'The Voice': Blake Shelton Surprised by Young Riders Bandmate From Early Nashville Days During Blind Auditions

Blake Shelton got a big surprise during the Season 20 premiere of The Voice on Monday, reuniting with an old friend from his early days in Nashville. Singer-songwriter Pete Mroz was one of the contestants to take the stage during the show's blind auditions during the premiere episode, performing Steve Winwood/Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" with an acoustic guitar.

He scored chair turns from Shelton and coach John Legend, pointing his finger at Shelton as the country star's chair turned. "It sounds like there's some history there, and that's normally not a great thing with me," Shelton cracked before telling Shelton, Legend and fellow coaches Kelly Clarkson and Nick Jonas that he used to perform under the name Pete Mitchell and was a member of the Nashville writing group the Young Riders.

"I was in a group, also, called the Young Riders," Shelton shared. "I haven't seen this guy in 25 years!" The Young Riders was a songwriting collective in Nashville, and the pair reminisced with throwback photos and a story about a bass player Shelton may have stolen from Mroz's band.

Though Shelton and Mroz go way back, Legend made an attempt to get the musician to join his team. "I think the best way to get back at him for stealing your bass player, would be to disappoint him and join Team Legend," he joked. Shelton told Mroz that it was "time to get the band back together," and Mroz agreed, officially joining Team Blake.

"It's kind of like a full-circle moment for me," he told host Carson Daly backstage. "It's kind of crazy to think that we sat around playing songs, and now here we are!"


Season 20 marks 10 years of The Voice, and Shelton admitted to Daly in a conversation for PEOPLE that he "didn't think the show was gonna last" at all. "When I started the show, I had been making records for 10 years with some success and some pitfalls," he said. "There were times where it was like, 'Man, is my label gonna drop me?' Then we'd have another okay hit on country radio. I was just hanging in there. The one thing I think attracted the producers to me was the fact that people knew me as a smart-ass, but in a fun way."

Around a month after the show premiered, executive producer Audrey Morrissey asked Shelton if they knew the show would be a hit. "I went, 'Well, everybody I know watches it, but they just can't believe I'm on TV,'" he recalled. "This was before you could see all this instant information on your phone, and you just had to go off what people were saying."