The teams have been picked – now let the competition really begin on NBC’s The Voice.
Last week, coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine completed their team rosters. This week, the contestants will square off as pairs singing the same song in order to stay on their respective teams. How are the singers preparing for the battle rounds? PEOPLE spoke to two early fan favorites, Austin-based blues singer Nakia and American Idolalumna Frenchie Davis, about working with their coaches and being supported on the show.
Frenchie brings years of Broadway experience to the stage. So what is she picking up from Aguilera? “I have been learning from her: ‘How do you tame a really powerful voice and make it appropriate for pop music?’ ” says Frenchie. “Big voices don’t always sound good on pop songs and Christina nails it all the time.”
For Nakia, “I see a lot of me in Cee Lo,” he admits, “but he’s so wise and one of the cool things is he’s right at the top of his game right now and when you get the opportunity to spend even two, 10, 15 minutes at a time with somebody that on fire and that ready to impart their knowledge about what sets him apart as an artist, I mean, every morsel of wisdom that comes out of his mouth, I’m just soaking it up on the spot.”
As an example, Nakia says working a crowd is one thing, but working a camera is another. Cee Lo has been on late-night TV and “he says, ‘I know where the cameras are set up, so this is what you need to be looking for,’ ” notes Nakia. “That sort of wisdom is the stuff you are like, ‘Yes!’ ”
Energizing Fans Old and New
After making it on to Aguilera’s team, Frenchie, a former American Idolcontestant, says, “I have to tell you, I was about to cry when I logged on to my Twitter last Tuesday and saw Ruben Studdard, Kimberley Locke and Kim Caldwell Tweeting and rooting me on the show. That just really meant so much to me. Kim Locke has been a great support system throughout all of this particularly because we both have a big gay following and we perform at gay prides together. She’s just amazing and Ruben too, he’s like my big brother and I just adore him.”
Meanwhile, “I did a photo shoot for my new Web site,” says Nakia, “and I decided to wear the suit and the tie I had on of the night before when the episode aired, and as I opened the truck door and stepped out, two guys across the street are like, ‘Hey, that’s the dude from The Voice!’ And then there are people asking for photos and autographs. You have to remember, this is taking place in Austin, a place I’ve lived for 9 to 10 years and performed! So that is very gratifying.”
The Voice now moves to its regular time slot at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesdays.
BY CYNTHIA WANG