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Four-chair turnaround and flowery responses highlight Emily Keener's debut on NBC's 'The Voice'

By TONY SCHAFFER • Updated Mar 3, 2016 at 8:42 AM

Season X of NBC’s “The Voice” aired the second episode of blind auditions last night as family, friends, and fans of local artist Emily Keener gathered in a crowded bar in Norwalk, Ohio to watch her debut performance. With each passing contestant the bar crowd became more eager to watch what they knew would be a phenomenal Keener performance. Before each commercial break the crowd would erupt in cheers as they saw teaser clips of Emily on the big stage. Anticipation was coming to a climax.

The cheers became ear piercing when Emily finally came on screen, giving the backstory into her personal life and musical journey. The roar was quickly silenced as “shh’s” and “shut ups!” were thrown out to the giddy bar patrons. The young artist spoke of her passion for music and her dream of getting out of her small town and onto bigger and better stages. Then the moment came.

Emily walked gracefully onto the stage and began her unique rendition of the Elton John classic, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. The bar fell silent as Emily’s family and friends watched her deliver the opening lyrics, “…when are you gonna come down? When are you going to land?” The looks on the judge’s faces instantly validated what everyone already knew about Emily Keener- she is special.

Before those first two lines finished Pharrell whispers “wow” and within seconds Blake Shelton hits the button and gives Emily her first chair turn. Before another moment passes Christina Aguilera turned her chair, followed immediately by Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams. Our local child prodigy had the best reaction one can receive on The Voice, a four chair turnaround, before she made it to the chorus! With every turn of a chair the bar filled with cheers and tears.

As Emily finished her amazing performance the audience exploded and roared with appreciation. Those standing in the bar watching with Emily stood stunned as each of the four coaches begged for the opportunity to guide her to victory. Those who have watched Emily grow as an artist since she was 12 years old saw the four coaches gush over Emily’s obvious talents. Each coach spoke of Emily’s unique and powerful voice, saying things like “I’ve never heard a voice like yours”.

Emily stood humbly as each of the judges gave their flowery responses to her performance. She was then faced with the challenge of selecting which of the four to coaches she wanted to guide her through the rest of the show. “This is the hardest decision of my life” Emily said as she looked upon the celebrity coaches. Many folks expected Emily to select Christina Aguilera as her coach (including Aguilera herself) but to the surprise of everyone she selected Pharrell Williams.

Williams had nothing but positive things to say about Emily and her performance, promising not to “change” her but instead focus on helping her leave The Voice better and more refined than she was, regardless of how she fairs for the rest of the show.

The Voice airs Monday’s and Tuesday’s 8/7c on NBC and steams live from NBC’s website.

Those who want to keep up with Emily are encouraged to visit her website, www.emilykeener.com and to follow her on twitter for real-time updates.

Viewing parties will be held locally at the Office Bar. The Norwalk Reflector will be following Emily’s progress every step of the way so be sure to stay tuned for updates and details.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tony Schaffer is an account representative for the Norwalk Reflector and Sandusky Register and an accomplished musician. He will be blogging regularly about Wakeman resident Emily Keener's experience competing on NBC's “The Voice” for the Reflector.

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