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Blake Shelton doesn't look like a winner on 'The Voice's' live opener

Nov. 5, 2013 at 1:09 AM ET

Image: Adam Levine and Blake Shelton on The Voice
Trae Patton / NBC
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton's "Voice" singers square off in the season's first live show.

It was Team Blake Shelton versus Team Adam Levine when "The Voice's" live performances began on Monday — but in many ways, the odds were stacked against Blake from the start.

For starters, Adam was dressed like a winner in a slick suit. His rival? Well, let's just say Blake was more casual.

Shelbie Z. kicked the night off with "Fancy," but host Carson Daly stopped short when he asked Blake to rate his singer's performance.

"Thanks for dressing up tonight," he gibed. 

Blake hemmed and hawed and studied his outfit, which might be described in a mail-order catalog as "yardwork brown." He recovered his bearings enough to lavish praise on Shelbie anyway, closing it with, "Thanks for making me look smart."

"That's hard to do," Adam said.

"I forgot to even dress up for this show tonight," Blake said.

"What, do you cut lumber when you're done here?" Carson asked.

Not likely — but if Blake doesn't want his singers to get the ax, he'll have to work hard to help them stand out.

Later performances are often favored, but four of Blake's five acts sang in the first half of the show — only Cole Vosbury landed a late spot. Meanwhile, Adam owned the final hour — especially the last few minutes, dominated by Tessanne Chin.

Adam took a big risk in having her sing "Many Rivers to Cross" by Jimmy Cliff. Tessanne was his background singer, as has been noted often, but it's not like his songs are that familiar to the audience. Put it like this — Adam also had Greysing Paramore's "Still Into You," which has been on the radio more often in the United States the past 24 hours than "Many Rivers to Cross" has been on the radio in, well, ever. 

The risk paid off: The Jamaican performer won raves from the audience and the coaches — of course, so did everyone else — and was in tears at the finish.

"No, woman — no cry!" CeeLo Green said. "Every little thing's gonna be all right." Had this been a three-hour show, he might still be reggae-dropping.

You know who wasn't all right though? Her coach. Adam needed a visit from the self-esteem fairy after listening to Cole Vosbury from Team Blake sing.

"Cole, I've regretted not turning around for you ever since I didn't turn around for you," Adam said. "I'm stupid. I'm a stupid person. I'm an idiot."

"Hear, hear," Blake said.

It may seem like bad news for the bromance, but don't worry. CeeLo and Christina Aguilera's teams sing Tuesday, which means Blake and Adam might be snuggling under a pink blanket while Caroline Pennell sings.

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