The debut episode of NBC’s The Voice saw EGOT winner John Legend square off against country superstar Blake Shelton in a battle for team members and if their actions are indicative of what fans can expect in the following episodes, it’s sure to be an explosive Season 16.
Legend realized quickly that although he is known in the music businesses as a nice guy, that persona would not work on this series as gathering winning teams is a serious business. His first chair-turn on the show was met with a block from fellow coach Blake Shelton.
“It’s my first day and I couldn’t believe Blake blocked me. Blake, we’re just getting to know each other. Can I trust you?” Legend quipped to Shelton.
As the show progressed, Legend was blocked three more times, but not before scoring singer Maelyn Jarmon, who is deaf in one ear. She sang Sting’s “Fields of Gold” for her blind audition and despite a four-chair turn from Legend, Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, and Adam Levine allowing Jarmon her pick of the award-winning panel, in the end, she chose Legend because he had “an EGOT,” reported USA Today.
Legend also made singer Matthew Johnson part of his team after he heard him sing the gospel tune “I Smile,” which also resulted in another four-chair turn from The Voice panel of judges.
“Team Legend is here to win, so all the other coaches need to beware,” Legend said, reported USA Today, of his intentions on the series.
The Voice is clearly looking to up their game in the reality television world, which is cluttered with a series of competition shows. Bringing Legend on the series elevates it beyond American Idol, which debuts its new season March 3 with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.
Legend is respected in the music industry, not only for his EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) wins but also for his impeccable musicianship and ability to draw out the best qualities of each song to its fullest potential via his soulful voice. His abilities as an actor were clear also when he won an Emmy for his starring role in the live Andrew Lloyd Webber production of the iconic Broadway play Jesus Christ Superstar.
That’s not to say that the other Voice coaches aren’t major players in their own fields. Kelly Clarkson, the original and one of the most popular American Idol winners, has sold over 14 million records worldwide and is hosting her own talk show, which is set to debut sometime this year. Blake Shelton is one of country music’s top performers and is in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Adam Levine, whose band Maroon 5 just dominated the 2019 Superbowl Halftime Show, is also a multiple Grammy winner.
Still, Legend has something to prove against the other coaches, who have all won multiple times. The showdown between six-time Voice coaching winner Shelton and Legend, hungry for his first win, will likely continue throughout the season.
The Voice airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.