Sunderland singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson wows judges on NBC’s ‘The Voice’
SUNDERLAND — Sunderland resident Michelle Brooks-Thompson has passed the blind audition on NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” and will go on to the live battle rounds.
In the show broadcast last week, Brooks-Thompson offered up a rendition of “Proud Mary” that left the judges vying for her to be on their teams. She chose Adam Levine, the lead singer for the band Maroon 5.
Brooks-Thompson, who went to Amherst Regional High School where her husband, David, now serves as football coach, often sang the national anthem at basketball games there. She and her husband have twin 4-year-old daughters, Aaliyah and Aleesia.
Before she finished the first chorus of her televised performance last week, two judges, Levine and singer Cee Lo Green, had indicated they wanted her on their teams by turning their chairs around. In the blind audition format, judges listen to the performers but cannot see them. When they like what they hear, they push a button that causes their chairs to swing around so they can face the singer. A third judge, Christina Aguilera, followed suit, flashing the words “I want you” on her chair.
Brooks-Thompson did not just sing; she stomped, snapped and danced her way through what Green described as a “new” and “fresh” version of the John Fogerty classic.
Levine gave her a standing ovation, saying, “I would be very blessed and very honored to work with you. I think you are incredible.” Aguilera said she was waiting for a flaw that never came. Green called her performance “seamless” and “flawless.”
As the only judge not to turn around, Blake Shelton suggested he was an “idiot” for not doing so.
“My daughters are so excited,” said Brooks-Thompson from her home last week. According to program rules, she is prohibited from talking about the details of the competition. She said the opportunity to audition for “The Voice” came out of nowhere. “I never planned to audition,” she said. “A talent scout in Boston called me about it and it took me a while to say ‘yes.’ ”
Last April, another performer with Valley ties appeared on “The Voice.” Naia Kete, a former Shutesbury resident, made it to one of the live battle round shows before she was voted off.
Brooks-Thompson earned a degree in music from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. After graduating, she began a career in banking but continued to pursue her interest in performing, especially gospel singing. She is a soloist at Sunday services at Holy Trinity Church of God and Christ in Springfield.
She is also a veteran of singing competitions. She won the Valley Idol competition in 2010 and finished second at the World Karaoke Championships in Texas that year. In 2011 she sang the national anthem at a Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game after winning the Boston team’s “Sing Your Way to Fenway” contest, and was a finalist on ABC’s “American Karaoke Challenge” that same summer.
According to Caitlin McGee, a spokeswoman for “The Voice,” Brooks-Thompson will now wait for two more blind auditions to reveal her competition in the battle round.
“The Voice,” hosted by Carson Daly, is beginning its third season. There are four stages of competition: blind auditions, the battle round, a knockout round and finally, live performances.
Brooks-Thompson said she chose to be on Levine’s team because she felt an artistic kinship with him.
“I felt like I’d be able to be myself as an artist with him,” she said.
She said she may have to travel back and forth to California for a while, but doesn’t mind because “The Voice” will bring her family out to see her on occasion.
“It’s hard to be away from them, but they understand and want this for me,” she said. “They’ll be able to look back on this — we all will — and remember a really good time.”
“The Voice” airs Monday nights from 8 to 10 and Tuesday nights from 8 to 9 on NBC.