Wendy Moten, a 55-year-old performer from Nashville, Tennessee, closed out the first night of auditions on Monday with a powerful rendition of The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out”, and left the coaches speechless as they squared off to land her on their teams. (Especially John Legend, who got blocked by Shelton!)
A soulful singer with impressive range, Moten had a charting hit in the ’90s with “Come In Out of the Rain”, before she began singing backup and duets with Julio Iglesias, Vince Gill, Michael McDonald, John Oates and more.
“What a privilege for them to have shared the stage with you!” Ariana Grande praised after Moten’s performance. “You are spectacular and I need you to be in the foreground. It’s time.”
“Your mastery of your instrument is beyond,” Legend agreed. “You have so much light in your voice… You really are phenomenal and we are lucky to have you.”
Kelly Clarkson was the last to turn her chair for Moten, but said she simply got caught up in the performance. “You are what this show is all about,” she told the performer. “A voice that is so powerful, so transcendent, that you kind of move people to another level.”
However, it was Shelton who threw out perhaps the biggest compliment of them all, saying, “That is top three Blind Audition for ‘The Voice’, all time.”
“You found a note and delivered it with power and impact. It was shocking,” he said, joking, “[It blew] the colour out of my hair!”
While Clarkson and Grande continued to make their own pitches, Moten shocked the panel and the audience by having her mind made up for Team Blake!
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) September 21, 2021
“I feel like Wendy is one of the best vocalists I have ever heard on this show,” he boasted after the win. “I can’t wait to see where this goes.”
“I am heartbroken,” Grande told the cameras after the surprising pick. “My earth is shattered. Blake’s the real deal.”
ET spoke with the coaches during their season 21 press conference ahead of Monday’s premiere, where Legend, Clarkson and Shelton placed the target squarely on Grande’s back as the first-time coach this season — especially because so many of the show’s young singers idolize the two-time Grammy winner’s vocal talent and chart success.
“Of course she’s a threat!” Legend said with a laugh. “She is hugely talented, hugely successful and has legions and legions of fans that know how to use the internet and vote.”
“There’s no disadvantage when you’re Ariana Grande,” Clarkson agreed. “She can’t say it. I will.”
“It’s embarrassing to follow her [onto the ‘Voice’ stage],” Shelton joked of the audience’s enthusiasm for the “7 Rings” singer. “It exposes my lack of celebrity.”
As a longtime “huge fan of ‘The Voice’,” Grande was humble about her possible advantages, but said she couldn’t wait for fans to see how her season 21 team comes together.
“I have watched many seasons and I love watching the show,” she said. “It always has the best energy. It’s such wholesome, inspiring television, and I love seeing the different voices and watching so many people start careers for themselves. It’s a beautiful, amazing thing.”
“The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC. See more from season 21 in the video below!
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