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'The Voice' season 9 kicks-off with first round of Blind Auditions

By Wade Sheridan
'The Voice' season 9 kicks-off with first round of Blind Auditions
(L-R) Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell, the coaches for season 9 of NBC's 'The Voice'. Photo Courtesy of NBC/Instagram.

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- NBC's The Voice returned to television Monday with coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Pharrell and Gwen Stefani picking their favorite contestants during the show's Blind Auditions.

After a group performance, the first singer came on stage while the coaches had their chairs facing backwards. Mark Hood, who comes from an acting background, performed Use Me by Bill Withers impressing all the judges and earning Hood four chair turns. Ultimately, the contestant went with Team Pharrell after changing his mind about joining Team Shelton.

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Later on in the premiere, Jordan Smith received a standing ovation from the audience and the coaches after he performed Sia's Chandelier. Smith was faced with a touch choice when all four music veterans wanted him for their team but after a commercial break Smith joined up with Team Levine.

Another stand out was Barrett Baber, who survived a plane crash that took the lives of 11 people in 1999. Baber uniquely sang Angel Eyes that once again caused all four coaches to turn their chairs almost immediately in a bid to secure the singer.

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"I'm trying to pioneer a new sound," Baber told the coaches. After some deliberation, Baber chose Shelton to be his coach.

Pop star Stefani walked away with Kota Wade, a singer who moved to California from New Mexico at 11-years-old to pursue a career in music. Wade performed Bring It on Home to Me and chose to join Team Gwen after admitting to idolizing Stefani since she was five years old.

On Sunday, The Voice won an Emmy for most Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. Producer Mark Burnett and crew were on hand to accept the award.

In August, coaches Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton both filed for divorce from their respective blouses Gavin Rossdale and Miranda Lambert.

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