Newport News native wins first battle on ‘The Voice’

Monday night marked the first set of battles on NBC’s “The Voice,” and Newport News native Jus Jon made Grandpa, er, Blake, proud enough to advance to the next round.

Jon battled teammate Payton Lamar, belting out Sam Smith and Normani’s 2019 single “Dancing with a Stranger” together.

“I gave them this song because it’s a very soulful pop duet, and I do think they both fill the same lane on my team,” Blake Shelton said about the pair.

Shelton brought in country singer Kane Brown as an adviser for his team. Both Shelton and Brown watched as the singers rehearsed in the studio.

“Look what you made me do,” Jon sang. “I’m with somebody new. Ooh, baby, baby, I’m dancing with a stranger.”

For Jon, the song is relatable.

“I definitely can relate to the song a lot because it reminds me of times when you just don’t want to be alone,” he said before introducing his girlfriend of three years, Kiara, to the show’s viewers.

He met her at a gig, he said, before calling her beautiful and a solid support system for him.

“Jus Jon he’s got a very R&B vibrato, which I love,” Brown said to the cameras. “He’s the most unique person on Blake’s team. The song’s hard to sing. The harmonies are super tricky. Payton is a great vocalist. She did a great job on it.”

Brown told the pair not to worry about what people think of their voices.

“You’ve got to do you,” he said. “I got put out on tour with Florida Georgia Line. I’d only done five shows on my own. Like, I had no business being out there. I was worried about what people were thinking.”

He told them not to “overpush” what they can do and have fun with it.

Shelton followed up with some advice for Jon, particularly about his runs.

“In the second verse, it just felt like it went off the melody for a minute,” Shelton said. “It might have been a run gone bad or something. You probably don’t have to dress things up as much as you think you do because you have a very unique tone to your voice.”

Shelton said Jon is a very accurate singer with a lot of range, and Brown compared him to Usher because of his runs.

Jon’s runs are actually what caught the attention of coach Kelly Clarkson during his blind audition, and after their first rehearsal session, Jon put some thought to what Shelton said about them.

“I’m toning it down a lot, you know, gained some control of these runs that you were telling me about and we’re just taking it step by step,” Jon said to Shelton during their check-in.
During the battle, one of his runs impressed both Clarkson and Gwen Stefani.

“That was cool,” Stefani said after hearing it.

Naturally, his performance during the battle earned him both criticism and praise from the other judges, including another comparison to an aforementioned R&B veteran.

“In some ways, you kind of remind me of Usher,” John Legend said. “That’s a high compliment.”

Stefani said his stage presence is “flawless,” and Clarkson said that while Jon was a little nervous in the beginning, he “flourished” the rest of the song.

“Your voice is really cool,” Clarkson told him. “Like, the tone and how open and big it gets. It was nice.”

Shelton also had some feedback for him. He was a little surprised to see Jon’s nervousness, but he did great.

“Great job,” Shelton said. “I’m just a super proud grandpa over here.”

Ultimately, it was Shelton who got the final call, and Lamar was sent home.

“Jus Jon, his tone, his strength and his voice is just undeniable,” Shelton said. “Moving forward, I want to explore that a little bit.”

Upon hearing the news, Jon said the first thing he wanted to do was call the ladies who support him most.

“I want to get on the phone and call my mom, call my girlfriend and just, you know, tell them ‘Hey, I’m here. I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere,’” Jon said “I’m just so excited.”

To find out what happens next, tune in at 8 p.m. tonight.

Publication: The Daily Press / November 10, 2020
Photo Credit: Pexels

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