Two contestants with Connecticut ties rallied support around the state with impressive performances on NBC’s “The Voice,” but only one will advance to the next round of live competition.
Anita Antoinette, who spent her early years in Jamaica before heading to the U.S. and settling with her family in Boston and later, New Britain, has worked alongside coach Gwen Stefani to grow her talent.
Antoinette’s powerful rendition of “Rude” by Magic won the judges over in the knockout round on Monday night’s episode, despite fierce competition from her rival. Ultimately, Stefani chose Antoinette as the winner of the battle, sending the soulful singer with reggae roots through to the next round.
“Wow! I was not expecting that,” Antoinette gushed after Stefani announced her as the victor. “I am so happy. I’m going to the live playoffs, baby! Yes!”
Antoinette, whose knees buckled in surprise and relief when her name was called, did a victory dance with Pharrell, another coach, after giving Stefani a big hug.
“Anita, you just kept jabbing people with these unexpected, super confident notes,” Pharrell said after Antoinette took the stage.
Stefani, meanwhile, said she wasn’t surprised by Antoinette’s winning performance.
“I knew she was going to kill it because she just has so much personality and so much stage presence,” Stefani explained.
Blessing Offor, another performer who spent time in Connecticut, did not have as much luck this time around.
The Hamden High School graduate, first a member of Pharrell’s team, got a second lease on life last week when he lost that challenge and was scooped up by fellow coach Adam Levine.
Offor, who draws his strength from R&B, took a slightly different route tonight with John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland.”
“There’s just something special about you,” said coach Blake Shelton. “You did a great job up there.”
He not only turned out a solid performance vocally and accompanied himself on keyboard in his signature style, he seemed to have fun on stage and got the audience going.
“One person had to prevail. Blessing didn’t mess up,” Levine said, of what he referred to on Twitter as his “super tough decision.”
Offor took the setback in stride.
“I have learned a lot from Adam and Pharrell,” Offor said. “And I think I’ve grown a ton as a musician.”