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Judges offer much praise as Emily Keener crushes 'Blind Audition'

By SCOTT SEITZ • Updated Mar 2, 2016 at 11:54 PM

Emily Keener made the entire Firelands area proud Tuesday night with her blazing performance on Season 10 of “The Voice.”

Keener, who sang Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” turned all four chairs of judges Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton.

NOTE: A gallery of pictures of the performance are posted on this website.

All four judges praised the Wakeman girl’s performance during the “Blind Auditions.”

Shelton said Keener had a “completely new sound,” while Williams said Keener used “the entire tapestry of her vocal chords.”

Aguilera called Keener’s voice “so beautifully controlled, true and honest.”

“This is probably the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Keener said while deciding on a coach.

Ultimately, she chose Williams, who she will work with in preparation for the next round.

Keener, now 17, was featured on the cover of the first Discover Norwalk magazine in spring 2015.

She has recorded several EPs and released “East of the Sun” in March 2015, which is a full-length album.

Social media exploded with compliments for Keener shortly after her audition aired at about 9 p.m.

Local musician Tony Schaffer has worked with Keener for the past few years including on “East of the Sun.”

Schaffer had kind words for Keener on Tuesday and wasn’t surprised at all with her success.

“Emily Keener is truly a kind soul. I've never heard her speak ill of anyone and in fact, have only heard her speak kindly of those around her. Artists can be successful regardless of their personality. Some very famous musicians are infamous for being cold, rude, and worse but still maintain their popularity as creative minds. Emily is that rare gem that exudes a genuinely loving heart while simultaneously demonstrating an artistic talent that surpasses people three times her age. As a musician she has stayed focused on her music with the dedication of a monk. Her pure voice and knack for honest lyricism are her ’golden tickets’ but don't be fooled, her skills as an instrumentalist have grown exponentially over the last few years as well. It's rare to see such a complete package,” Schaffer said.

“Most musicians my age scoff at television contests because we were Emily's age when ’American Idol’ first aired. At that time they didn't focus on bands or instrumentalists, they focused on finding the next pop singer. Times have changed and it seems ’The Voice’ focuses on the many facets of being a musician. Emily isn't naturally a ’Christina Aguilera’ but I imagine that she would write circles around artists that only focus on singing. Again, with Emily being a complete package — from great lyricism and singing, to thoughtful song arrangement and instrumental prowess — she has all the skills necessary to win this competition. Throw in the fact that she's also a cool kid with a good heart and you've got a recipe for true success regardless of how she fairs on the show,” he added.

Schaffer said “The Voice” can be the right vehicle to showcase Keener’s ability.

“That being said, this opportunity will put Emily and her talents in front of thousands and thousands of people. She would never have that opportunity if she stayed in Ohio and played the same venues as the rest of us or at least, it would have been a much longer road. I believe that the right people will have their heads turned toward Emily at the right time in her life. She has the potential to reach people of all ages and musical tastes because her musical interests are so broad — she's a fan of virtually all forms of music. If she has any success on the show she will have the opportunity to work with musicians that can help her blossom into a musical powerhouse,” he said.

The “Blind Auditions” continue on NBC on March 7 and 8.

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