The Voice is set to kick off its 22nd season after skipping the spring cycle, and for the first few weeks of the NBC singing competition, viewers will witness the aspect of the show that most sets it apart from others: the Blind Auditions. The opening round is the whole crux of the show, as the four coaches build their teams based only on the artists’ voices. For the contestants, that makes song choice so important, with some opting to try to woo the superstar coaches by covering one of their hits. Gwen Stefani said that’s a strategy that might work on her, but singers beware, because one artist on the panel isn’t likely to be so quick to spin around.
Gwen Stefani is returning to The Voice for her sixth season on the panel (and her first since marrying Blake Shelton), and the No Doubt frontwoman said on the Late Night with Seth Meyers that while she enjoys hearing other artists’ take on her music, singers hoping to be part of John Legend’s team should possibly use a different strategy. Legend has been historically stingy about pressing his button when it comes to auditioners using his music. Stefani explained:
John Legend confirmed as much during Season 20, which featured the first and only time in the singer’s six seasons so far that he has turned for someone auditioning with his song. Victor Solomon sang the Academy Award-winning “Glory,” which the EGOT winner wrote with Common, and Solomon’s risky move landed him on the show as a member of Team Legend. The coach said at the time that he tends to scrutinize his songs more heavily because of his familiarity with them.
Gwen Stefani couldn’t divulge which songs will be featured in Season 22’s Blind Auditions, but she did recall a past season when Blake Shelton told her about a unique version of her 2005 single “Cool.” She recalled:
Fans might remember that 2016 audition, because while Shelton claimed to know it was his then-girlfriend’s song, Kelly Clarkson jumped in as a saving grace before he could prove himself clueless about Stefani’s music.
While the ska queen admitted it’s sometimes weird when she hears her songs adapted to fit the contestants’ style, she maintained that she’s always felt honored when people on The Voice shout her out with cover performances. She said:
It seems like even though Gwen Stefani understands the artists are trying to pay homage to her while putting their own spin on songs, it can still be an uncomfortable situation. In that way, she probably really understands why it’s so hard for John Legend to fight for those singers to be on his team.
We’ll have to see if any potential contestants employ that strategy for Season 22, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Monday, September 19, and continues at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 20. The Voice airs on NBC, with episodes available the next day for those with a subscription to Peacock.
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