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Hollywood Junket was on the set on Reba McEntire’s first day of filming for season 24 of “The Voice.” Fresh off of former coach and ‘Voice champ, Blake Shelton’s last season where she served as Mega Mentor. McEntire was ready to take over his iconic red ‘Voice chair, but not before a ceremony occurred. Minus Blake’s mystery cup of…whatever, Reba was all fired-up and ready to go upon her stage entrance!
On a side note, “The Voice” has been filming seasons 24 and 25 consecutively, within the same time frame over a couple of months. So, that means coaches John Legend and Reba McEntire have been pulling double-duty. The other coaches joining the two for season 24 are returning coach Gwen Stefani, and last season’s winning coach Niall Horan. Carson Daly remains as the show host.
The production crew of “The Voice” started off Reba’s season and first day on the job with a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. They tied a red ribbon around the chair where Blake once sat. When Reba arrived to take her seat, she cut the ribbon. BTW, Blake’s jersey was nowhere to be seen high above in the stage rafters. That too must have been a ceremony.
This season the coaches that Reba is competing against as her first time as a coach are: John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Niall Horan, who won last season. The coaches are all equipped with shiny new gifts as a way of having leverage to win-over artists for their Teams.
Niall returned with an updated version of his hoodie from last season. This time, he’s offering the same hoodie design in either blue or green colors. Gwen has her own black hoodie to offer. John has a cream colored “Legend” leather bomber jacket. Reba is feeding her Team members with special “Reba’s Tots” that are available at a stand on the opposite side of the stage from the coaches.
During a Blind Audition, Reba told the story about how during the pandemic, her boyfriend took her out to eat and they had tater tots. He gave Reba the nickname which is why she gave her Team “Reba’s Tots.” Her team members got to enjoy some fresh tots.
Reba was dressed in all black wearing leather pants, cowboy boots and a black jacket. Gwen was dressed in a full black-and-white checkered ensemble that looked similar to something worn in Alice in Wonderland. Niall’s outfit was opposite from last season’s Blind Auditions where he was in all-black. This season, he dressed in all white with black-and-white shoes.
The Set Has Changed:
Long-time fans of the show will notice that “The Voice” stage has once again changed. This time, a few sections of audience seating has been taken completely out. There once was a big audience section seated directly behind the coaches which is no longer there. There are only two small sections of the audience on the left and right sides of the stage.
The back panel of the stage still light’s up in the words “4-Chair-Turn” when it happens, and contestants still exit away from the coaches, not having to walk by them, the same as we saw last season.
THE REBA CONNECTION:
In between artists’ auditions, Reba came over to both sides of the audience to say “hello” and asked how everyone was. She told everyone that she was cold. But, said the chair seat has warmers. So, her “tush” was warm, but her arms were cold. Reba was extremely pleasant, loves her fans, and was genuinely happy to be there.
Maybe it was because it was Reba’s first day on the job, but we didn’t see her fighting too hard to win over any artists. I’m sure this came later in the days that followed. She did score one artist all to herself when she was the only coach to turn her chair.
Reba also scored a four-chair-turn artist on her Team. This artist is from Arkansas and sang “Gravity” in a really soulful way. Reba said she could relate because she knows what that’s like being from a small town. The artist told her about how before his grandmother passed away, he used to watch “Reba” sitcom with her all the time. Of course, he went with Reba. Niall didn’t like losing out on this artist. John told Niall that he needs to get his own sitcom!
LaDawn is 28-years-old from Texas who sang a Jill Scott song. John Legend pointed out that that song had never been sung on “The Voice” before. He told her he liked her “brightness” and her voice was very dynamic. Niall said it was too dynamic, and that’s why he didn’t push his button.
There was a 31-year-old male artist who sang a Stevie Wonder song in a way that was mostly soul, but had enough of a Country twang to it, he got the attention of Reba. Gwen said Reba “saw it without seeing it.” He said he’s always been into Steve Wonder, etc. and brings that soul into his Country music. He gave off a Country vibe by wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots
Now, we’re wondering if this Country/Soul artist has a brother who also auditioned, because there is another artist who shares his last name. This artist showed-up in the same shoes as Niall’s and had a strong Elvis flare to his music.
THE GWEN CONNECTION!
An artist from Florida, who’s primarily a dancer, decided to try-out for “The Voice.” Um…it didn’t go too well! He sang in a really deep voice, but spoke in a higher voice. It was noticeable in his performance that he couldn’t hold that tone that much along the way later in the performance. John caught on to this and told him that it didn’t feel authentic. The artist said he’s a dancer, but singing is his world. He told Gwen how he was supposed to be on her last tour as a dancer. She gave him a hug before he left the stage.
After one artist audition that Gwen won on her Team, she was so excited that she threw her shoe up in the air. In fact, all throughout the taping, Gwen was in and out of her high heels. She ran up on stage twice without them on.
“What planet are you from?!”
There were a few four-chair-turns throughout this taping. However, this was the longest one that occured because the coaches had so much to say. Each coach fiercely fought to get this artist on their Teams. This particular artist started her song off on a whistle note which is extremely hard to do. After her Blind Audition, Niall’s first words were “what planet are you from?”
This artist told her story of how she’s from Nigeria and currently lives in Los Angeles. The coaches were stunned that she’s not already signed. She said she started getting compared to a “baby Whitney ” and she tried to take-on her own identity. She sang as a backup singer and now is working on producing her own album. John told her that it’s artists like her that make “The Voice” because they are so honored to have talent of her caliber.
There were two other four-chair-turns, one of which Niall won!
THE NIALL CONNECTION:
Tanner Massey is a 19-year-old artist who sang the Lewis Capaldi song “Before You Go” for his Blind Audition. Niall told Tanner about how he won last season with “a girl” (Gina Miles) who was super nervous, same as Tanner. He told Tanner that he reminded him a lot of himself when he was competing on a show much like “The Voice.”
JOHN TALKS A.I.
A 35-year-young singer from Palm Beach, Florida blew everyone away. Literally blew the roof off the place. Gwen and John described how round her voice was. John brought up the point of how A.I. isn’t really a threat for artists because at the end of the day, fans and audiences want humanity. “The human voice is very powerful and believable.”
ONE TO WATCH!
One to beat.
Huntley is an artist who’s the real deal. He’s 32-years-old from Fredericksburg, Virginia. He has long blond braids and said it’s taken him a long time to get there. The coaches asked him about it. Huntley said he has two kids and co-parents seven days every other week.
Reba said she heard Chris Stapleton in his voice. Huntley was shocked at how positive the coaches were in their responses. The coaches loved how humble Huntley was and were in fact really shocked by it because he’s got such a great voice which is raspy, and gravely.
Huntley said he sings Pop, Reggae, Rock. His daughter, Stella, came out onto the stage to sing to the coaches. At the end of all this banter with the coaches back-and-forth, the real kicker was that he let his daughter choose his coach. They had talked about it first. A little behind-the-scenes note, Huntley happened to still be backstage when the audience was leaving. He was super friendly to everyone and offered-up high-fives!
“The Voice” season 24 premieres Monday, September 25th at 8 pm ET on NBC. Available to stream the next day on Peacock.