The Triangle saw one of its contestants advance on NBC’s “The Voice" Monday while another was sent home on the reality competition’s battle rounds.
Lowell Oakley III of Durham sung his way through a tough battle to stay on Pharrell Williams’ team.
“Lord, I’m just so thankful,” said Oakley, a graduate of Durham Academy.
The Elon University freshman appeared overwhelmed to still be on the show and said he’s thrilled to continue his work with Williams, particularly after his battle partner, Kimberly Nichole, presented stiff competition.
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Meanwhile, Katelyn Read, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Cary, lost to 17-year-old Treeva Gibson when Coach Christina Aguilera pitted the two singers against each other on an alternative version of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.”
Read immediately thanked her fans with a video on Twitter following the elimination.
“Plot twist,” she said with a little laugh. “Thank you so much for following me on this journey. You have been amazing. But now I’m excited because this means I can start on my own music. Let’s stay in touch.”
On the competition, now in its eighth season, coaches Aguilera, Willliams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton assemble teams of singers after listening to them during blind auditions.
In the second phase of competition, known as the battle rounds, each coach pits one singer on his or her team against another in a duet. Sometimes, the battle results in a clear winner, while others produce revelatory performances with both singers equally matched.
Once the coach declares who wins the battle, the other coaches can steal the remaining singer for their teams.
For both Oakley and Read, their performances presented their respective coaches with tough decisions.
Oakley and Nichole gave Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” a slower, soulful twist. In rehearsals, Williams said he liked pairing Oakley, who wants to be a jazzy crooner with an R&B sound, with Nichole and her raw, rock sound.
Williams pushed Oakley to step up his stage presence and to remain confident while exploring a different, bluesy side of his voice.
He stepped up, and several coaches were brought to their feet.
Coach Adam Levine called it a “classic ‘Voice’ moment” and praised the arrangment. Most seemed torn about who won the battle, and Williams agonized over whom to select.
He picked Oakley, saying he’d seen a new side to him.
“It boils down to who I can do the most work with,” Williams said.
Indeed, after he picked Oakley and Nichole was snatched up by Aguilera in the steal, Williams told Oakley, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Aguilera, on the other hand, didn’t deliberate as long, but asked her fellow coaches for guidance. In rehearsals, she pushed both of her singers not to hold back on a song that begs for intensity. She worried they wouldn’t live up to the potential of the haunting rendition originally sung by Florence and the Machine.
After the performance, Aguilera said she liked how Gibson had an “innocent tone” but knew when to unleash the monster side of her voice. But Read is a singer with more finesse and control, Aguilera said. She ultimately picked Gibson.
Read thanked Aguilera for the opportunity.
“My goal for coming on this show was to become a better singer, and I feel like I’ve come a long way,” Read said.
Read, who moved to Cary in 2013, has performed locally in Raleigh and recently played at Deep South. She said she is starting her singing career later than some; she has been a stay-at-home mom. In recent years, her husband has encouraged her to pursue her dream. She has released a five-song EP, “She Can Feel It.”
Read said in an interview before her elimination that she learned from Aguilera and the other singers on her team. Being on “The Voice” was a “delightful surprise,” she said.
“I feel like a much better singer and a much better performer because of the show,” she said. “All of the people who work on the show, it’s just a positive place to be.”
Banov: 919-460-2605; Twitter: @JessicaBanov