Clearwater-raised Juliet Simms fights illness to electrify The Voice with a touch of Southern rock
When I spoke with Clearwater-raised Juliet Simms on her status as a finalist on NBC's hit singing competition The Voice, she said local musicians should take heart because the nation is thirsty for something Florida players have always delivered well: southern rock.
So it makes a certain kind of sense that Simms would play the southern rock card herself in her last chance to perform for the voting public, tearing into an emotional version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird to close Monday's edition of the show.
Fans still have until 10 a.m. today to vote for Simms, who learns if she wins the record deal offered by the show with Universal at 9 tonight in a two-hour live finale. Click here to vote.
Simms admitted struggling with illness over the weekend, and seemed just a shade less intense than viewers have seen in the past. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she couldn't rehearse over the weekend to save her voice, meaning the first time she sang her songs was on Monday's show.
"I must have sang them a billion times in my head,” Simms told the the Hollywood Reporter. “I literally would fall asleep at night with all the songs on repeat. I’m not kidding. I’d fall asleep to them, wake up to them, when I was in the shower, I never stopped listening to these songs. And, I’ve been on The Voice stage so many times now that I feel really comfortable. I feel like I could rehearse in front of these people and the coaches and that audience and I just went in there with that attitude.”
Back to showing off dark hair after spending some time on the show as a blonde, she joined celebrity coach Cee Lo Green for a glammed-up version of Born to Be Wild and serenaded him with a take on his hit Crazy.
The show featured each of four finalists performing a song they chose, performing a hit from their celebrity mentor and dueting with their mentor to fill out a two-hour show.
The man to beat Monday seemed to be Blake Shelton's singer Jermaine Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys. Paul tore through a majestic version of R. Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly to start the show and duetted with Shelton on a fun, funky cover of Sam & Dave's Soul Man.
Unlike rival American Idol, each of the finalists on The Voice have relatively extensive professional performing careers; Simms has had record deals with Sony, RCA and Epic, while another finalist Tony Lucca, was on the Mickey Mouse Club with celebrity judge Christina Aguilera many years ago.
The choice is now out of the celebrity judges hands - Green, Aguilera, Shelton and Adam Levine now get to sit back and let the viewing public choose the ultimate winner.
Regardless of the result, it looks like Simms has made her mark as a powerful performer capable of closing one of the glitziest singing shows on television.