The knockout rounds of “The Voice” will begin Monday night on NBC with just one local contestant left: Tacoma native Stephanie Anne Johnson.
In an interview Wednesday, the day after she was “saved” from elimination on national television, the cruise ship singer said she had visions of returning to the sea before CeeLo Green threw her a life preserver.
“Being let go by (coach) Christina (Aguilera) I thought it was over,” Johnson said. “I was seeing the ocean in my mind. I’m getting back on a cruise ship. And then CeeLo pushed his button (to claim her for his team). It came as a big relief.”
Johnson advanced to the next phase of the show Tuesday night in the previously recorded broadcast. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Eatonville singer Emily Randolph was ousted from the reality show during the same episode.
Johnson, 29, competed against country singer Olivia Henken, 25, in a duet of The Band Perry’s “Done.” It was Aguilera’s decision to keep Henken and drop Johnson. But pop star Green, who had tried to get Johnson to join his team earlier this season, quickly exercised his option to “steal” Johnson.
After her performance with Henken, Johnson said she is not going to add country to her repertoire anytime soon.
“I really like country music,” she said. “But I tend to like the golden age country music – Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty. My experience with modern country ends with Gretchen Wilson, so I wasn’t quite prepared for The Band Perry.”
After the save, Johnson thanked Green backstage.
“I’m sure I cried on his leather,” Johnson said.
During the broadcast of the previously taped show, Johnson’s grandmother, Freddie Mae Barnett, was seen hugging Green and telling him she could hardly breathe, presumably from excitement. The 79-year-old has developed her own fan base, Johnson said, including the show’s coaches. Aguilera led a “Grandma!” chant during the broadcast.
“My grandmother had never heard of CeeLo Green in her life,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I think she still thinks his name is (pronounced) KeeLo. She told me as I was leaving the house this morning to be nice to Mr. KeeLo.”
Johnson said she didn’t know Green had the option to save her before it happened. Though her head to head with Henken was the final of the battle rounds broadcast, all of the battles are taped as one big mass and edited. Aguilera’s dress never changed during the multiweek run of the battle rounds.
Randolph went up against Brandon Chase, 20, during her battle round, little of which was shown on Tuesday night’s broadcast.
“I wish they had shown the coaches’ comments,” Chase said Wednesday. “It was definitely a tough decision for Blake (Shelton). Emily did an awesome job.”
Randolph said she really had to push herself in the competition.
“I’m not used to being challenged by someone else one on one so it was a completely new experience for me,” she said.
Randolph said she grew as a singer and as a person while on the show.
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she said.
She soon will be working on a new album with original songs. A song she co-wrote will be featured in the 2014 film “Category 5” starring Burt Reynolds and C. Thomas Howell.
Though the coaching sessions and the knockout rounds already have been taped, contestants are not allowed to reveal the outcomes before broadcast. But Johnson did indicate she’s enjoyed working with Green.
“I knew I wanted Christina because she’s an amazing iconic woman in the business,” Johnson said. “But CeeLo Green has the soul on lock and he really lets the artists on his team be who they want to be.”
Last week, another Washingtonian – Austin Jenckes of Duvall – advanced to the show’s next round. He’s competing on Shelton’s team.
In the knockout rounds Monday and Tuesday, the singers will be paired again with another team member but this time at the last minute. Each contestant will perform his or her own song while a competitor watches. Their coach will choose a winner, with the loser sent home.
In the final live performance broadcasts of the competition, which begin Nov. 4, viewers will vote to save their favorite contestants. The two singers with the lowest number of votes will be sent home each week. The winner of “The Voice” will receive a recording contract. “The Voice”
When: 8-10 p.m. Monday; 9-11 p.m. Tuesday
Information: nbc.com/the-voice/Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541 craig.sailor@ thenewstribune.com