Pete Mroz The Voice
Screengrab via YouTube

Blake Shelton Reunites With Former Collaborator From the '90s During 'The Voice' Auditions

Blake Shelton didn't realize it at first, but there was a familiar face singing Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" behind his chair during the season premiere of The Voice.

A blind audition performance that inspired Shelton and John Legend chair turns came from an older-than-usual contestant billed as Pete Mroz.

After Mroz playfully said "I'm going to get to you" to Shelton, the country star suspected he'd ran up on (or in this case, spun around to) someone from his past.

"Sounds like there's some history there. That's normally not a good thing with me," Shelton said.

As it turns out, Mroz used to play around Nashville under the name Pete Mitchell. At some point, he performed in a group called the Young Riders with Shelton.

Per Mroz's explanation, the Young Riders was more of a songwriter's collective than a band, which might explain how Shelton could forget a collaborator after 25 years. It's not like they bonded in a van or a cramped practice space.

"No, we kind of got together. In Nashville, they do these things called songwriter rounds, and you kind of each do your thing," Mroz explained after Kelly Clarkson joked about Shelton somehow forgetting an assumed former bandmate.

Mroz also quipped about Shelton stealing his bass player, to which Shelton replied, "No, I gave your bass player a job."

The contestant ultimately sided with the "old cowboy" and joined Team Blake.

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It wasn't the only full-circle moment that night for Shelton. The season premiere began with Shelton wowed by contestant and fellow country music singer Kenzie Wheeler's rare triple threat mullet. The youngster got a four-chair turn for his performance of Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes."

Wheeler's on Team Kelly. As Clarkson pointed out during the broadcast, she's led two country singers to victory, including Jake Hoot.

Other standouts from night one included Christine Cain, who sang Harry Styles' "Watermelon Sugar," plus Corey Ward (Robyn's "Dancing on My Own"), Devan Blake Jones (H.E.R.'s "Hard Place"), Raine Stern (MGMT's "Electric Feel"), Victor Solomon (Legend and Common's "Glory"), Dana Monique (Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love") and Cam Anthony (Sam Smith's "Lay Me Down").

The Voice returned to NBC for its 20th season on March 1. Shelton, Legend and Clarkson are joined by fellow judge Nick Jonas and host Carson Daly.

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