Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
Courageous contestants with compelling stories and captivating songs.
NBC's "The Voice" kicked off last week with all of the things we love most about the hit reality series.
Some of the early standouts in season three include 18-year-old Trevin Hunte, who was told at an early age that he didn't have what it takes to be a musician.
"I've been told that I wasn't going to become anything from my eighth-grade teacher," he told judges Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton on Monday's season premiere episode.
"Screw your eighth-grade teacher!" Blake said on the show.
"You can sing anything, that's for sure," Christina said.
In knocking "Listen" out of the park, Trevin received "I Want You" pushes from CeeLo, Christina and Blake.
"I'm completely blown away," Christina said.
"Me, too," CeeLo added.
Even Adam, who didn't spin his chair around, said, "You're obviously ridiculously good."
The judges' reaction was a far cry from what Trevin heard when he was younger.
"Well, for me when I was growing up, I wasn't the most vocal type of person, you know. I was always the type of person to always stay in the background," Trevin told BTS. "And I used to get picked on when I was in school. I was called everything ... and it was kind of hard for me growing up."
While unpleasant, the negativity Trevin received in elementary school has motivated him to succeed in the music business.
"I've been working on my craft," he told BTS. "I've been writing -- I'm writing songs and just, you know, just putting myself in talent shows and (working on the) performing side."
Trevin selected CeeLo, who told the young singer, "I think you might be that dude -- that dude to win this thing"
20-year-old Devyn DeLoera (Team Christina) had a similar experience growing up. An artistic child, she didn't fit in with her sports-playing peers.
"I was considered more of, like, an oddball, so I kind of retreated into my own little cocoon," she said in her video intro. "It was depressing. I would just lay in bed all day -- and I was like 9 years old. So, eventually I was taken out of school and I was home-schooled."
Devyn started to get into music, and used singing to overcome her shyness.
When she was in eighth grade, Devyn decided to perform ... on stage ... in front of people.
"The crowd was unbelievable," she said. "They normally sit down and they were jumping up into the air and screaming for me, and running up to the front of the stage."
"I was very shy growing up, as you saw," Devyn told BTS. "And I came out of my shell probably in junior high-high school time of my life. And I just started getting on stage. And by sophomore year, I had gotten into some singing competitions and I was doing things like that. I never won or anything, but it was a good -- it was a good start to getting to this point."
In recent years, "I've recorded in some studios and I attended GMA Week in Nashville one year as a Christian music artist," Devyn said. "So that's pretty much what I've been doing to get prepared and doing YouTube videos and things like that."
On "The Voice," Devyn performed Christina's song "Ain't No Other Man."
"I really, really like you," Christina said. "That's a really hard song to sing live. ... Hat's off to you. I truly, thoroughly enjoyed that."
"That's a Christina song, and you don't just do that unless you can do it," Adam said.
A trio of risk-takers also caught the eye of the judging panel in "The Voice's" first week.
18-year-old Gracia Harrison (Team Blake) decided to yodel during her blind audition.
"The Voice" host Carson Daly called it an "interesting tactic."
"I could sing a normal song, but I think that that makes me just like everybody else," Gracia said on air. "It definitely is a big risk to yodel in my performance, because there could be a possibility that they might not like it."
Gracia's risk paid off, as judges Blake, Adam and CeeLo spun around in support of her performance.
"Gracia, that was awesome. I loved that," Christina said.
"By far, you are the best country singer we have ever heard on this show," Adam said. "By far. You are the genuine, genuine article."
As she advances to the next round, "My strategy moving forward is definitely just to keep the same kind of, like, twangy, really country side that, you know, you don't really hear on the radio anymore," Gracia told BTS. "Because I think country has really become kind of merged with ... a pop sound or like rock. And so I think that to set myself apart I just need to keep it, you know, keep it country."
19-year-old MacKenzie Bourg (Team CeeLo) decided to audition for "The Voice" when he watched a commercial for the show during the Super Bowl.
It was his first time awake after a bout of viral myocarditis sent him into a coma.
"Whenever I got sick -- or actually whenever I overcame the whole sickness -- I just realized that, you know, you truly have to seize the day and that, you know, no day is ever guaranteed," he told BTS. "And that -- I just thought that, you know, if I don't do it now, when will I do it? So I decided to take the chance to come out for the show and it worked out for the best."
MacKenzie's Foster the People cover earned strong reviews from the judges.
"I thought you were fun," Christina said.
"I liked you," CeeLo said. "MacKenzie was really good."
24-year-old Joe Kirkland (Team Adam) had a promising career in music -- but as a backup singer for the band Artist vs. Poet. The group sold more than 100,000 singles, but lost its record contract after its frontman unexpectedly quit.
The move forced Joe into the spotlight. On "The Voice," he sang The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell." As a lead singer, he looked smooth on stage as he connected with the audience. It was hard to imagine he once took a backseat to another vocalist.
While his performance looked effortless, Joe said getting to that point was far from easy.
"It's been pretty difficult (becoming a frontman)," he told BTS. "I had a lot of negativity when the transition was made because, obviously, like our old lineup ... already toured and (had) done a lot of that stuff. So it was very difficult to prove, I guess, that I could do it. But, I mean, you know, I've watched people do it and I learn a lot by watching. And, you know, I knew what it took, and so I guess it just kind of took just the guts to actually get up and do it."
26-year-old DOMO (Team CeeLo), a seasoned dancer, said she knows each singer's time on television with "The Voice" is precious. Her goal is to offer complete performances.
"I've been on the stage dancing for about seven years professionally, so it's kind of a comfort zone for me," she explained to BTS. "I'm used to seeing many faces and interacting with the crowd and, you know, just getting the crowd hyped. That's kind of like our glove as dancers. We want -- we feed off of the crowd. So if the crowd is energetic and giving a lot of energy and hype, it reflects on the performer.
"So that's basically what I (feed) off of, and I just want to entertain. I want people to have a fun night, because you know what, at the end of the day, you don't know how long you're going to be there. So every moment has to count. I didn't want to sacrifice who I was and the kind of artist I want to be. Because I don't only want to be labeled as 'DOMO, the singer from "The Voice," ' and I got up there and sang a ballad. I want to be 'DOMO, the artist.' You know what I mean?"
22-year-old Adriana Louise (Team Christina) was one of only three singers in week one to earn an "I Want You" from all four judges. She found herself the subject of a bidding war between Adam, CeeLo, Christina and Blake.
"God, it's crazy. I didn't expect that to happen whatsoever," she told BTS. "I was hoping for one and to be stuck in that and all of them -- all four of them saying the most amazing things I've ever heard about myself in my life was crazy. It was mind-boggling, and I'm still in shock over it."
Adriana sang "Domino."
"We belong together," Christina said. "It's just a match made in Heaven. ... I want you on my team, because you can sing!"
"Anyone of us would be so lucky to have you on our team," Adam said.
"I think you're a superstar," Christina added.
Remarkably, Adriana's performance for the judges was her first time on stage in years.
"Well, I actually -- the ironic part about watching myself last night and (hearing) them saying, 'You look like a seasoned performer' and you know, a professional. And, they've been saying that and I haven't been on a stage in like three years," she said. "And prior to that, I hadn't performed in front of an audience nearly that big at all since high school -- at my high school. So it was pretty big to me.
"I hadn't been on a stage and it was the first time my boyfriend had seen me perform on a stage, and we've been together for two years. And yes, I hope I brought it well, and America liked it and people liked it.
"But, yes, my thing is the second I got on stage, I don't know what happened. All of the sudden it's like I walk out, get into it, and I bring some energy to it, you know? And, yes, that's so you can see a lot of energy on stage for me."
Week two of "The Voice" airs Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 17-18, at 8 p.m. on NBC.
For more on "The Voice," including social media sites, visit http://www.nbc.com/the-voice.
•All profile pictures by Paul Drinkwater/NBC