Dunedin teen Nathalie Hernandez impresses judges on NBC's The Voice
Within a few bars of her take on Taylor Swift's ballad White Horse Monday, 15-year-old Nathalie Hernandez already had the attention of Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera on NBC's The Voice.
Both judges hit their infamous red buttons to turn around and watch the Dunedin teen, who appeared at the start of the singing competition's final blind auditions episode Monday. Eventually, she also inspired judge Adam Levine to turn around, allowing the young singer to choose between joining teams led by three of the show's four judges.
Hernandez, a junior at Dunedin High School, chose to join the team led by pop diva Aguilera, sold by the star's own words after the performance.
"She said she felt a connection with me when I sing," Hernandez told an interviewer with the show after her audition. "I wanted a coach who would understand me and help and I felt she really got it."
Young as she is, Hernandez has some experience; she was crowned Largo Teen Idol last year, beating out another notable local singer Shannon Magrane, who progressed to the semi-finals of the latest American Idol competition earlier this year. Pinellas County has a knack for producing Voice contestants; during the show's spring cycle, Clearwater rocker Juliet Simms earned second place.
Next week, viewers will watch the singers compete in the show's "battle rounds," as two singers from each team perform a song together and the judge who leads the group must choose who survives and who leaves. This will whittle down the 64 singers to 40; ten on each judge's team.
The show has already set up social media accounts for the competitors: @Nathalie_FLGirl on Twitter and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nathalie-Hernandez on Facebook. Click here to see her personal web site, along with clips of her original songs.
Check out Hernandez's performance below: