. (Gross, Carson get your own family.) 

Kelly tries her hardest, but she's trying to win a guy who probably almost named his son and daughter Johnny and June against Blake Shelton. She stands no chance. Although Kelly really does have the second most country connections on the panel, the country part of Blake can't be denied.

Result: Kaleb joins Team Blake

MaKenzie Thomas ("Red Bone")

The Voice has seen a lot of unexpected auditions -- or just performances in general. Yet a plus-size ginger teenager like MaKenzie performing a Childish Gambino song has to top the list. Sadly, the song is probably too unconventional of a choice for her, and it doesn't really fit her voice at all. In the words of Adam and Alicia, she's "so close," but so close isn't on the show.

Result: MaKenzie goes home

Justin Kilgore ("Tomorrow")

Justin's the first four-chair turn of the season, and he deserves it. Justin easily jumps to the top of the frontrunner pack because he's not only a country artist but also a damn good one. All the coaches recognize how good Justin is, but Alicia makes the most aggressive move. Alicia blocks Blake out of contention. It's far more satisfying than it should be, and the chance of Adam and Kelly using their Blocks on Blake has skyrocketed. As ballsy as Alicia is in blocking Blake, that's about all she does to win Justin. She just sits back aftewards. 

Kelly, however, goes absolutely nuts the moment Justin confesses that he loves Reba McEntire, as she is Kelly's mother-in-law. Kelly prances around the stage and desperately begs for Justin to join her team. Kelly is probably the best coach for him, but if he doesn't pick her, Kelly might kill him or someone else. 

Result: Justin joins Team Kelly

What did you make of the first night of season 14? Are you a fan of the new Block power? Who had your favorite audition of the night? How did Kelly fit into the coaching panel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Voice Facebook page.

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