'The Voice' Season 20 Premiere: Blake Shelton Recognizes an Old Friend in the Blind Auditions!
By Meredith B. Kile
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The coaches on The Voice can often be surprised in the Blind Audition rounds, whether it's by a hopeful contestant singing one of their songs, or an instrument or extra voice joining in the mix. But on Monday's season 20 premiere, Blake Shelton was surprised by one of the contestants themselves -- an old friend of his from his early Nashville days!
Singer-songwriter Pete Mroz took the stage with his acoustic guitar and impressed the coaches with his rendition of the Steve Winwood/Blind Faith track "Can't Find My Way Home," earning chair turns from Blake and John Legend. But he seemed most invested in Blake, pointing his finger at the country superstar as he turned to endorse him.
"It sounds like there's some history there, and that's normally not a great thing with me," Blake joked.
"I was in this group called the Young Riders," Pete told the coaches of his Nashville beginnings, explaining that he used to perform under the name Pete Mitchell. That's when all the pieces came together to blow Blake's mind.
"I was in a group, also, called the Young Riders," Blake told his fellow coaches. "I haven't seen this guy in 25 years!"
As it turns out, Pete and Blake were members of the same songwriting collective, with throwback on-stage photos to prove it -- along with an anecdote about a bass player who Blake may or may not have stolen from Pete's band. And while Pete has plenty of anecdotes about Blake and his "good hair" from back in the day, John wasn't ready to give up the fight.
As The Voice kicks off its 20th season, and prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, ET sat down with the coaches, who all noted that there's still something thrilling about the show's "captivating" blind audition process that fans love to watch.
"It's all about the talent and not the aesthetic, right off the bat," Kelly Clarkson explained. "It's a really interesting thing to just hear something and be moved by it and turn around and go, 'What?!'"
In fact, the performer and talk show host shared that the Blinds for season 20 "were my favorite Blinds to shoot. Like, it was so much fun. I literally kept coming home, thinking on my drive home, 'I can't believe I get paid to just go and hang out and it's really fun.'"
"We're so fortunate we get to do what we love to do and we're so fortunate that we have art as such as an outlet for us creatively and emotionally," John said, also sharing his gratitude for the crew that makes their production a possibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's not just a job, because we actually enjoy doing it. It's fun to be around our coworkers and we get to make music with people who have dreams and are inspired and that's exciting."
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC. See more from the upcoming season in the video below.