Arts & Culture

Iowa native wows judges on 'The Voice'

28-year-old Cali Wilson from Salem, Iowa

NBC.com photo

Salem native Cali Wilson, now living in Nashville, reacts to the positive response she’s receiving during Monday’s blind auditions for “The Voice.” Three coaches all wanted to have her on their team for the NBC-TV vocal competition. The episode ended with a cliffhanger, noting she would name her choice on Tuesday night’s episode. She chose Blake Shelton.
NBC.com photo Salem native Cali Wilson, now living in Nashville, reacts to the positive response she’s receiving during Monday’s blind auditions for “The Voice.” Three coaches all wanted to have her on their team for the NBC-TV vocal competition. The episode ended with a cliffhanger, noting she would name her choice on Tuesday night’s episode. She chose Blake Shelton.

Cali Wilson chose Blake Shelton to be her coach on “The Voice.”

Wilson, 28, a native of Salem, south of Mount Pleasant, wowed the judges on Monday night’s episode of the NBC-TV singing competition.

Participating in the blind auditions, where the coaches don’t see who’s singing, her artistry caught the ears of stars Shelton, Gwen Stefani and John Legend. All three turned their chairs around as she sang the Fleetwood Mac hit “Dreams,” signaling that each one wanted to be her coach.

Kelly Clarkson didn’t hit her button, meaning she couldn’t beg Wilson join her team.

Wilson, who now lives in Nashville, couldn’t hide her smile when Shelton and Legend hit their buttons simultaneously to turn their chairs to see her. Stefani hit her button next.

Legend called her tone “super gorgeous,” adding she has “so much control, and you just sounded so pure and beautiful down there on those low notes, so congratulations. You’re going to be on ‘The Voice,’ and that’s incredible.”

Stefani said she was “getting lost” in Wilson’s sound.

Shelton was shocked to hear she was from Salem, calling the Henry County town “a dot on the map,” noting that he’s been there three or four times.

“I want to celebrate Salem, because that’s crazy,” Shelton said, trying to hush the heckling from the other coaches who didn’t believe he’d been there. Wilson corroborated his story, saying she saw him at a gas station there.

“You grew up there? The only time I expect to run into people from Salem is when I’m in Salem, Iowa,” Shelton said.

“That is to be expected,” Wilson replied.

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The episode ended with a cliffhanger just as she was about to choose which star she wanted to work with going forward on the show. At the top of Tuesday’s episode, she chose Shelton. Legend graciously shook Shelton’s hand, saying “Good job,” as Shelton began chanting “Cali.”

“I didn’t get a chance to tell Cali what a great singer I actually think she is, because I was too busy defending myself,” he said. “The fact that she took that classic Fleetwood Mac song and made it her own — I love her voice.”

“Congratulations. Y’all go celebrate,” Shelton told Wilson and her mom backstage.

Watch Wilson’s journey play out on “The Voice,” airing at 7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Read more about her at https://www.nbc.com/the-voice/credits/credit/season-17/cali-wilson

Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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