Madilyn Paige, a high school student from Provo, had an important decision to make on an episode of NBC’s “The Voice” that aired earlier this week.
During the first round of "blind auditions" on "The Voice," all four coaches — Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton — sit with their backs turned to the stage. During the audition, if a coach becomes interested in having that singer join their team, they will hit a button to spin their revolving chair around. However, if multiple coaches express interest in an act, the power rests in the hands of the singer, as the contestant ultimately has the final say in whose team to join.
Shakira and Usher both pressed their buttons for the 16-year-old pop singer during her audition Tuesday night, leaving Paige to decide which coach she wanted as a mentor.
"I think your approach was very smart,” Usher said, referring to Paige's slowed-down rendition of "Titanium" by David Guetta. Usher lobbied for Paige to join his team, mentioning that he has experience working with teenage talent. Usher is widely credited for introducing the world to Justin Bieber in 2009.
Shakira also had good things to say about the performance. "You are so cute and your voice is so beautiful, yet powerful at the same time,” she said as she awaited Paige’s decision.
“This is so hard,” Paige said as she deliberated between the two coaches. In the end, she joined Team Usher, to the dismay of Shakira.
“I fought really hard for Madilyn,” Shakira said, “but Usher played the Bieber card.”
Usher has high hopes for the Utah County native. “She is an incredible voice and I'm looking forward to the world being able to see her unfold,” he said.
Moments later, Usher introduced Paige to his 9.1 million followers on Twitter:
Paige was equally thrilled to be working with the eight-time Grammy winner. She tweeted a photo of herself and Usher:
Paige explained her thought process to the media during a conference call Wednesday. “What actually swayed me between Usher and Shakira was when Usher said that he was going to stick with me, that he was going to be there by my side and help me with my career. That really stuck out to me,” she said. “He also talked about helping me with my performance, and that’s something that I’ve really been wanting to improve on. I think, for those reasons, I went with Usher.”
Paige, who has a history of performing in local competitions, said she is ready to sing on a national stage. “I really think that it’s prepared me for this because I’ve done so many competitions,” she said. “It’s given me a lot of performance experience, and I think that that’s really going to work to my advantage on ‘The Voice.’ ”
Paige said she was discovered by “The Voice” due to her participation in a singing competition called Vocal Sport. “They posted my video on YouTube,” she said. “I guess ‘The Voice’ got a hold of it.”
According to Vocal Sport’s website, casting agents from three national TV talent shows and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have recruited 20 Vocal Sport contestants for special auditions.
“It was really surprising because I have a smaller (YouTube) channel,” Paige said. “It was really sudden. I didn’t think that doing one performance could lead to such a huge opportunity. It was really amazing.”
Season 6 of “The Voice” airs locally on NBC Monday nights from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.