It’s Blake Shelton’s final season on The Voice, but he’s not getting choked up just yet!
“I’m having a blast!” The Cowboy said as the singing competition kicked off season 23 on Monday with the first round of Blind Auditions.
And with the talented performers came a few surprises for Blake, who received not one but two blasts from his past as singers shared their unexpected connections with the country star.
First up, Holly Brand proved she was a truly talented “Mississippi Girl” with her performance of the Faith Hill hit that unfortunately turned every chair but Blake’s.
“What is wrong with you!” Kelly Clarkson shouted in disbelief, as Blake apologized for not turning his chair — especially when he heard that Holly had opened for him in concert when he was just 10 years old.
“I actually have a really cool story…I brought something that I want to show you,” she said.
“Is this an Ancestry.com test?” Blake joked, before taking a look at the picture of the two from the past.
Later in the show, Emily Rhyne failed to get a coach to turn their chair for her Audition, but shared with Blake that she was from his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, and even performs at his venue, Ole Red.
Emily also had a surprise for Blake — and his fellow coaches — a recording of the country from when he was just 13 years old!
“My grandpa was a musician, and when Blake was just 13 years old, he asked his mama for his birthday if he could go to the recording studio and lay down some tracks,” she shared.
Emily then played the track, much to the delight of Kelly, Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan, who laughed at Blake’s young-sounded voice, which was even more twangier than it is today!
“I feel terrible,” Blake said of not turning for the young performer. “Knowing the backstory, if I had known it, I definitely would have turned.”
ET spoke with the season 23 coaches ahead of the premiere, who all shared how excited they were to be on the show for The Cowboy’s last go-round.
“I texted him,” Kelly shared. “If he was gonna do a last season, I wanted to make sure I was there.”
However, the talk show host insisted that she won’t be letting nostalgia affect her competitive nature.
“If [Blake] wins, I am very happy for him, because that is super cool to win on the last season and he’s literally the show, from its conception,” she conceded. “But, like, I’m not, like, rooting for him to win. I’ll be happy for him if he does, but I’m obviously trying to win myself.”
As for the show’s new coaches, Niall and Chance said they were ready to put in the work against the Team Blake dynasty.
“It’s been awesome,” Chance said of joining the show. “Kelly’s very, very sweet, very nice to me. And Blake is… here.”
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.
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