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Michelle Brooks-Thompson awaits 'The Voice' verdict

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aaliyah, left, and Aleesia. <br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aaliyah, left, and Aleesia.
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

    THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC) Purchase photo reprints »

  • THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: (l-r) Christina Aguilera, Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

    THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: (l-r) Christina Aguilera, Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC) Purchase photo reprints »

  • THE VOICE -- Season: 3 -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

    THE VOICE -- Season: 3 -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".
    KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aleesia, left, and Aaliyah.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice". She is shown here with her husband, David Thompson, and their four-year-old twins Aaliyah, left, and Aleesia. <br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
  • THE VOICE -- Blind Auditions -- Pictured: (l-r) Christina Aguilera, Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
  • THE VOICE -- Season: 3 -- Pictured: Michelle Brooks Thompson -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
  • Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is on NBC's "The Voice".<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

Excited, stressed, grateful — Michelle Brooks-Thompson of Sunderland is feeling all of those emotions as she competes on the NBC singing competition “The Voice.”

“I’ve done a lot of competitions, but this one is the first one that makes me feel that singing isn’t fun for me, and I don’t like that,” said Brooks-Thompson in a recent interview. “It is stressful ... because you know every time you sing, you’re being judged on every single note.” Still, she is happy to be where she is. “Grateful is an understatement. Excited is an understatement … Everything I’ve been dreaming and praying for is about to open up.”

Brooks-Thompson has moved on to the second phase of the competition — the Battle Rounds — which began this week and will run for two more weeks on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Brooks-Thompson’s segment has not yet aired and she doesn’t know when it will. In that round, she will go head-to-head with another competitor in a duet.

“I’ve never understood how you can compare apples and oranges,” Brooks-Thompson said of her experience. “They’re both fruit, we’re all singers, but how can you say I’m a better pop singer than someone else is a country singer?”

After her televised audition Sept. 25, in which Brooks-Thompson impressed judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, she was flown to Los Angeles to film her Battle Round. In this phase of the competition, contestants on the same team are pitted against one another to sing a duet before their coach — in her case Levine — who will choose one to continue on.

“It’s hard, but that’s what I signed up for,” Brooks-Thompson said.

A graduate of Amherst Regional High School and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Brooks-Thompson is married to the Amherst Regional football coach, David Thompson. The couple has 4-year-old twin daughters, Aaliyah and Aleesia.

Singing competitions aren’t new to Brooks-Thompson. She’s entered local and national competitions including the Valley Idol, which she won in 2010, the World Karaoke Championships, where she placed second, Fox’s “American Idol,” ABC’s “American Karaoke Challenge” and BET’s gospel competition, “Sunday’s Best.”

Her run on “The Voice” is the farthest she’s gotten in a major network competition.

Singing, Brooks-Thompson said, is usually an escape for her, a way to relax. Though she wants to win “The Voice,” she said she is keeping the experience in perspective. “I believe I will get exactly as far as I am meant to in this competition, and whatever else is meant for me will open up as it is supposed to. I’m just walking by faith,” she said.

Walking by faith seems an appropriate route for Brooks-Thompson, who wants to forge a career as a gospel singer. She grew up in a church family — her grandfather was a preacher — and she said she has been surrounded by gospel music all her life. She is a soloist and member of the choir at Holy Trinity Church of God and Christ in Springfield.

Brooks-Thompson said she turned to faith to cope with hardship as a child. Her mother died when she was 13. Shortly after that, she learned the man she thought was her biological father was not.

“It was just blow after blow,” Brooks-Thompson said. She said her faith helped her through that period.

“I had something to believe in and pull strength from. That inspired me day to day and still inspires me to write. That’s why I want to sing gospel,” she said.

Even though “The Voice” is a secular show, Brooks-Thompson said she is gaining the connections she needs to pursue a gospel career.

Since taping the Battle Round of “The Voice,” she has been home with her family in Sunderland working on an album.

“Not knowing how far I’ll get in the competition, I want to have something of me that I can at least give my fans after the show,” she said. She wrote many of the songs on the album, and recorded some of them when she was signed to New Life Records in Boston.

“The majority of my songs talk about life experiences that I’ve been in,” she said. “I don’t want to be a stranger. I want people to be like, ‘I’ve been through that. I know what she’s talking about.’ ”

Sometime within the next two weeks, Brooks-Thompson will get another turn on national television. Following coaching from Adam Levine and celebrity guest Mary J. Blige, she and a fellow singer on Levine’s 16-member team will perform a Battle Round duet. Levine will choose one of them to remain on his team, and the other singer will get sent home — unless he or she is picked up by one of the other three judges.

In the third phase of “The Voice,” the Knockout Round, each singer again competes against a teammate, this time in solo performances, and the coaches again choose who stays and who leaves.

The final round consists of live performances by the top artists on each team, with the television audience voting to determine the winner, who gets a recording contract.

Whether she makes it beyond the Battle Round or not, Brooks-Thompson says this will not be the last the public hears of her.

“As long as I have breath in my body, I will be pursuing my dream,” she said.

Get updates on Brooks-Thompson’s progress by following her on Twitter — @MBThompsonSings.

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