‘The Voice': A Keith Whitley Song (And a Mullet) Kicks Off The New Season
It's time for The Voice season 20! The beloved talent show's Blind Auditions kicked off on Monday (March 1), welcoming returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend...and giving a hearty "hello back" to Nick Jonas, who takes Gwen Stefani's seat after taking a season off.
Country music has always been a powerhouse on this particular reality show, and that was put front and center with the very first performer of the evening. Kenzie Wheeler, a 22-year-old Floridan with a well-executed mullet. "Yes, this is a dang mullet," Wheeler said in his intro video. "I love my mullet, I probably won't ever cut it off."
He noted that for as many people who diss his hairstyle, he has plenty of fans who want to run their fingers through it, and that he adopted the style from his dad. ("Maybe a little bit," his dad replied doubtfully, clarifying that he has a ponytail, not a mullet.)
That taken care of, Wheeler delivered a soulful version of Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes," which had all four coaches spinning their chairs. Clarkson put a fast block on Shelton, causing him to grumble immediately after the song finished.
Calling himself the "mullet connoisseur," Shelton noted, "Kelly lost her block, so that makes me happy," and instructed the others to fight it out.
Jonas jumped in by saying that he himself wanted to block Shelton, and that he also knew a thing or two about mullets. "I'm gonna find some good photos to print out," he asserted, but added, "As a young man myself, younger than the rest of the coaches here, I think we could be a good team."
Legend took a cool approach and merely noted, "Last season, I was able to secure a country artist on my team, and she made it to the Lives with great coaching from me, Kenzie. Please give me a shot."
Clarkson, always the hothead (and the one who'd blocked main competition Shelton in the first place), was predictably effusive, telling Wheeler, "I have won The Voice with two country singers. I'm just saying. I used my only block on [Shelton], and since he's not an option, Kenzie, I'm just saying."
Clarkson also rambled on about Wheeler's self-professed interest in baseball (saying she isn't particularly good at sports but she is "really good at winning singing competitions") and her love of singing in the car (another interest Wheeler discussed) with her kids.
Despite the hot fight over him, Wheeler didn't take long to decide on the obvious choice: Team Kelly. Clarkson squealed as loud as one might expect, but then related on a calmer note, "Kenzie came out with that deep '80s, '90s country voice that's right up my alley, and then I turn around, and he has this awesome mullet going on. It's kind of punk-rock cowboy. I really dig him."
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Keep coming back each week to see how your favorites do!