‘The Voice': A Keith Whitley Song (and a Mullet) Kicks Off Season 20
The Voice's 20th season began Monday night (March 1), welcoming returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend, as well as Nick Jonas, who fills Gwen Stefani's seat after taking a season off. The new round of competition began with the first Blind Auditions, including one fro Kenzie Wheeler.
Country music has always been a powerhouse genre on this particular TV singing competition, and 22-year-old Florida resident Wheeker put it front and center with the very first performer of the evening. "Yes, this is a dang mullet," he said in his intro video. "I love my mullet; I probably won't ever cut it off."
Wheeler noted that while many people dis his hairstyle, he has plenty of fans who want to run their fingers through it. He adopted the cut from his dad ("Maybe a little bit," his father replied doubtfully, clarifying that he has a ponytail, not a mullet).
Wheeler delivered a soulful version of Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" that 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," the country star 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 had 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 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." She also rambled about Wheeler's self-professed interest in baseball, saying that she isn't particularly good at sports but 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 loudly, 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 at 8PM ET.
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