SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah singer’s performance on the season premiere of “The Voice” this week was so enticing that one judge came up on stage for a mini-coaching session and another shamelessly brought up a puppy to persuade the singer.
Tate Brusa, 16, sang Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” for his blind audition on the season premiere of the show Monday night. Brusa has been singing for his entire life and started writing original songs when his parents got him a guitar at age 7, according to his biography on NBC’s website.
Both Nick Jonas, who is new to the show as a judge this year, and veteran judge Blake Shelton turned around their chairs to try and persuade Brusa, who is from Salt Lake City, to join their teams.
Jonas chided Shelton for not simply allowing Brusa to join his team, to which Shelton said “there’s no way I’m gonna let him get away with this.”
Jonas asked Brusa if he could give him some coaching right then and there.
He got up on stage, seized Brusa’s guitar and suggested he change his posture in order to hit some of the tougher notes in the song. The two performed a brief section of the Sheeran song, with Jonas accompanying Brusa on guitar.
Neither Kelly Clarkson nor John Legend turned their chairs around for a shot at getting Brusa on their team. But Clarkson told Brusa he would do well with either Jonas or Shelton, and Legend recommended he join Jonas’s team, but noted “I don’t have a dog in this fight.”
Shelton took those words to heart and, not to be outdone by Jonas, brought up a puppy. He told Brusa that if he didn’t join his team, the puppy would go straight back to the shelter.
Brusa eventually chose Jonas’ team.
It’s not the first time Shelton has lost out on a “Voice” contestant from Utah following a vigorous fight with his fellow judges.
Last year on the show, 20-year-old Utah singer James Violet eventually joined Gwen Stefani’s team. Clarkson, Shelton and Stefani all traded barbs after Violet’s blind audition, and Clarkson even jokingly suggested she was ready to physically fight Stefani.
Violet was eliminated from the show several weeks after the judges’ dust-up.