Christina Grimmie, 19, Marelton, NJ
Claim to Fame: “About two million subscribers on YouTube”
Looks Like: Carly Rae Jepsen if she borrowed Judith Light’s white blazer
Song: “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus
She barely gets to come in like a wre— when Shakira (eyes wide) and Usher (hair tall) both turn around. Adam follows shortly after, while Blake tries to remember if he taped Mike & Molly, then Christina hits a money note and badabing, Blake’s on board. Four chairs for the season premiere kick-off performance! They each make their case with the typical witticisms and Blake-Adam rivalries, resulting in Christina choosing Coach Adam.
Shakira Says: “In season four I might have been hormonal and sleepless, but now I’m rested and focused as laser.”
T.J. Wilkins, 23, Los Angeles, CA
Backstory: Escaping the influences of South Central at a performing arts school
Most Promising Family Member: Mother Jeri, with the most amazing hair!!
Song: “Benny and the Jets” – Elton John
Blake says he’s “got a feeling about this one” before literally any music starts. Usher looks contemplative, but then Blake hits his button and Usher hits HIS and Adam HITS HIS and we’re left with some extreme close-ups of Shakira as she bops her head in the most pleasant of manners, debating whether she's worn a shiny enough top. During the turnaround, Blake calls the contestant “Teej” and thinks they’re buddies (during this time, Blake also says “falsett-uh”). Shakira explains she didn’t turn because she wanted to be strategic and doesn’t want to waste her “bullets.” Teej picks Coach Usher.
Shakira Says: “Boo-letts”
Kristen Merlin, 29, Hanson, MA
Backstory: Came out at 16, quit her desk job, sang with Sugarland
Looks Like: Miley Cyrus (but actually)
Song: “Something More” – Sugarland
Adam immediately recognizes the potential in her twang, with Shakira joining in a little later (and giving that “Oh, wow!” facial expression that accompanies any coach’s surprise that the contestant looks more like a Dorota than a Serena). Shakira stands up to dance, thereby telling Kristen "I'm yours" with her gyrations, but Adam of course won’t have any of that silly nonsense—he, too, stands up to say his piece, not to be left out of the bipedal party. Adam’s pitch is that he recognized Kristen’s musical training; Shakira's is that she has a large social media following. Shakira then says that, if chosen, she’ll call Blake’s wife Miranda Lambert to coach Shakira to coach Kristen (can she do that?). No surprises here—Kristen chooses Coach Shakira. But will her promise come to fruition?
Shakira Says: “I have over 20 million people on Twitter. These three guys combined—no offense—they don’t get to 17 million. I have 20 myself. I know, it’s crazy, I cannot believe it.”
Tanner Linford, 16, Kaysville, UT
My First Reaction: “Look at this cute little nugget!”
Backstory: Once sang “Hallelujah” at his school
Inspiration: Uncle Jim, who passed from brain cancer
Song: “Stay” – Rihanna
Unfortunately for this little q-t-π, he’s not very good, and truth be told, it’s heartbreaking that his last phrase is “I want you to stay” when, sadly, nobody did. He took criticism well and promised to come back next year.
Status: Rejected (but I'm cool with it)
Biff Gore, 45, Denver, CO
OMG He: Is a worship leader, runs a small organ and tissue transplant foundation, and has five kids (and one on the way)
Genre: “I call it life music—music that reaches out and grabs you.”
Hero: His brother Kenny, who wrote a letter to his army company commander to keep him from being deployed overseas in 1990
Song: “A Change is Gonna Come” – Sam Cooke
It takes just a quick “I was born by the river” (which is arguably the phrase that makes the most impression in the whole song anyway) for Adam and Blake to turn around. Shakira joins; Usher pretends to hesitate and then turns, but really, I don’t know what he was waiting for since Biff obviously has a beautiful voice. They each make their case (Blake wants to be saved, Shakira wants a Grammy date), and after a mildly suspenseful commercial break, Mr. Biff Gore chooses Coach Usher.
NEXT: "That was my favorite performance I've ever seen ever."