At the start of this season of “The Voice”, Christina Aguilera, who returned to the show after a season off, said she was “hungry to win”. Now as we come upon the season five finale, the singer may just get her wish as the very artist she said those words to during the blind auditions is the very one who has taken her all the way to the finale. 16-year-old Jacquie Lee, from New Jersey, may just be the one to get Aguilera her first win as a coach on “The Voice.”
“She's worked so hard and I want to win this for her,” said Lee, whose spot in the final 3 becomes well-justified after hearing her sing.
Earlier this season, Aguilera told reporters during a press junket for "The Voice" that it was the opportunity to mentor young artists like Jacquie Lee that most inspired her about her position as a coach on.
“It was a cool opportunity for me to actually give back and give my advice, my experience, -- anything I could to encourage others with their dreams.”
It's obvious that encourgment has gone a long way with Lee as she says she has learned a lot from Aguilera this season. “ She is a professional. She looks for that. She makes sure the advice that she is giving you is one of a kind. Preparing with her, she's just a really amazing person. She gives out such positive vibes and she's so supportive. Every piece of advice she gives me is so valuable because she's been through the whole thing.”
Throughout the season, Aguilera has spoken often of how much she relates to Lee. The multiple Grammy winner says coaching young singers on the show takes her back to everything she herself went through as a young artist and is what most strengthens her connection to them.
“I can't help but get very emotionally involved in my contestants. It takes you back because you watch the contestants grow on the show. You see them change. You see them morph. Making it past the blinds is one element, but being in this business is – you know, I've been doing this since I was seven, success when I was a teenager and the whole thing, internationally. And it's a lot. It's a whirlwind. And even as a female - there's no way you can fully be prepared for what's going to come your way,” said Aguilera, who couldn’t have been prepared for the instant mega success she hit at the age of 18 with the release of her self-titled debut album. To date she has sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
“No matter how mature or experienced or grown or old you are in age - it's a process, and it's a great test for what's to come if you get past this show. It's a great training camp. I come from that, too, with The Mickey Mouse Club, et cetera, et cetera. I have that experience, and it took me back to those days. It makes you look inside yourself; how have I grown and how I went through that too,” Aguilera says.
The singer's ability to reflect back on her career has played a significant role in her coaching with Lee, who, hard to believe, was just an infant around the time Aguilera's music career was taking off.
“It's just really cool that I have her as a coach because she's been through what I'm going through now; even if it is in a different way- because all the social media really wasn't around and as heavy as it is now,” Lee said. “She just gives me amazing advice because of it and I feel like the special connection that we have is partly because she knows everything that I'm going through now, and she gets the songs that I want to sing and the artist I could be.”
Helping young talent to grow and develop themselves as music artists is what Aguilera says is what has been most rewarding for her as a coach.
“I try to give it a lot of heart. Coming back into it I just wanted to be here for the beginning of somebody else’s journey. It’s a really, really cool thing,” she said. “To see somebody and to discover people at the beginning of their careers and seeing yourself in them as far as- what can I do to just help them out?”
“I'm just really happy that it worked out. I couldn't think of a more perfect coach,” Lee says, whose performance of Aguilera's “The Voice Within” earned her much praise by her coach. “Music is what I love to do and I just want to become a better artist, and just take in everything Christina is telling me. I just hope that whereever this leads me I'm happy.”
Whether it gets her a victory or not, there is no doubt Aguilera's coaching with Jacquie Lee has been successful.
“The Voice” two-night finale begins at 8 p.m. ET Monday and concludes at 9 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.