Adam Levine, The Voice


So long, CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera! The Voice returns tonight with two new superstar coaches, Usher and Shakira, who arrive determined to give veterans Blake Shelton and Adam Levine a run for the season-four crown. Do the newbies have what it takes? Will another girl be able to follow the winning path of Cassadee Pope? And what do Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have to do with the whole thing? Read on for five things you should know before checking out the two-hour premiere of NBC's hit singing competition.

1. The Coaches Make Sweet, Sweet Music Together: However competitive the four are with each other during the actual blind auditions—we'll get to that—they're in perfect harmony onstage during a show-opening group performance of The Beatles' "Come Together." Look for Adam on drums, Usher on guitar and Shak on harmonica!

2. Shakira Gives as Good as She Gets: Maybe it's the fact that she was pregnant with son Milan when the blinds were shot last last fall, but the Latin superstar is as ferocious as a mama bear from the first chair spin. When going up against Adam for one male contestant, the panel's lone female chalks the Maroon 5 frontman's season-one victory up to "beginner's luck." But while the "Hips Don't Lie" songstress is highly competitive, she's so far much less abrasive than predecessor Christina. In fact, we're already nursing a little girl crush.  

3. Fellow Newbie Usher Is as Cocky as You'd Expect: And that's not a bad thing! Arriving to the studio on a motorcycle, the multiple Grammy winner spends most of the premiere with one leg propped up in his red throne chair and telling hopefuls things like, "You want to last forever? Then rock with me." But in one hilarious highlight, the coach's swag crumbles when he refers to Nashville as a "state." Hey, when you spend your days topping the charts and mentoring the Biebs, who has time to study geography?

4. Speaking of Bieber... It doesn't take Usher long to play the Justin card, offering to introduce one promising contestant to the multiplatinum heartthrob if she joins his team. But how will Usher react when another aspiring artist dares to audition with Bieber's "Boyfriend"?

5. The Season's Hopefuls Are an Interesting Mix: Sure, you've got your usual performers who are looking for a second chance, not to mention the backup singers eager to claim their own spotlight (including the highly coveted Judith Hill, who was hand-picked by Michael Jackson for his ill-fated "This Is It" tour). But there are also some memorable firsts, including a pair of twins with more talent than their blond locks and cherry-red miniskirts would suggest and an aspiring teen country singer whose takes on Taylor Swift's "Mean" is—dare we say it?—just as good as T.Swift herself. Not bad, especially considering it's her first big performance ever

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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