'The Voice' 2014 premiered Feb. 24 on NBC with the first blind auditions of the show's sixth season. By evening's end, eight talented acts had extended their competition lives by finding homes on teams coached by super star mentors Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton.
Nineteen-year old Christina Grimmie opened the episode with a smashing rendition of Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" that turned all four chairs. Despite sincere ovations by Usher, she went with Levine, who was impressed with the teen's dedication to her mother. Team Adam also added the season's first duo, the aptly named Dawn and Hawkes comprised of girlfriend/boyfriend Miranda Dawn and Chris Hawkes. The pair grabbed Levine's attention with their folksy sweet spin on the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face," which he called his favorite "The Voice" performance of all time.
The first singer to join Team Usher was Los Angeles native T.J. Wilkins, whose unique spin on "Bennie and the Jets" turned three chairs. Although non-turner Shakira encouraged the budding R&B artist to "mix it up" and choose Shelton, Wilkins took the most obvious route with Usher. The R&B sensation added two other hopefuls to his team. Included were 45-year old worship leader Biff Gore, who turned all four chairs with "A Change is Gonna Come," and teen Bria Kelly, who closed out the show on the highest note of all with a rendition of "Steamroller Blues" that earned a standing ovation from all four coaches.
Shakira was the third coach to add a pupil when she snagged 29-year old Kristen Merlin, who confessed that though she enjoys many different musical genres, she "does gravitate to country" and hoped to earn a turn of Shelton's chair. Although the country star didn't turn, Merlin's take on "Something More" garnered exceptionally enthusiastic responses from Levine and Shakira. The Latina sensation's promise to recruit Shelton's wife Miranda Lambert for help sealed the deal. Team Shakira also added 26-year old classic rocker Jeremy Briggs, who crooned "Bad Company."
Finally, three-time show champion Shelton nabbed his first and only team member near episode's end. Seventeen-year old aspiring country singer Jake Worthington, who first tried out for the show during season five, earned the mega star's attention this go-round with his take on the Keith Whitley hit "Don't Close Your Eyes." Although Levine fought hard to recruit the teen, Worthington stayed true to his roots and his pre-show plan by choosing Shelton, and the two sealed the deal with a big bear hug.
"The Voice" 2014 resumes Feb. 25 with the next round of blind auditions.