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'The Voice' premiere: Blake Shelton blocked from 'unicorn' singer with 'triple threat mullet'

Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
·4 min read
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The cowboy has mullet envy.

Country music star Blake Shelton, the self-proclaimed "mullet expert," opened the Season 20 premiere of "The Voice" Monday with some nostalgia following contestant Kenzie Wheeler's performance on Day 1 of Blind Auditions.

Wheeler earned the first four-chair turn of the season with his classic take on Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes," but all eyes were on Wheeler's hairdo.

"I want you guys to know that this guy has the triple threat mullet," declared Shelton. "He’s got the party in the back. He’s got the shaved sides, but then the rare widow’s peak. The rarest of all mullets. This guy is a unicorn."

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Shelton temporarily took his eyes off the prize and was hit with a swift block from Kelly Clarkson, freeing the path for Wheeler to join another team besides the King of Country's.

"Nothing has brought me more pleasure than hearing your voice and seeing that beautiful block symbol in front of Blake," said returning coach Nick Jonas, who replaced champion Gwen Stefani this season. Jonas previously served as coach on Season 18 in 2020.

Shelton protested ("I got screwed!"); Legend silenced his skeptics ("A country singer on my team… made it to the live shows"); Clarkson also pulled the receipts ("I have won 'The Voice' with two country singers"). Wheeler joined Team Clarkson.

"I got to block Blake and get the artist," celebrated Clarkson, who was equally impressed with Wheeler's mullet. "It’s kind of punk-rock cowboy."

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Legend liked the idea of ganging up on Shelton, the winningest coach in "Voice" history who normally monopolizes the country genre on the show.

"What if we all use our blocks for country?" Legend suggested. "That’s the alliance I’m looking for."

Legend, however, quickly realized he had no allies. Jonas blocked him from singer Cam Anthony, who was "looking to get John to turn" for his rendition of Sam Smith's "Lay Me Down." Anthony ultimately picked Shelton over Jonas.

"Everybody is betraying me," Legend said. "I expect this from Blake but Nick deftly blocked me and I’ll never forgive him for that."

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With physical touch out of the question amid social distancing in the COVID-19 era, the coaches stepped up their game to form connections with singers to lure them to their teams. Clarkson brought back "Kelly's Closet" of coats, Jonas dramatically dropped "Nick's Notes" from the ceiling, Shelton offered bobblehead replicas of "Jonah Hill that I’m telling them is me" and Legend took things a step further by serenading his new team members.

But Shelton already had a connection with contestant Pete Mroz, who performed Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home." Mroz and Shelton were both part of a Nashville group called "Young Riders" nearly three decades ago.

"I haven’t seen this guy in 25 years," Shelton said after recognizing Mroz. "We would have a blast if we got to work together again."

When Mroz recalled that Shelton had "that good hair" back in the day, Shelton playfully reminisced, "Man, I had the mullet." Mroz picked Shelton over Legend, despite Clarkson and Jonas' best efforts to sway Mroz to Legend.

"It makes me happy to see the other coaches team up against me," Shelton said. "I think it’s cute. It’s desperate."

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But Legend got the last laugh. He beat out Jonas and Shelton for singer Victor Solomon, who sang Legend's own Oscar-winning song "Glory," which Shelton hadn't heard of.

"What a way to end the day," Legend said. "I’ve been blocked, I lost a few that I thought I could’ve won and I need someone to come and save the day for me."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The Voice': Blake Shelton blocked from 'triple threat mullet'