Louisiana continues to shine on NBC’s “The Voice,” with three of the 12 remaining contestants on Season 8 hailing from a state known for its musical talent.
The reality singing competition series, which progressed to live performances last week at Universal Studios Hollywood, will see Koryn Hawthorne, of Abbeville; Meghan Linsey, of Ponchatoula; and Rob Taylor, of Donaldsonville, take the stage Monday night. Tuesday is results night, when one more singer will be sent home.
Such was the fate of New Orleanian Tonya Boyd-Cannon, who was eliminated in the playoff rounds last week.
“I’ve been a teacher in a classroom, and a teacher in a prison, but now to be a student, it’s amazing,” Boyd-Cannon said while rehearsing with coach Adam Levine. “Adam’s given me the songs to inspire me to be a well-rounded singer.”
She referred to Levine’s choice of Elton John’s poetically rousing “Take Me to the Pilot.”
Boyd-Cannon, who volunteers with the inmate choir at Orleans Parish Prison, said she was a preacher’s kid who grew up singing in the church.
Her inspirational interpretation of the ’70s tune moved the audience to clap along.
“If you’ve never been to a church, that’s what happens,” coach Pharrell Williams said.
Levine, meanwhile, said the Crescent City songstress was the confidence-builder among Team Adam’s members.
“She is unafraid, and she is bold. The No. 1 thing I try to tell everybody on my team — ‘Do what Tonya does’ — because Tonya comes out here every time and thoroughly enjoys herself. Man, Tonya, that was crazy. I loved it!”
Nevertheless, Levine chose to save Cleveland’s Brian Johnson over Boyd-Cannon and Nathan Hermida, of Boston, in order to whittle his team down to three singers.
Over on Team Pharrell, 17-year-old Hawthorne took on a more traditional church hymn favorite, “How Great Thou Art.”
“I feel like I work with a lot of talented people,” Williams told the Abbeville teen, “but you’ve got something that’s different.”
Hawthorne said she inherited her musical talent from her father. Although he wasn’t around much in her early years — he was in prison — Hawthorne said her dad changed his life around and, like Boyd-Cannon’s father, became a minister.
“She doesn’t sound like Beyoncé, but there’s a drive that ‘B’ has that you see in Koryn and that’s rare,” her coach said.
Some of Hawthorne’s family was in the audience, cheering on her emotional performance.
“Welcome to the top 12,” coach Blake Shelton said, praising her great, and young, voice.
Country star Shelton’s glad he was able to steal former country singer Linsey for his team in an earlier round. A few years back, she opened for Shelton on a concert tour, so he was familiar with her booming, now soulful, voice.
Linsey said she moved to Nashville when she was 18 to pursue singing. After some success as part of the duo Steel Magnolia, she’s gone solo, in effect, starting over.
“You sound incredible on this song,” Shelton said. “To show now that you can do whatever you can think of doing, that’s important, sis.”
Also last week, coach Christina Aguilera gave a pep talk to Donaldsonville’s Taylor, who was concerned about some of the comments on social media about him “just being a singer who sings high.”
“You were born with this beautiful talent, exude it,” Aguilera said, as the two ran through Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd’s “Earned It.”
“There’s a light that turns on for Rob when he goes into that falsetto, and I can’t even think of another singer on the show that has that kind of electricity,” Aguilera said.
Taylor ended his powerhouse performance last week by dropping to his knees, bringing the coaches to their feet.
“The audience, they were so with you, and I hope you really listened to this and feel all of this,” Aguilera said.