‘The Voice’ Season Seven Premiere Makes Us All Feel “Hella Good”

Photo: NBC
Photo: NBC

Hello one and all! And welcome back to the season recap of the U.S. version of The Voice!

After the triumph last season of Usher finally breaking Adam and Blake’s winning streak, it feels like it could be anyone’s game this season. Now while I’ll miss my favorite coach of all time with Usher, there is always something to look forward to on this show.

With two new coaches coming in, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani, I am insanely curious about how the dynamic will change. Mainly because both of them seem like they would like the same kind of quirky artists.

Mostly I’m excited for the inevitable “Hollaback Girl” audition that will happen. Because come on, we all know it’s going to happen. Embrace it. Love it. Accept it. It’s happening.

Now let’s get this party started shall we?

“Hella Good” sung by Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, and Pharrell Williams: HELLA GOOD IS SO MY JAM!!!! OhmyGod I am so happy right now. Gwen can work that stage all day. This is really good. I am insanely enjoying this. They have such awesome chemistry vocally.

“That’s How Strong My Love Is” sung by Luke Wade: He comes from a family of artists: a painter and a dancer. He danced for several years with his mother. Aw. He’s twirling his mother. He and his parents do look like love children. Luke has been travelling and trying to do his best as a musician. After a freak paintball accident, he lost his sight in his right eye. I really like his voice. It’s got this kind of bluesy vibe to it. DAMN! That was fast! Adam, Blake, Pharrell, and Gwen turn almost instantaneously. I really am digging his voice. Adam immediately starts in on his pitch. Blake thinks he’s on drugs right now. Gwen immediately starts asking him questions. She talks about her experience with bands since she was young and wants to project her experience. I’m hoping Justin Timberlake you mean. Pharrell is a damn good salesman and wants to be his amplifier. That was smooth as fuck. Blake thinks he’s incredible and starts naming his voice champion. Luke picks TEAM PHARRELL!

“Chuck-E’s in Love” sung by Clara Hong: Born in South Korea, she moved to the US when she was eight. She learned English from listening to American music and it became her escape. After feeling unhappy in college, she dropped out and moved to pursue her dreams. The coaching was the key aspect for coming on the show. She wants to show her parents as well that she has made the right choices. Adam, Gwen, and Pharrell turn instantly. She has that wispy voice that I really dig. I’m kind of getting a bit of a Regina Spektor raspy kind of thing that I like. Blake is ready to just watch the battle take place. Pharrell loves her “silk” tone and Clara blurts out that he is silk. Gwen says that her singing voice has personality but she needs to work on her stage presence. Adam is writing Clara a love poem while Gwen shows everyone how it is done. Adam speaks to her briefly in Korean. Really Adam? Really with the poem? Pharrell makes up a poem from the top of his head. Surprisingly, Clara chooses TEAM ADAM!

“Problem” sung by Bryana Salaz: She’s a military brat. She has moved all over her country. When she was twelve she did a military singing competition. Her dad is very proud and supportive of her music. Her dad has been battling liver disease. While having done a bunch of competitions, the show is something different. I really don’t like her voice. It sounds like she has some sort of problem with her tone. Ariana Grande does this song so much better. But yet she gets a three chair turn with Adam, Gwen, and Blake. I just don’t see the appeal here. Adam tries to get her on his team while Blake perks up learning she is from Texas. Gwen points out that she may be new but she has the longest career. Adam makes a joke about Gwen’s age and immediately hugs her in apology. Gwen was impressed by her power notes and wants to help Bryana women to women. Gwen loves playing the girl card. Pharrell calls Gwen his boo and says that she should go to Gwen’s team. Blake just wants to know what a boo is. Blake points that he is good with younger talent. She picks TEAM GWEN!

GWEN MADE HER TEAM SHIRTS! THIS IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER!!!

“She Used To Be Mine” sung by Dennis Bell: He’s involved in a family construction/demolition business. He started singing in rodeos and bands. He was a regular on Hay Ride? Apparently Elvis was on it but once it stopped, he lost his opportunity. His dad had a heart attack. Giving up the music, Dennis gave up a music career to help his family. Blake should totally pick this guy. He’s got a good voice and after Bryana’s three-chair turn I’m kind of upset that no one has picked him yet. Oh Dennis. He’s a stand-up guy. Blake thinks he has a true country sound but a combination of being out of practice and nerves was what stopped the button. Adam thinks that he has a real gift of showing his pain. Gwen said that he moved people today. Pharrell tells him to keep going.

“It’s so Hard To Say Goodbye” sung by Damien: He moved to LA when he was twenty-two to pursue his singing dream. He’s worked at TSA in a high stress job. He was at Terminal 3 when the gunman stormed LAX. After the shooting happened, he decided to go after his dream all the more. He just needs that one yes to get through the door. After about three words, Adam, Gwen, and Pharrell immediately turn their chairs around. I can see why too. Damien has a really rich voice, gentle and sure. He has a great range and when he dips into a lower register, Blake turns around. I liked his voice but not sure if it’s four chair worthy. Damien immediately starts crying because the yes from all four of them means a lot. Blake wants his favorite pocket knife back. Gwen thinks that he was tasteful with his runs and wants to help his voice. Adam wants a yes from Damien. Blake likes his Bill Withers voice and thinks that there is no one quite like him in the industry. Pharrell thinks he’s very talented and that he deserved four chairs. He picks TEAM ADAM!

“Merry Go ‘Round” sung by Allison Bray: She was a singer on season six but didn’t get a chair to turn. She had to work on her pitch. After leaving, she put together a band. Graduating high school this year, she wants to prove to the coaches that she has what it takes. I don’t remember this girl at all. Her hair is definitely closer to God though. I gotta admit she worked like hell on her pitch though. It sounds pretty amazing. Blake and Gwen turn right off the bat. Adam follows a few moments later. She sounds like legit good. I definitely enjoyed it a lot. Blake says her voice is a breath of fresh air. He loves her pitch and her voice quirks. Pharrell gives his endorsement to Blake, who calls Pharrell his boo. Blake also drops “Don’t Speak” when Gwen asks him. GWEN AND PHARRELL WROTE “HELLA GOOD”?! I DID NOT KNOW THAT! Anyway Gwen says she should break out of her comfort zone. She picks TEAM BLAKE!

“Celebrity Skin” sung by Megg: She was in her first musical at the age of eight. She went to USB to major in Popular Music Performance. It’s hard for her to get recognized in her industry. She wants to work with a coach in a similar style of hers. It’s a foot in the door. Oh. Honey. No. Her voice just doesn’t sound good at all. Oh honey. I think it was a combination of nerves and her voice doing weird things. Blake thought it was too dramatic and said she had an enunciation problem. Pharrell said she needs a bit more subtlety. Gwen thinks she is so cute and the visual would help the voice. Pharrell invites her to come back.

“Heartless” sung by Taylor John Williams: He works at a dog hotel/café and has been singing for years. He is an adorable string bean. I love how drama free he seems. And his voice is awesome. Yes. Adam immediately turns around for him. He has a folky-cool kind of voice. God this guy is so good. TURN FOR HIM! Thank you Gwen. He deserves more chairs because his voice is really nice and mellow. Damn I thought Pharrell would have turned at least. He’s awesome. Gwen loved that he made it his own and loved that he is a unique individual. Adam is pumped up and thought his notes were perfect. Gwen loves to be inspired by people like him. She wants to be greedy because he feels like he would push her. She is pushing the sell hard here. God I love Gwen. Pharrell said that Adam would understand his voice and Gwen would understand his future. In the end he picks TEAM GWEN!

“XO” sung by Elyjuh Rene: OhmyGod this guy is adorable. He has a momager. He and his mom are…well okay then. I just don’t know what to say. His parents divorced and it was hard to grow up without his dad. He wants to make his mom proud because of all she did for him. He is ready to give this song his swagger. He does some weird things in the beginning that I don’t dig. Once Adam and Pharrell turn around though it gets much better. God I love this song. Blake is shocked that it’s a guy. Gwen thought he was a girl as well. Adam and Gwen love his vulnerability. Pharrell felt like he got his story when he sang. Adam loved the blissfulness of his voice. Pharrell said that he is one of the most amazing vocalists he’s seen in a long time. God I am loving Pharrell. He chooses TEAM PHARRELL!!

“Foolish Games” sung by Bianca Espinal: She’s from New York City and her father was a huge influence. She and her father play together in the subway in New York. She feels like this skill will help her be able to turn a chair. She has a really pretty voice. I’m honestly kind of shocked that no one is turning around for her. She looks so bummed and disappointed. Gwen thought she did a beautiful job. Blake thinks she should have showcased her upper register. Pharrell thinks she was singing to them instead of singing for herself first. Next time, she needs to have a good time for herself. Oh honey. It’s okay.

“Nobody Knows” sung by James David Carter: After blowing out his knee and his sports dreams, he turned to music. He started opening for a lot of country artists. He’s ready for his big break and wants validation that he’s been doing the right thing with his life. He has a great voice. Adam turns around first. Then Gwen, Pharrell, and Blake join in. He has a great tone and control. His voice is just really quite excellent. My country loving friend approves of it. Did he just thank Gwen for teaching him how to spell bananas? Gwen and Adam have a chair stand off. Gwen is my favorite. Pharrell is worried for his boo. This is adorable. Pharrell thinks that he is the total package and has been dreaming for him. Gwen wants to do something new and different with him. James once opened for Blake when he had a mullet. Blake wants to have him on the team where there is a working knowledge of country. Adam knows he can win this thing no problem and guarantees victory. Pharrell thinks he could be a chart topper. He goes for TEAM BLAKE!

Bec Heim
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