British Country Singer Alex Whalen Hooks Blake Shelton on ‘The Voice’

Season 23 of The Voice kicked off Monday night (March 6) with the “Blind Auditions,” unveiling a whole new class of hopefuls vying for the winner’s circle – among them was London native Alex Whalen.

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With the new season came two new coaches: Niall Horan and Chance the Rapper. The pair joined returning coaches Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. The latter of which was very much taken with Whalen’s take on country music.

Whalen took on Sammi Smith’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” with a timeless voice that feels in line with Shelton’s classic country sensibilities. Naturally, all eyes were on the “God’s Country” singer to see if he would turn his chair.

Shelton decided he wanted Whalen on his team a few moments into the performance but, Chance made a last-minute bid for the singer.

“You have a gorgeous voice,” Clarkson told Whalen after the performance. “When you go low, that’s your superpower, man. That storyteller in you, it’s really nice.”

“And I’m so stoked to see you work with Chance; it’s just the coolest thing ever,” she playfully added.

Shelton then nudged Horan, “Here’s the part where you take up for me, son.”

“Alright, let me tell you about my old man here…” Horan teased before ceding that Whalen’s style would be right up Shelton’s alley.

“In all these years, I’ve never had a chance to work with a country singer from London,” Shelton said. “And you’ve braided your beard nicely for television. I mean, you just look badass. Listen, man. I’m going to go ahead and say it…this is my last season as a coach on this show, and I want you on my last team.”

As many country artists have done before him, Whalen joined team Blake. “Alex has got that thing about him,” Shelton reflected after the audition. “His voice is a little bit wild, kind of had a rock edge to it.”

Check out the performance below.

Photo by Casey Durkin/NBC

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