"The Voice" Blind Audition Part 3: Team Cee Lo & Team Blake

By Jamie Ruby

The VoiceThis week NBC's vocal competition, The Voice, moved on to part three of the blind auditions. Cee Lo added three members to his team on Monday: James Massone, Sarah Golden, and Erin Martin. Blake Shelton chose three for his as well: Brian Fuente, Erin Willet, and Jordis Unga.

The new contestants recently discussed their journey with the digital media.

NBC Conference Call
The Voice
Team Cee Lo and Team Blake

Team Cee Lo: James Massone,Sarah Golden, and Erin Martin
Team Blake: Brian Fuente, Erin Willett, and Jordis Unga

February 14, 2012

QUESTION: I have a question for everybody and I wanted to start with Erin. I wanted to know how's the experience of being on the show so far?

Erin WillettERIN WILLETT: I definitely didn't expect as much second guessing - like a lot of - you only see what happens on television and you forget that there's a lot of sitting around and waiting and marinating on your decisions - did I do that right, did I do it wrong? So, I think all that second guessing was something that I wasn't prepared for but then you somehow - some sort of confidence with it all because you realize that you are one of a very few who get to be a part of this awesome show. So, yes, I think that was probably my biggest surprise in coming into the show and, yes.

QUESTION: This is for Jordis primarily but anybody who wants to answer can jump in. What's it like for you to actually see your blind audition on air and see the reaction of the coaches were having to you? What is it like to finally see that other side?

JORDIS UNGA: It was absolutely bizarre, actually. I think everybody would agree with me in that the stress levels during those blind auditions - I was totally zoned out. I don't remember. Wow, I have feedback on my phone. But I don't remember what the judges said to me. So, it was really fun to actually see what happened and the responses were amazing. I don't know - it's overwhelming and exciting and - I mean, I don't really know what else to say beyond that -- incredible.

QUESTION: A lot of you have gained a lot of fans online just overnight from seeing your audition. I mean, James, you got a tweet from Leah Remini from King of Queens. You've gotten a lot of people - I think someone offered to marry you. How does it make you - if each of you all could talk about how it feels to have gained so many new fans and even some celebrity fans?

JAMES MASSONE: Right, it's amazing and, you know what? I didn't even know that. I had no clue who tweeted me. I really didn't notice that.

QUESTION: Leah Remini from King of Queens.

JAMES MASSONE: Leah, oh wow! It's kind of overwhelming. It's a great feeling. I'm getting a lot of love right now and with love, it comes with haters. The love is what I'm really taking in and I'm trying to soak everything in right now and it's kind of like, it's not really real right now to me. I've got to pinch myself a couple of times. But yes, everything's amazing. Everything - all the compliments are amazing. That's about it. That's all I can say about that.

QUESTION: This is for Erin Willett. We really enjoyed how happy your father seemed to be that you'd gotten through this. And then I read that he had passed recently. So, could you tell us when was it that you taped this one and how much after that did your dad pass and how much did this mean to him at the time?

ERIN WILLETT: We actually - am I allowed to say when we filmed this? I don't know - somebody's telling me. Okay. We filmed it in September from what I remember and he passed away in December - on December 19. So, it definitely was - first of all it was just a crazy experience watching him on the T.V. I knew that at the station from knowing that I was going to be off the episode. But it was definitely - it was awesome seeing, you know. And so many conversations happen behind the scenes. It's just like - him just being so proud of me and you know, sometimes as a child you sort of second guess that but especially in a horrible situation like that, you really kind of take in every word he says and then - I just couldn't be more thankful for this opportunity, especially at that time.

And yes, it's kind of weird not having him here now that the show has aired. But it's something that I know I can hold on to forever and I know that he had such an impact on the people around me at the show, the people on the call right now. I remember sitting with Jordis, talking to her and she was sitting there crying with me when everything was going on. And it's just - you realize how much a support everybody is with each other on the show and it's kind of like in a family because you spend so much time with each other. And our family was out there filming with us and so it was really great for him to be a part of the experience. Going with all the cameras and seeing the blind audition as it happened - he was so proud of me and - yes, it's just awesome for him being able to see that.

QUESTION: When you guys are up there and you're singing and the chairs aren't turning and suddenly you look and you see that somebody's chair is turned around, does that change how you guys are performing? I mean, are you aware when the chair turns around and then do you suddenly go, "All right, I'm in. I'm going to give it more?" Or does it alter your performance in any way?

JAMES MASSONE: Yes. Well, I was just kind of going up there and I just kind of wanted to get the performance done. I didn't think in any way that a chair would really turn for me, to be honest. But yes, when the chair turned it - I mean, you kind of notice it with me. I don't think I sang to my best potential once the chairs turned because I was just shocked that they even turned for me. When a face like that turns around and they're watching you sing, it's kind of overwhelming and it's tough to take in.

QUESTION: Yes. For the others, I don't know if anybody else feels like their performance alters once you see somebody looking at you.

SARAH GOLDEN: It is crazy to watch because I really feel like I blacked out for the majority of the audition.

But I remembered feeling kind of calm-ish until starting to sing. And then as soon as the chair turned and I noticed it right away - when I got to the "you and I" part, my voice totally cracked. I was like, "You and I" because I was just like, "Oh my gosh." And it was...like trying to overturn that crazy rush of emotions and say, "Keep it together. You just have like 16 more seconds. Just don't totally ruin the whole end of this." It was definitely overwhelming to say the least, in my opinion or in my case.

Brian FuenteBRIAN FUENTE: When Blake turned around it was like - I almost felt numb. It was just like "Okay, this just happened." I went out there and I - it felt so amazing to be on the stage, first of all, but when that happened it was just like, "Okay, wow! I'm on this show. This is the real deal and this is the coolest feeling I've ever had." And the smile on Blake's face was just - that was just so great. And just cool to be part of the whole experience.

QUESTION: Jordis, this is your second time at this. How did it feel to be on Rock Star and then have the years in between and now get another chance on The Voice?

JORDIS UNGA: I don't even know what to say about it. I mean, it's absolutely incredible. And all those years in between Rock Star and The Voice - there were ups and downs. There were record deals. There weren't. There were poor jobs. You know, it's been such a journey for me to keep doing these for a living and to be able to - not a lot of people get as many chances as I've gotten. And to be in this position again - I'm so thankful and overwhelmed and it means a lot to me to be here and I think it means a lot to people who have followed me throughout the years and, you know, all my successes, all my failures. I'm just holding on tight to this one and take it as far as I can for sure. Yes, that's it. It feels really good to be here.

QUESTION: Jordis, I have a similar question for you though I'm looking for a little bit different answer. Obviously, the singer we saw last night is significantly different than the one we saw on Rock Star. So, can you tell us how you've gotten to this point musically and why we've seen this change? Also, what do you hope to get from this show that maybe you didn't get from that show?

JORDIS UNGA: I was really young when I did Rock Star. I think I was 22. And it's been a lot of years. There's been a lot of growth. There's been a lot of changes. I've experimented with different types of music and different genres, different looks. Everybody's wondering where the dreads are? I haven't had those in years. And yes, I'm different. It was years ago. I don't think the core of what I do as a vocalist has changed. And the beauty about this experience happening for me right now is that I've experimented and done all those things and really my only interest now is to go back to why I started doing music in the first place - singing songs that are meaningful and trying to make people feel, because that's always been my gift as musicians to like really pull at people's heart strings.

And that's what I enjoy about doing what I do, the emotion and everything about that. So, what would I do differently? I really just want to do me right now - that's it. And hopefully I can come out of this with music that my fans can play in their homes, because I haven't gotten there yet. It's ridiculous. So, that's my goal.

QUESTION: Who are your musical influences and what type of artists would you like to become in mainstream music, starting with Sarah?

Sarah GoldenSARAH GOLDEN: My musical influences definitely vary. I know that's very cliché. Everybody's like, "I love everything." I do love everything but I say my strong influences are along the lines of the Indigo Girls - not to be totally typecast into the lesbian card role - but I love Joan Osborne. I love Ani DiFranco. I also like a lot of Texas artists - Terri Hendrix, Trish Murphy. These are all singer/songwriter female acoustic musicians that are just amazing in their own right.

And a lot of folks said I don't think get due credit because unfortunately folk is just not a very popular genre. But it's not that I've chosen to be a folk musician because I know it's not popular. But it's just what comes out and so, in terms of what I'd like to be when I grow up, I'd love to continue being able to do what kind of comes naturally and do the kind of acoustic songwriter/folk thing.


QUESTION: James, I understand your family owns an auto body shop. You mentioned that you work for them - what you do for them? And also you mentioned the guys from Graveside and I was just wondering how you knew them and why you brought them up?

JAMES MASSONE: Well, my father owns a body shop that's been in the business for 60 years now. It's passed down from my grandfather. When I go in there I'm just helping my father and just - whatever he needs done, I do. And it's hard working with my father. He's kind of a tough old guy but I just do bodywork and breathing a lot of dust and it kind of sucks, to be honest. And with the Graveside thing - I've known the guys for a while. We had one live with us, Jason actually lived with us for a while and they were just a big influence on me and I did a lot of music with them. And when they passed, we were kind of lost with the music stuff. So, for me doing this - all this stuff - I'm kind of carrying them along with me and I just want to get their name out more than anything.

QUESTION: Sarah, you're a folk singer and folk is somewhat along the line of country. So, I was just curious as to why you chose Cee Lo instead of Blake?

SARAH GOLDEN: Honestly, it was a very difficult decision and to be frank, there is a duration of the preparation for the blind audition. I kind of had in my mind, dependent upon who turned around, I would go for Adam or Blake. That was my first inclination and I continued saying that throughout the whole thing. But I was kind of reminded when Cee Lo turned around.

I happened upon this show last year on TV. I didn't even know it was on. And I saw the concept and it totally blew me away and I said, "Oh my gosh, this is totally perfect because right along with my life." And I saw Cee Lo and saw, him working with Vikki and I thought, "I bet he'd be pretty crazy." He seems different. I'm kind of different. It just seemed like a - you know, when I saw it a year ago, never thinking I would be on the show, I thought, "I would definitely pick Cee Lo. Like, why would you - that's hands down." But it came down to it and between the two it was a very difficult decision.

I guess my only fear - I think it was two-fold. One would be that Cee Lo is totally [crass] and inappropriate and it went right along with my sarcastic sense of humor. So I just thought we would totally mesh personality-wise. But then the other was - and I don't know that it's an actual factor here but just something that kind of resonated - I think in the back of my mind was that folk is so close to country and they are in the same kind of root but I don't want to be country.

And so, I don't know that Blake would have ever pushed me to be a country artist per se but I think it was just, maybe I can venture out into - I think it would be very comfortable and very easy to pick Blake. I think I wanted the challenge of just stepping out of my comfort zone and saying, "Okay, what can we do with folk, because it's already unpopular as it is. It would really be cool to kind of pop it up," if that makes sense. So, that was a couple of deciding factors for going with Cee Lo.

QUESTION: This question is for Erin Martin. Erin, I actually have a couple of questions for you. I wanted to make sure that you still live in Wicker Park, first of all. And then I wanted to find out how you came to audition for the show and what made you choose Cee Lo?

Erin MartinERIN MARTIN: I do live in Wicker Park. Wicker Park is like the best neighborhood in Chicago for me. There's a lot of musicians and artists - it's a really cool, neat neighborhood.

Also, I auditioned for The Voice because I've been a fan of The Voice ever since it came on television. And the funny thing, my manager (Roger Janson) - I've been with him for a couple of years now, and he's been getting me out there like showcases for different labels, the major ones. And I sort of get - not turned down, but I just get like, "Well, she needs development." And the labels aren't really developing people now. So, they want someone with a huge fan base.

If you audition for The Voice, if you make it, then you'll be in front of millions of people. It's great exposure. And the labels laugh, "No choice but to sign you." And I was like, "Okay. Fine, I'll do it." So, I auditioned and - you know, it's like millions of people at the audition. "There's no chance that I would ever get on this show," kind of thing. That was my mentality going into it. "I'd be lucky if I got on it." And then I get the call-back session and then I got flown out to LA and I was just like, "Wow, okay. So, it's really happening. I could be a part of this show." And then walking on stage, I was having a mini panic attack and thought I was going to die, but I didn't. I survived. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life doing that final audition.

And I'm just so thankful that I did audition and that I even had that opportunity. And I can't think for one second if somebody feels like they want to audition for a show like this and they have second thoughts to throw this away - because you honestly never know what can happen with it.

As far as Cee Lo goes, from the moment that I started watching the show prior to auditioning, I would always say "If I audition - if I were ever on this show - which I should be on this show." You know, just joking with my friends. "I would totally be on Team Cee Lo." And that's just what I talked about the entire audition process.

And when you audition you don't know if chairs are going to turn around or not and it just so happened that Cee Lo turned around and Blake turned around. And I just love Blake. I think he's a fantastic human being. I think he's just hilarious and I'd love to be on his team but he had Denny and Delax last year, who have really quirky, unique vices. And he did really well with those girls. I just didn't want to be stuck in that, "Oh, Blake gets all the quirky unique voices." I wanted Cee Lo to help me with my performance.

The biggest thing for me is, I just love the way that Cee Lo performs. Like, he's either got feathers or spikes or...pyrotechnics. {He's] just crazy on stage and I love that aspect about his performance style. And that's how I want my performances to be. And I'm a girl who came from busking on the streets of Chicago. I still do it. If it weren't snowing outside, I'd be out there right now just because it's fun. And I play open mics in coffee shops and stuff like that. And to go from sitting with a guitar in a coffee shop or on the streets of Chicago to a big stage with just a mic in your hand, it's kind of a scary feeling. Being on The Voice has helped me open myself up a lot as far as performance goes and I just hope that I can continue to grow. And the Cee Lo Team - if he can just help me be fabulous as he is. I mean, I am already. He's got to teach me the way.

QUESTION: My question is actually for Jordis, James and Erin Martin. I was totally entertained by the way you all challenged Adam as to basically why you didn't attract his interest and I'd like to know why that came to you to do that?

JORDIS UNGA: It's pretty funny when I watch it because I'm like, "I can't believe I just said that to him. I was rude. What was I thinking?" But, before I went out there, Carson actually told me that "Maybe I'm Amazed" was one of Adam's favorite songs. So, I was genuinely curious as to what I missed for him. And when Carson told me that, I thought I would have Adam for sure. And then, I don't know, I guess my head swelled a little bit because I got the rest of them. I had to ask him why he didn't turn around. But if that is one of his favorite songs, it really makes sense to me that he would hold it close to his heart and really listen carefully to what I was doing and be critical with that.

So, I can't believe I challenged him on stage but I did. And I'm not sure why but that's my answer.

James MassoneJAMES MASSONE: I don't know. I just like to fool around and Adam didn't turn and I was wondering what happened. What the hell took you so long and why didn't you hit your button? But Adam's a good sport and I kind of wish he did turn for me. I was thinking about going on Adam's team because I know how hard he works with his teammates. But I don't know, that was kind of the spur of the moment and that was really what I was thinking. So I kind of just said it. That's about it. Who's laughing?

ERIN MARTIN: Erin Martin. Sorry.

JAMES MASSONE: Go ahead Erin.

ERIN MARTIN: All right, okay. So first of all, I was up there and I was highly distracted because there was a lot of stuff going on and Cee Lo turned around and by the time they turned around all four chairs were turned around. So, I wasn't sure who had turned around. But the audience cleared that up for me quickly. I knew Christina wouldn't want to be my coach just because I'm so unique. I guess you just listen to my voice and you're like, "What am I going to do with that, it's so weird and so out there." It's just really unique and honestly, Cee Lo turned around and he was like, "I just heard something that was so bizarre and unique and wonderful." It was like, he couldn't wrap his head around it but he was willing to try. And for Adam I think it was just so unique that he just couldn't - you know, like when you hear something that's unlike anything you've ever heard, it's like seeing a new color. So you're just sort of dumbfounded for a second and you're like, "What is that?"

But I just feel like the amount of time that you have to put two and two together, it just wasn't enough time for him to wrap his head around what he was hearing. And I don't think it was bad. I just think it was unique. And I thought he was going to turn around. I thought that all the coaches were going to be open to new horizons and I thought that I had something really cool and different to offer because they were looking for something really cool and different and unique and that is the embodiment of my voice. And he said that he liked it but he just couldn't figure it out. So I was like, "Adam, why didn't you turn around" because I don't know - I like it and people should. That's all.

QUESTION: Jordis, I just want you to know that a lot of fans on my site told me that they still have "Man That Sold The World" on their iPods after all these years. And my question is, what about The Voice made you want to audition for it as compared to maybe The X Factor or even American Idol? It's been six years since you've been on a reality TV. And why did you choose Team Blake?

Jordis UngaJORDIS UNGA: You know, it's funny. People love "Man That Sold The World." I was flying the other day back from Minnesota and a woman sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and showed me her iPod and "Man That Sold The World" was in it. I mean, it's amazing what a vehicle like this can do.

Shoot, I lost my train of thought. What am I talking about here? Why did I choose The Voice? The other shows - I mean, this really wasn't on my radar. It was so - I feel like it was so faith the way that it happened.

I had just gotten released from a record deal and within a few weeks the opportunity to audition came up. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I love this show because what I was doing up until this point, I was in a (unintelligible). Totally had more to do with image than it had to do with music. We were getting songs written for us and labels weren't interested in what we had to say or write or sing. You know, we were given everything. So I was exhausted from that experience. I was exhausted from being in the gym 24 hours a day because that's all they wanted. This show really - I wanted to do it for myself to remind myself that I've been doing this for this long for a reason.

My voice is what has always been the driving force and I really after that experience needed that reminder. And to be honest, I was terrified. I spent a lot of time in LA and I don't care who you are, it can brainwash you a little bit, you know? So when I hit that stage I just wanted to do what was in my heart and it came off really well, I think. I chose Blake because he said everything that I needed to hear and he turned around before I had any breath - before I did anything that I thought would get people to turn around. He heard something genuine in the soft part of my voice. And I really liked that about him.

And I think the base of what I'm doing since - it's my intention to go back to the roots of where I come from and why I love music in the first place. I was raised on - you know, my dad's side it was a lot of Motown, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, that kind of music. And on my mom's side a lot of Peter Barry, Janice Joplin. A lot of music that I gravitate towards is basic country music. And I think that working with Blake could bring out something that maybe would never have even occurred to me. I mean in the moment it was a really easy choice and all of what I'm saying is brilliant in retrospect. Of course that didn't go through my head until later but it's true. So, yes, that's it.

QUESTION: Jordis, I've lived in Minnesota some years and I can't imagine two worlds more different than Minnesota and Polynesia. Have you gotten to go back to your dad's country some times and visited? Are there any parts of his influence that affect you and your music in some way?

JORDIS UNGA: Oh, 100%. I did have an opportunity to go to Tonga with my dad. It was a number of years ago. And as much as I relate to my dad's side of the family, I grew up in Minnesota where the majority - actually all of my mom's side of the family lives - and I think it's equal. In Tonga - and I have to be honest, I'm surprised that I haven't seen more Polynesians on shows like this because musical talent is everywhere. I don't ever remember music not being around when I was a kid. You know, my uncles all play in the band together. Everybody sings. My grandfather passed away and there were 2000 people in the church all singing six part harmony - I mean, incredible. Everybody can sing. Music was just inherent in our lives.

Was there a second part to the question? I forget. Are you from Minnesota?

QUESTION: I lived there for a few years. I live in Michigan now which is the same thing - a lot of snow.

JORDIS UNGA: Oh man. So cold in Minnesota. And it's funny, my dad didn't come to America until he was in his late 20's and in the band that he played with all my uncles, they would do Disney World openings and Sea Worlds. And they were always hopping around doing Polynesian shows and once he hit Minnesota and met my mom, they just sort of planted there. So that's how that happened. But how random, a bunch of Tongans in Minnesota. There's a lot of them too.

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