Tensions are already rising on season 19 of The Voice!
The NBC singing competition kicked off its new season on Monday, and John Legend wasted no time getting into the election year spirit with a political ad targeted at rival coach Blake Shelton.
The two were facing off over Jim Ranger, a pastor from Bakersfield, California, who wowed the panel with his performance of Keith Urban's "Blue Ain't Your Color." Blake, John and Gwen Stefani all turned their chairs, but John was immediately prepared to make his case.
"Jim, you don't want to work with Blake. You can't always trust this guy," he said, directing everyone's attention to a massive screen on the Voice audition stage. "I've got an important message I need to present."
Over scenes of Blake's various "lies" from previous seasons of the singing competition, a hilarious voiceover deadpanned, "Blake Shelton is a liar. All he does is lie. Isn't it time to pick a coach you can believe in? A coach with integrity? So this season, pick a coach we can all trust."
The video, which concluded with "I'm John Legend and I approve this message," cracked up the entire panel, but didn't do much for Blake, as he continued to make his case to his hopeful team member.
"I may be full of crap, but I won't be deterred," he said. "I do lie, but it's only when something is important to me."
Ultimately, the politicking paid off, as Jim chose to join Team Blake, much to the dismay of his fellow coaches.
Season 19 of The Voice looks a little bit different, as the singing competition returned to production with strict safety protocols, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The blind audition rounds are taking place with a "virtual audience" of fans watching from home -- which, as Blake explained ahead of the premiere, created a "new dynamic" for the coaches, as they were able to listen to the hopeful performers without any crowd noise.
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"We're able to hear the artists in a way that we've never heard before -- and we're able to hear the insults coming from the other coaches in a way that we've never heard them before," he joked. "They're really cutting through."
The country star teased that even his socially distanced proximity to fellow coach Kelly Clarkson isn't "far enough," though he did offer a rare moment of sincerity as well, admitting that he and his fellow coaches were excited to be a "comforting presence" for fans and viewers in a tumultuous year. And of course, he was thrilled to welcome Gwen back to the show.
"Having Gwen back is very comforting to all the coaches," Blake shared. "We were all able to just go back to the game we already knew. We all know how to play each other at this thing. It felt like the old gang got back together again, and we're having a blast."
"I think that being able to sit down and watch a show that's so inspiring and will bring inspiration to people, it will definitely bring joy," Gwen agreed. "Music is the heartbeat of human beings, so I feel really blessed to be here and to be a part of that and to be able to connect around America on the TV."
"Maybe the reason there's so much talent is that a lot of people are kind of paused and they get to kind of, you know, follow the dream in a way they didn't get to because maybe they're working or they were in school," she added. "I think there's kind of a different kind of group of people this time because of the opportunity that we are all paused in the world right now."
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.