The Voice season 7 is off to a foot-stomping, Zippo-waving, hand-clapping start with four nights of performances under its belt and the competition is something fierce. Last week all four coaches began filling their rosters and this week they doubled them, populating each with talented artists both highly experienced and polished, as well as others whose sheer untamed talent has brought them to this stage to sing their hearts out for the people.

Already the press are swarming to get their first real glimpses of the personalities behind the big voices of all these young people with really old souls who know how to fill the stadium with their souls. This week BuddyTV brings you some personal tidbits about this past week’s performers whose age, race, creed, sexual orientation, hair style, music preference and ownership of a special parking spot at the front of every public building makes absolutely no difference. The ticket to getting into an interview like the one we had with them this week was one of the most coveted experiences in the world today: one or more excited swiveling couches upon which sits one of four of the most powerful and gifted human beings in the music industry today: Gwen Stefani (Team Gwen), Pharrell Williams (Team Pharrell), Adam Levine (Team Adam), and Blake Shelton (Team Blake). Here’s what these future superstars has to share.

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Having Your Own Personal Cheering Squad is The Key

Most of the competitors cited swarms of friends, classmates, and family members are what finally got them to audition for The Voice. On top of that tremendous support, most of the artists also grew up in households filled with musical parents and siblings. 

  • Alessandra Castranovo’s boyfriend and another friend sat her down and talked to her for two hours until she agreed to audition for NBC’s The Voice. “It won’t kill you,” they promised her.
  • Kensington Moore had never watched The Voice though her family had been begging her for years to try out. Finally a friend took her to Nashville and the rest is history.
  • Troy Ritchie grew up on a steady diet of Gwen Stefani, classic rock, and Motown but his true idols are The Beatles who he says just really figured ‘it’ all out. He got into metal for a while and later became practically a Chris Martin impersonator. 
  • Gianna Salvato grew up in a music-oriented family and didn’t really have much of a choice. She’s most interested in pursuing pop, R&B with some pop-soul. 
  • Amanda Lee Peers was excited to have her partner with her on screen for the show. Being the first open lesbian woman to include her partner in the behind-the-scenes snippets of her supporters was very important to Amanda. “She’s a really huge part of why I started to get back into music so I wanted her to be a part of this experience as well,” she said. The experience of loving another person is what inspires a person to do music. 

You Never Know What Coach You Will Choose Until You’re There 

  • Ethan Butler almost went with Blake but the heat of the moment things changed, he said on the call. “You can feel the energy of the other person and who connects with you the most.” 
  • Chris Jamison thought he would go with Pharrell, but appreciated Adam’s constructive criticism was chancy, but he said what he really thought and that was important to Chris. “The show is about trying to better yourself and find your place in the crazy music industry,” he told us in our call. 
  • On choosing Gwen, Anita had this to say: “Gwen spoke to me on a level that was very honest and real. She was really feeling it. She was in that chair and she was dancing. That to me just means a lot. If you can groove to what I’m doing that’s beautiful.”
  • Alessandra Castranovo said that when it was time to decide she “thought about Blake for a little bit but then Adam just kept talking and talking and saying really nice compliments. So that’s what made me choose him!”
  • John Martin admitted surprising himself with his choice of coaches. “I just had to follow my gut. I’m actually a huge fan of Pharrell’s and I listen to his music almost every day and I’ve been following him for a while. And I don’t know any Blake Shelton music. But when I was up there he was the first one that turned around for me. He was just super into me.” On top of that, the three other coaches all seemed to believe Blake would be the best coach for John, so that is how he came to be on team Blake.  
  • Kensington Moore had this to share, and she’s probably not the first to ever feel this way: “But I think I’m kind of star struck by Pharrell and Adam and Gwen. It’s almost like I would feel nervous talking to them or something. But Blake almost feels like he could be my dad. Like I just feel so comfortable around him and I feel like we can really relate.”

Gwen Makes the Boys All Tingly With Her Compliments

All of the recipients were humbled and flattered by Gwen’s compliments on their attractiveness, but Jonathan Wyndham said it best when he said hearing that kind of thing from Gwen Stefani just makes you melt. This is something new on The Voice as Christina Aguilera never did that. Gwen Stefani is a beautiful woman, the male singers agreed. One can’t help but notice that Gwen has a way of complimenting a person so genuinely that it never becomes awkward. That is the charm of Miss Gwen.

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Being On That Stage Is a One of a Kind Experience and a First for Most

Part of the wonderfulness of The Voice is the authentic element brought to the experience by the candid behavior of the coaches. This past week as Gwen, Pharrell, Adam and Blake stood in a semi-circle behind stage they talked about how nerve-wracking this experience must be for the performers. Each of these four got to their great heights one step at a time. It was gradual, and with smaller audiences at first, then bigger and bigger and surrounded by industry individuals to support them along the way as the increased their connections. Some of these performers come to the voice with a guitar and a jug of water and that’s all. The artists has this to say about this surreal experience:

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  • Jordy Searcy shared a part of a recent conversation he had with his vocal coach who is also his mother. “I was just saying that there’s really no other performers in the world except the people on The Voice who have that kind of experience because you have 90 seconds of a song that you worked on for two months and you have to make four great artists, four professional people want you to be on your show that’s going to be aired to 15 million people and really change your life. So it’s kind of a bizarre thing and it’s a really strenuous thing.”
  • Alessandra Castranovo had this to say about her experience: “I was so nervous and I had so many emotions I don’t really remember a lot. It was like an out of body experience. I think Adam turned around within the first verse of me singing. Or was it Blake? I believe Blake turned first maybe. I don’t know. I really can’t remember.

Second Chances for Several Performers

  • Anita Antoinette has been on The Voice before. What she wanted after being turned down before was to take some time for herself to decide if this was really what she wanted. Going through this process, she shared on the call, requires facing a tremendous amount of personal fear. That previous bad experience taught her that this is indeed what she really wants. Though she admits she’s not an opera singer or someone with a big ridiculous voice that everyone goes crazy over, what she does have is a tone and sense of herself that she feels comes out in her work. That’s what she brings to everything she does. 
  • Tanner Linford thought he’d be less nervous the second time around. He spent the time in between performing every chance he got and increased his confidence tremendously. When he got on that stage and saw that backs of those red chairs all the memories came flooding back along with the doubt and fear. He managed to get control of himself and then pour his heart and soul into the song, and that was when Blake turned around for him. He said he went from a state of total despair to complete and utter giddy happiness.

All of the performers who spoke with BuddyTV are winners no matter what happens from here forward. Our conversation was proof that just getting up onto that stage in front of four extraordinary coaches and millions of viewers makes them extraordinary themselves. Good luck to all of them.

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC. 

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV