"The Voice" is back! NBC's hit singing competition premiered its much-anticipated season four with some fresh new faces, and we're not just talking about the contestants.
Returning coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton were joined by two new mentors: R&B sensation Usher and new mama Shakira. They filled the chairs of the recently departed Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. While comparisons to the original panel were inevitable, [artist id="1270"]Usher[/artist] and [artist id="504144"]Shakira[/artist]'s energy seemed a natural fit for the show.
The "newbies" jumped right into the season's first blind auditions with sneaky tactics to win over their favorites. A fun and feisty Shakira openly critiqued singers, but when it came to snagging falsettoed crooner Kris Thomas, she blindsided the other coaches with her poker face.
"I know you guys. I gotta keep it under control otherwise you all turn and then make my life miserable," Shakira joked.
Usher, on the other hand, played it smooth and cool for the most part — until, of course, he dangled Justin Bieber in front of hopeful eyes. "I can't promise you you'll be at every Bieber concert," Usher said to 16 year-old Danielle Bradbery when trying to lure her to his side.
Besides the swag, Usher also brought the night's biggest laugh when he proclaimed Nashville a state. "I'm still fascinated by Nashville being a state. ... He's from there, that's what's really sad about it," Shelton quipped.
The night's final performance by Judith Hill turned all four coaches' chairs, with Usher resorting to seductive tactics by referring to the powerhouse songstress as his "first lady." Adam Levine won the battle, though, literally throwing down for the standout talent, "I'm gonna claw everyone's face. ... I'm gonna light myself on fire to make sure you're on my team," Adam said energetically.
Overall, Shakira and Usher slipped into their new chairs quite comfortably, and the rapport and respect among the newly formed group of mentors was evident. But another thing was also quite clear: When it came to the game, all bets (and smiles) were off.
How do you think Usher and Shakira did in their first night of coaching on "The Voice"? Share your comments below!