The Voice season premiere recap: Just Like Christmas Morning

Add two new judges, six new sob stories, shake well. Serve while spinning...
Ep. 01 | Aired Mar 25, 2013

FAB FOUR With the addition of Usher and Shakira, the new group of coaches is as charming (even more so?) as ever.


Growing up, Kris Thomas was only allowed to listen to gospel music, so it’s fun to learn that he would sneak some time with his older brother’s cassettes every now and again. It’s less funny to learn that, one day, Thomas was driving drunk when he fell asleep and nearly ran into a house. But hey — it’s singing time!

Thomas chooses “Saving All My Love For You,” and his nice-but-not-powerful voice earns him the gobsmacked surprise of the judges. “You’re a dude?” wonders Usher because — psych! — Usher’s eyes don’t actually work. Whatever: Shakira gets the drop on all of them by spinning first and laying claim to Thomas, who leaves the stage in a state of shock. “I feel like I’m in a dream,” he says. “I feel like that didn’t just happen.”

What does just happen is the elimination of the next contestant, James Irwin, who we first learn lost his twin daughters while his wife was still pregnant before he even sings a note. Then he sings “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and it’s nice, but because this is The Voice and The Voice is an intricately political competition (didn’t you know?), and the judges have their teams to think of, Irwin is greeted by no spinning chairs and no coaches.

Bizarrely, they all praise him anyway with phrases like “talented dude” and “really good job.” Mercifully, Irwin is freed before I can complete my pox on the “Morgan twins.”

Lastly, we jump into a car with Carson Daly and head to Pasadena to meet Judith Hill, who is working in the home recording studio of her musician parents. Dad played with Bob Dylan and Judith herself worked for two months on Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour before he died. Then she sang at his memorial service.

None of us have heard of her, though, because she thought answering all those calls that came in afterward would have been tacky. But no longer: “Now it’s finally time — this is the Judith Hill chapter.”

Spoiler: The Judith Hill chapter should really just be a CD, because she can sing. Like really. Like, oh-right-she-was-already-a-professional-singer really. A 90-second glimpse of her doing “What a Girl Wants” is enough to have Adam Levine standing on his plush red chair and threatening to claw off the faces of the other judges and set himself on fire if he doesn’t get her on his team. She doesn’t hesitate: Team Adam it is.

And that is that. Do you miss Christina and Cee Lo or not at all? (I’m Team Not At All.) When did Adam get so devilishly charismatic — is it the white T-shirt? And when did Blake get so old?

The first night of the blind auditions is over. Open your eyes!

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