After chasing Fox’s “The X Factor” off television and pushing “American Idol” out of the Emmy race for two years and counting, “The Voice” returns on Monday at 8/7c.
NBC hosted a screening of the premiere episode earlier this week for media and TheWrap was there having our emotions manipulated by the blind auditions, requisite inspiration stories and the anticipation of whether the coaches will swing their chairs around along with everyone else.
Here’s what we can tell you:
1. Shakira has a new battle plan.
The singer isn’t wasting one moment of her second tour of duty escape her in a plan to create the strongest team. Her battle plan includes pointing out her 20 million plus Twitter followers – more than the other three coaches’ followers combined – and her 70 million-plus Facebook following. She’ll also draw on her very extensive musical background, including her rock roots, her experience in music producing and her formidable international experience.
2. There’s a surprising new alliance.
Shakira also gains a surprising ally: Blake Shelton takes up her cause multiple times at the expense of his bromance with fellow original coach Adam Levine. And it’s not just joking around – Shelton makes some very damning arguments against Levine in support of Shakira.
3. Blake Shelton is gun-shy.
While the other coaches are quick to swing their chairs on the first episode, Shelton is being very choosy. There are a few acts that would seem to fit in his wheelhouse – country and singer/songwriter – that he looks to be considering but ultimately passes. That said, he knows that his multiple season wins on the competition carry weight. So when he strikes, the blow can be deadly to his fellow coaches.
4. If it ain’t broke…
As Fox has been making format changes to both “American Idol” and “X Factor” (before it put the latter show out of its misery), “The Voice” seems pretty much untouched – at least during the blind auditions. One NBC representative told TheWrap that she didn’t know of any new changes to the show for this season.
5. “The Voice” is still the most pro-gay TV singing competition.
On “The Voice’s” first season, four gay singers advanced to the battle rounds. On the Season 6 premiere, it continues to be a welcome place for gay competitors. Just last week — 13 seasons in, mind you — “Idol” announced its first contender to be openly gay while competing. Just sayin’.
Also, here’s what we’re allowed to show you from Monday’s premiere: Above, watch the coaches sing each other’s hits.
And below, watch Bria Kelly, a singer that may just take the competition this season.