Happiness is a Warm TV

Former Carolina Panther football player competes in Playoff Round of ‘The Voice’

Esera Tuaolo performs in the Knockout Rounds of NBC’s “The Voice” on Oct. 30, 2017.
Esera Tuaolo performs in the Knockout Rounds of NBC’s “The Voice” on Oct. 30, 2017. Tyler Golden/NBC

Esera Tuaolo, a former NFL defensive tackle who last played for the Carolina Panthers (1999), competed in a different kind of playoff on Monday night’s “The Voice.”

The show’s Playoff Round has singers getting one-on-one coaching and then performing in succession with other members of their team. Then their coach – in Esera’s case, Blake Shelton – must pick three singers out of their team of six to advance to the Live Rounds.

Esera, with his soulful style, stands out on Blake’s team, which is heavy on country artists. He sang “How Do I Live?” by LeAnn Rimes.

After his performance, fellow coach Jennifer Hudson said Esera sounded a little pitchy at the start, but really “brought it home.” Adam Levine told him if he can get control of his nerves, his vocal performance will be a little stronger.

Blake Shelton told Esera: “The thing that’s remarkable about you is your range. The fact that you have this beautiful high voice – you were a football player!”

Later, Blake said of Esera: “He’s such an incredible singer but hasn’t mastered technique yet, so I’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do with moving forward with this guy.”

Just before Blake picked the last member of his team, Esera got a chance to speak: “I’m just humbled by this experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself and definitely that the dream that I put aside is not dead.”

When the moment of truth came at the end of Monday’s show, Blake . . . did not choose Esera. Which is a real shame.

During his time in the NFL, Tuaolo, a Hawaii native of Samoan heritage, often sang The National Anthem before games and was known as Mr. Aloha. Shortly after his retirement, Esera became just the third former NFL player to come out as a gay man. He has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, and the leader of an anti-bullying program called Hate is Wrong.

Also with North Carolina ties

Brooke Simpson of Hollister is the only remaining person with North Carolina ties competing on “The Voice.” Brooke will compete in her Playoff Round on Miley Cyrus’ team on the Tuesday (Nov. 14) show.

Katrina Rose of Durham was eliminated last week during the Knockout Rounds.

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