Sixteen-year-old Lauryn Judd of Draper said when she listens to her blind audition on NBC’s “The Voice,” she can hear her reaction to when the coaches turned their chairs.
“If you listen close enough, you can hear me smile,” said Lauryn, who sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” in an interview with the Deseret News. “I am surprised that I did not lose it. I was shocked and so happy.“.
Lauryn is one of two Utah teens who are headed to the battle rounds on season 12 of “The Voice,” which will start airing Monday, March 20. Aaliyah Rose, 14, of Provo, is on Gwen Stefani’s team.
On “The Voice,” four coaches, Alicia Keys, Stefani, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, build teams of 12 through blind auditions. In the battle rounds, the coaches pair the singers on their teams for dueling duets and then choose a winner.
In the knockout round, the singers are again paired with another from their team. This time, they sing different songs as the coaches pick battle winners to take to the live shows.
In both rounds, coaches can steal singers who didn’t win the round.
When Aaliyah heard that the minimum age on “The Voice” had been lowered to 13 this year, she jumped at the chance to audition.
"I’ve always wanted to be on 'The Voice,'" said Aaliyah, who has her own YouTube channel and describes her musical style as pop R&B — taking pop songs and adding her own twist to it.
“When I was onstage, I was in the moment, so I was closing my eyes,” Aaliyah said, adding that she didn’t hear Stefani turn her chair. “Right when I opened my eyes I barely saw her turn around.
“In my head, I wanted to jump up and down,” she said. “It was just too crazy.”
She hopes to learn from Stefani how to be herself.
“She’s just so unique and she’s so experienced in a lot of different genres of music,” said Aaliyah, who sang “Rise Up” during the blind auditions. “She started when she was young, too, so she can really relate to me, too.”
Lauryn was about halfway through “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and none of the four coaches had turned around.
“I did not think I was going to get a chair turn,” she said. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to sing your heart out.’”
Three of the four coaches — Keys, Stefani and Shelton — turned before the end of the song and then tried to convince her to be on their team.
Standing on the stage and having to make a choice among three coaches was tough, Lauryn said.
“It’s really hard when you are up there to decide,” said Lauryn, who "went with her gut" in picking Keys to be her coach.
“She’s a super genuine person. She’s a songwriter,” said Lauryn, who has been working on writing songs as she takes pop songs and adds a jazzy or soulful twist to them. She hopes Keys will help her by introducing her to new music and getting her to her next step as an artist.
“When she sings, you can hear the feelings and I hope she can help me bring that out,” said Lauryn, who is a junior in high school and sings with her school and community choirs. She has lds.org listed on her Twitter profile and is part of her seminary council and the Laurel class presidency in her ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As they head to the battle rounds, both teens pointed to how they are some of the youngest singers on the show but are excited for the opportunity.
“My biggest challenge would be keeping my nerves down and being able to be really confident and showing my personality and going for it,” Aaliyah said.
Lauryn said in the battle rounds she wants to do well in the duet but also showcase what makes her unique.
“Now the coaches will be looking at you and so I have to step up my performance,” she said.
Both said they were grateful for the support they’ve received, including locally, since their auditions.
“The Voice” airs on NBC on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
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