NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Braiden Sunshine, Barrett Baber, Jordan Smith perform in premiere

VoiceThe Voice” is back! You’ve waited a long time to see the latest batch of contestants, but NBC started their show Monday with plenty of energy, a group performance featuring the coaches, and of course some signature banter. It feels like we’ve got a lot to look forward to this season, and we are very much excited to just dive into these blind auditions.

We should say this right out the gate: At this point, we’re probably a little more cynical after having spent the last six years or so watching every English-language singing show out there. It takes a lot more to impress us than a standard sob story or pretty good audition. If you want a chase to be memorable, you really have to stand out.

We’re not sure we will have live updates of every blind audition this season, but we’re doing it this week for the premiere. Enjoy, and refresh as the night goes on!

Mark Hood – Our first blind audition was a guy from Chicago with a soulful voice, but more notably energy through the roof. We feel like his personality is even more memorable in some ways than his voice. This was one of those cases of a guy who came in with a coach in mind (Blake Shelton), only to go in a different direction when he looked at Pharrell Williams. We’ve got our first pairing this season!

Kota Wade – Our second artist performed in a band, and had a little bit of quirky southern rock going on. We felt like it was almost impossible to effective describe her look alongside what she was singing since it was so unexpected. Her choice of Gwen Stefani? Not that surprising. She really probably did win brownie points from the coaches with all of those compliments!

Keith Semple – We got our first rocker! Keith reminds us a little bit of Keith Richards meets Pat Monahan for Train. Great voice for his genre, and there isn’t anyone out there doing what he is right now and making hits. Adam Levine has his first team member!

Alyssa Sheridan – The first contestant to not get a turn. Our feeling is that someone should have told her that performing such an emotional song with the story about her stepfather probably was a little too much for her. She should’ve had more fun.

Siahna M – Probably one of the bigger shocks for the coaches tonight. She is a 15-year old singer who sounds even younger when you hear her talk; when she performs, it’s a completely different story and she’s got a layered, old-school voice that many people out there are going to really like. She had Pharrell pegged as her coach almost from when he turned around.

Jordan Smith – This was the most-hyped audition of the season, at least in that there was a video previewing him singing “Chandelier” online without ever seeing his face. He’s really good! It’s going to be mostly about finding the right song for him, but with Adam at his side, maybe he’s going to be a contender.

Dr. Paul – Unfortunately, sometimes you just know with this show if someone is not going to be going through, and this was the case with Dr. Paul. He’s a cool character, but older contestants for whatever reason typically don’t make it through the first round or two.

Nadjah Nicole – It was a battle here mostly between Adam and Blake here, so let’s get old-school! We still enjoy these two coaches battling with each other, but Blake managed to get here even though he openly admitted to having no clue apparently who Janelle Monae is. Shade, Blake!

Braiden Sunshine – What a perfect name for a singer. He does have a Sawyer Fredericks vibe to him, except maybe with a geeky-in-a-good-way vibe. He’s still raw, but we think that what Gwen did here was really smart as a way to relate to him and convince him that she was someone he should consider.

Michael Woolery – He is the song of game-show legend Chuck Woolery, and to go along with that he was almost an Olympic skier. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t pull this out. We feel for Michael, but it was somewhat nice to see that the show didn’t give him a pass just because of where he comes from.

Barrett Baber – We close with Barrett, a strong country singer who has a bold voice and a sweet sound. With that said, was there any guessing who he was going to pick? He was a great performer, and while this was a strong night, we feel like you could have ended with more suspense.

Want to get some other news related to “The Voice”? Then be sure to head over to the link here now! Also, sign up here to get some other TV news on everything we cover, sent right to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!