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Local student ushered onto “The Voice”

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Monday’s premiere of The Voice unveiled Smithfield High School senior Bria Kelley as one of the eight acts that will be competing for the title of “The Voice” this season.

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Not only did all four judges – Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton – turn their seats around to fight to get her on their respective teams, their standing ovation left no doubt as to what they thought of her performance. Usher summed up his feelings this way, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have just heard ‘The Voice.’”

Although Kelley had originally believed she would choose Adam Levine as her coach, she ultimately went with Usher’s team. Usher approached her with one of his Grammy awards and told her he would like to help her earn one. Kelley told reporters she believed Usher had zeroed in on her performance.

“He seemed really, really interested,” she said. “He was just, like, really into me as a performer. Then the Grammy kind of sold it.”

Kelley told reporter her aim is to just “cut records.” She spoke of tweaking her style to make that happen.

“My biggest influence is ZZ Ward. I kind of want to have an R & B feel, (but) I’m going to try to do something that’s different,” she said.

Previously, Kelley sang country music because she thought that’s what you did when you were from Virginia.

“I feel that where I’m meant to go isn’t country music, but something that’s going to be really, really cool to explore,” she added.

This is not Kelley’s first TV competition. She was also on NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2012.

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