‘The Voice’ season 22 episode 1 recap: New coach Camila Cabello kicks off blind auditions [UPDATING LIVE BLOG] – Gold Derby

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After an unprecedented nine month hiatus, “The Voice” returns to NBC with the strongest vocalists from across the country invited to compete for the Season 22 title. Multi-platinum recording artist Camila Cabello joins the coaching panel alongside Blake Shelton, John Legend and Gwen Stefani. Cabello replaces last year’s rookie coach Ariana Grande while Stefani returns for her sixth cyle to give talk show host and four-time coaching champ Kelly Clarkson a break.
SEE Everything to know about ‘The Voice’ Season 22: Battle advisors announced
Below, read our minute-by-minute “The Voice” recap of Season 22, Episode 1 to find out what happened Monday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite artists on NBC’s long-running reality TV show, which coach you’re rooting for and who you think will ultimately join “The Voice” winners list for this 22nd season. Carson Daly hosts the Emmy-winning program.

SEE Carson Daly and ‘The Voice’ creative team on being ‘Avengers of television’ and which coach would sell their own child to win [WATCH]
Keep refreshing/reloading this “The Voice” live blog for the most recent updates.
8:00 p.m. – “Previously on ‘The Voice’!” In last season’s finale, the sibling trio Girl Named Tom of Team Kelly ended up taking home the “Voice” trophy, giving their coach her fourth career victory. Wendy Moten of Team Blake was the runner-up, followed by Paris Winningham of Team Blake in third, Hailey Mia of Team Kelly in fourth and Jershika Maple of Team Legend in fifth. But enough about last year, it’s time to start the Season 22 blind auditions!
8:01 p.m. – The start of the blind auditions was a “welcome back” moment for both Camila and Gwen. For Gwen, it was a return after winning her last season on the show and for Camila it was a promotion to coach this year after participating last year as John’s advisor. As usual, Blake’s welcome gift was his best wishes that Camila has fun with them, but that he doesn’t want her to win. Like Kelly, Camila has the experience of getting her start on a singing competition show (as a member of Fifth Harmony on “X Factor”) so it should be a natural feeling for her to join the show.
8:04 p.m. – And Gwen and Camila did not come to play — literally seconds into the first notes from the first blind audition, both of them had turned their chairs! The artist was Morgan Myles on the song “Hallelujah,” and it was her own version of the song where she played the guitar and injected both country and rock vocals into the rendition. Eventually, both John and Blake also turned, giving Morgan a four-chair turn, but Camila had used her only block on Gwen straight away so only three of them would have a chance to bring Morgan over to their team. John called the performance “exquisite,” noting that she showed range in her vocal and confidence as a performer. Camila enjoyed Morgan’s tone and compared her voice to Rihanna, saying that her “highest hope” for an artist is that they bring emotion to their music. Camila made a strong pitch to Morgan that they’re both storytellers who love pop melodies and how she’d love to help her on that journey. When it came time for Blake to speak, he hit a mysterious button that brought a spotlight down on him and dimmed the light above the other coaches. He went on to say that he could be useful for her with his Nashville ties and then was backed by Gwen, out of the running on her own, who said she’s seen him be supportive of artists with his big heart.

8:13 p.m. – In the end, Camila’s block may have worked to her benefit because Morgan chose to join her team!
8:14 p.m. – Having already performed on stages at Radio City Music Hall and The Kentucky Derby, Omar Jose Cardona still considers The Voice stage one of the biggest in the world. For his audition he sang “Separate Ways” and earned the second straight four chair turn of the season. Camila was the last coach to turn for Omar, admitting that she was waiting to figure out what she could add to his style creatively. She said she could tell he’s an “amazing performer” and was excited when he said he wants to bring old school rock style back to pop music. Gwen called his voice exciting because “men don’t sing like that anymore” and said she’d “die to work with” him. John pointed out that he turned his chair first, noting his range and power, but said the “little turns in his voice” were soulful and he liked that. Blake said that there’s “a demand” for the type of vocalist that Omar is and that he’s the coach who will allow him to stay in his own lane of music rather than trying to change it into something else. All the coaches had strong pitches for Omar, but it was Team Legend that was most appealing to him and so we’ll see if John was right that he’s capable of winning the whole thing.
8:27 p.m. – Next up was 20-year-old Ian Harrison, an “alternative indie” artist with his rendition of “The Night We Met,” a song he feels emotionally connected to because of the loss of his dad to suicide at the age of 9. It took a while to catch on, but eventually Blake, John and then Gwen all turned their chairs for Ian. John noted Ian’s tone and said it would be fun to work with someone with a versatile voice, Blake recognized that he was powerful just with the character of his voice, and Gwen said the performance was pure and full of heart. Ian decided that he’d go with Gwen, drawn in by her pitch that she’d be able to help him build confidence on the stage.

8:38 p.m. – Preschool teacher Tiana Goss was next to take the stage with “Say It Right.” She put her own spin on the Nelly Furtado track, but it didn’t strike a chord with any of the coaches. Gwen said her approach to the chorus didn’t work for her and John called out a disconnect between what she was singing and how she was singing it.
8:49 p.m.Emma Brooke‘s family remembers hearing her sing from a very young age, allowing her to test her voice in many different genres. Tonight she sang the classic “California Dreamin’” for the coaches, earning turns from John early on and then Gwen later in the song. Camila advised Emma to have more control so that when she gets technical it doesn’t get “yelly.” Gwen made the pitch about connecting to the artist and music and John said he was attracted to Emma’s powerful tone, thinking it would be fun to unlearn structure so that she can have more fun. Blake tried to help Gwen’s efforts by suggesting Emma’s favorite artist loves Gwen, but Emma wasn’t swayed and instead chose to join Team Legend.
9:00 p.m. – Miami resident Orlando Mendez differentiates himself from the music that most Cuban Americans listen to by creating country music as “The Cuban Cowboy.” For that reason, he admitted that it would be a tough choice picking between both Camila and Blake. “Beer Never Broke My Heart” was the kind of song that was always likely to get a chair turn from Blake, but it was actually Camila and Gwen who turned first. Blake finally turned, egged on by Camila who said she wants to beat him, and John turned at the very last second to make it another four chair turn. Blake pitched that he “loves being put in a box” and told Orlando that if he also wants to stay in the box of country music that he’s the coach for him. Camila said she’s been looking for someone with a “special tone” and his voice is that for her. Gwen said his “star came out” in his audition and John urged him to make an “unpredictable choice.”

9:11 p.m. – Orlando called it a tough choice, but chose to not be put in a box and joined Team Camila!
9:12 p.m. – Inspired by 80s rock, but coming in hot with a Texan flare, Alexis McLaughlin arrived with the anthemic “Here I Go Again.” Alexis was hoping that Gwen would turn her chair, but this time no one turned. Blake told her that her singing was “so aggressive” and didn’t think her style would fit in for the show. Gwen said she has a lot of potential, but she needs to rein it in and show more heart.
9:20 p.m. – The next audition came from background vocalist David Andrew with the Harry Styles song “Falling.” It became a head-to-head between John and Gwen, a fight where John argued for his heartfelt vocal and Gwen offered to help him with “tuning issues” she noticed in the song. David called it “an honor” to join Team Legend.
9:31 p.m. – Country artist Jay Allen dedicated his audition of “Til You Can’t” to his mom who passed away in 2019. Still looking for his first artist of the season, Blake turned his chair first, but found competition in Gwen this time around. Blake said that it’s a song where delivery of the lyric is important and he loved Jay’s tone and approach to it. Gwen offered up that if Jay chooses her it’d be a “two for one” because she could always just ask him if she has questions. Before he made his choice, the coaches let Jay sing part of the song he wrote to raise funds for Alzheimer’s in his mom’s honor. They were all impressed by the way he uses music to tell his story, but when it came down to it, Jay shocked everyone by telling Blake he respects him but he’s joining Team Gwen.

9:40 p.m. – The next audition was from self-described “Renaissance man” JJ Hill, but the unique magic spells that he cast prior to his performance of “Inside Out” were not powerful enough to get any of the coaches to turn their chair for him. Camila said she loves his gritty tone, but felt it got tiresome because he didn’t take his voice anywhere else.
9:44 p.m. – JJ was followed by Kate Kalvach who hoped that her audition of “Rainbow” would prove that she can perform beyond just singing in church.
9:59 p.m. – It took a while for her performance to catch on, but then seconds before the final note all of Camila, Gwen and Blake hit their buttons for a three chair turn. Blake had an instant connection to Kate because of their Oklahoma roots and he was able to further his leg up on the women by using his new mute button. When Blake finally allowed Camila to speak, we heard that she loves the blend of Kacey Musgraves as country and pop. Gwen said she went through head and chest voice flawlessly and offered that she’d be able to help her blend other styles in order to form her own. Blake tried to use another schtick–something to do with a goat–but that flopped and so the coaches left Kate to make her decision. She said that Blake would have been her first choice, but he didn’t fight for her. At that point, Blake went on a whirlwind pitch for Kate to pick him, but we were left hanging with a “… to be continued.”
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