Tacoma’s Vicci Martinez has one more song to deliver before America decides who will become “The Voice.” With the hit show’s final performances at hand tonight, the magnitude of the show’s impact has caught up with her.
“I realized, wow, this is a big deal. It just hit me. I just realized millions of people have watched,” Martinez said in a phone interview Monday.
Martinez said she was operating on two hours of sleep. She had been up until 1:30 a.m. Monday recording the song she’ll perform tonight and then awoke a few hours later for an early morning appearance on “The Today Show.” But even without those obligations, she said she can’t sleep much.
Despite her success so far, Martinez is taking nothing for granted. “I’ve been saying no to fear all along,” she said. “(Now) I’m having to really punch it in the face.”
The four finalists appeared Friday on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” When Leno asked Martinez’s fellow contestant Javier Colon about his children, he admitted, “Their favorite contestant on the show is actually Vicci.”
What millions will see tonight, Martinez says, is the result of months of work with her coach Cee Lo Green and advice from the show’s producers. “Having Cee Lo as my coach made this happen.” She calls Mark Burnett, the show’s creator, a “genius.”
“Absolutely, I’ve kept it real this whole time,” she said. “I don’t tell a lie. I’m not going up there and fake it.”
Martinez said when she was first cast on the show, she was a bit skeptical about the coaching process. “How are they going to do this with me?” she recalls asking herself.
Martinez promises that her fans, both new and old, won’t be disappointed by what they’ll see and hear tonight. “My whole soul is still the same.”
Martinez couldn’t reveal what song she’ll perform, but she said Green is a big fan of the song’s original performer.
One of the things driving Martinez is the memory of her deceased father, who gave up a career in music to raise his family. “I’m feeling how proud he is of me. It makes me want to cry.”
Reed Riley managed Martinez from the time she was 17 until last year. He’s not surprised by America’s love affair with the 26-year-old Stadium High School alum. “It’s like everyone you introduce Vicci to. They fall in love with her.”
Martinez is grateful for the support her new fan base has given her. “The only reason I made it this far is because America believes in me.”
But she’s more thankful for the years of support she’s gotten from her local fan base. “I’m never going to let the Northwest down,” she said.
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541