'The Voice': Kelly Clarkson Says Chance the Rapper Has the Best Pitch in Show History

Are the returning coaches picking favorites between the season 23 newbies?

Are Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton already picking favorites on The Voice season 23?

The new season kicked off on Monday with the first round of Blind Auditions, and while Blake joked that Niall Horan has the art of deception down enough to fill his departing boots, Kelly took up Chance the Rapper's corner when she got blocked by "Blockhead Blake" for the chance to land St. Louis singer Neil Salsich.

Neil's acoustic, singer-songwriter style leaned towards country and folk influences, so Chance knew he had an uphill battle ahead of him, but he took his best shot.

"I'm not very familiar with country music, but the texture of your voice, the tone, the range that you have, and also, the runs, this could be interesting," the rapper offered. "It's TV, anything could happen! Why not a rapper and a country singer together?"

"And it would be also really cool if I stole a country artist off Blake!" he added. "This guy is the definition of cool, I'm really cool, we could make something happen!"

"Oh my god, Chance is my favorite coach!" Kelly praised.

Ultimately, the pep talk didn't account for much, as Neil chose to join Team Blake anyway, but Kelly couldn't help but praise Chance once more before the commercial break.

"That was literally my favorite pitch that anyone has ever done!" she told him with a laugh.

ET spoke with the season 23 coaches ahead of the premiere, who all shared how excited they were to be on the show for The Cowboy's last go-round.

"I texted him," Kelly shared. "If he was gonna do a last season, I wanted to make sure I was there."

However, the talk show host insisted that she won't be letting nostalgia affect her competitive nature.

"If [Blake] wins, I am very happy for him, because that is super cool to win on the last season and he's literally the show, from its conception," she conceded. "But, like, I'm not, like, rooting for him to win. I'll be happy for him if he does, but I'm obviously trying to win myself."

As for the show's new coaches, Niall and Chance said they were ready to put in the work against the Team Blake dynasty.

"It's been awesome," Chance said of joining the show. "Kelly's very, very sweet, very nice to me. And Blake is... here."

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.


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