Eleven singers graced The Voice stage during the hit NBC singing competition's Season 4 premiere on Monday. But while there was no shortage of future hitmakers and Grammy winners that made it to the next round — Judith Hill anyone? — let's be honest. Everyone's ears, and eyes, were on new coaches Usher and Shakira, who are filling in for Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera this cycle. So did the new additions push your big red button? Or are Cee Lo and X-Tina really irreplaceable? TVGuide.com weighs in:
The Look: Usher adds some flair, and lots of bling, to The Voice's coaches lineup. But what he lacks with the slightly drab all-black ensemble he makes up for by simply propping up his leg in his big red chair throughout the night. He may not have Cee Lo's crazy wigs or colorful costumes, but Usher definitely has a signature look thanks to his posture. Angelina's left leg is so last year.
The Sell: Usher's silky smooth vocals are only matched by his equally silky smooth sell tactics. When trying to win over 16-year-old songstress Danielle Bradbery, Usher does not hesitate before name-dropping his teen protégé Justin Bieber and goes so far as to say that Biebs was in the back of the studio! Although this is his first season, and Usher has zero wins under his belt (Blake Shelton has 2, Adam Levine has 1), kudos to the singer for using the whole "first-time journey" angle to his advantage. Usher has also been smart to emphasize worldwide success to potential team members — the kind of success that has eluded The Voice contestants thus far.
The Chemistry: Anyone that inspires Blake to get up and (try to) dance in the middle of the blind auditions gets good marks. However, while Usher and the country crooner have some hilarious clashes, his interactions with Shakira are few and far between. It also remains to be seen just how the ever-confident Usher and the cocky Adam will compete in later episodes. This pairing could be the new Adam-Christina rivalry fans will be clamoring for.
TVGuide.com's Judgment: Usher is a strong addition out of the gate, but because of his polish and healthy ego, it's hard to picture him ever becoming the fan-favorite coach.
The Look: First off, props must be given to the Columbian singer for completely hiding her baby bump (The blind auditions were shot in October, and Shakira gave birth in January). Like Christina, Shakira shows some serious skin with her low-cut top featuring a small but notable belly-revealing hole. But her glitter-bombed leather jacket seems to imply that her wardrobe will have a slightly more rock edge compared to the girly, curve-embracing clothes worn by X-Tina. It remains to be seen how Shakira's style will change post-baby, but her natural make-up and no-fuss hair is also a far cry from The Voice's original female coach's overly tweaked image.
The Sell: Unfortunately, Shakira seems to be at a bit of a disadvantage. Adam has always been the pop/rock guy, Blake has always been the country coach and now Usher clearly has a stronghold over the R&B hopefuls, but Shakira will have to work extra hard to establish her niche. One possibility? She could act as the tough coach who's unafraid of giving the harsh critiques to ultimately help singers improve, like when she points out Jess Kilner's poor pitch. It wouldn't hurt for Shakira to also try to capitalize on being the show's only female — a tactic that Christina used to her advantage often.
The Chemistry: Shakira is the exact opposite of Usher. While he clearly has no problem being himself in front of the camera, it might take Shakira a little longer to get comfortable. She's definitely not feisty and argumentative like Christina, but like Cee Lo and also Blake, Shakira has absolutely zero problem with making fun of any of the coaches — including herself. Also, her facial expressions might rival Britney Spears' on The X Factor. Yeah, that's right, we said it!
TVGuide.com's Judgment: Shakira might just be a late bloomer — someone whose natural and easy charm combined with her expertise will help her stand out as the shows progress and as she gets more comfortable in front of the camera.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Do you still miss Christina and Cee Lo? Are you Team Usher or Team Shakira? Share your thoughts below!
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