By Linda Nguyen
Lorena sophomore Holly Tucker blew away the judges in the battle rounds of NBC’s “The Voice” Monday, beating teammate and roommate Michelle Raitzin for a spot in the next stage of the competition, the knockout performances.
The battle rounds are the second stage of the competition for “The Voice,” following the blind auditions. If Tucker advances past the knockout rounds, she will compete in the final live performances.
Tucker battled Raitzin with country singer Carrie Underwood’s recent single “Blown Away.”
“It was electrifying just because I got up there, and I looked at Michelle and I remember thinking, ‘This is going to be awesome,’” Tucker said.
Tucker and Raitzin impressed judge Blake Shelton so much he asked if he could choose both of them, but he ended up choosing Tucker over Raitzin.
“Blake kind of scared me there,” Tucker said. “Going into it, he had always told me I needed anger and confidence, so going out there, that’s what I did. When he started talking, he started talking about Michelle at first then he switched to me.”
She said when she found out she had won, she looked at Shelton in surprise.
“I thought he was going to pick Michelle,” Tucker said. “I was mentally preparing what I would say if I lost.”
Shelton said during the show that Tucker had a great performance.
“Holly, you set the bar so high so early on,” Shelton said on the show. “You had the challenge of trying to get there again, which sucks, but you did it. You did it even beyond that.”
Tucker said she was touched by Shelton’s remarks.
“That made my heart so happy,” Tucker said. “I felt so blessed and humbled at that moment. I felt like I really did what he asked me to do. That’s all I’ve wanted to do in this competition is learn.”
After Tucker was announced as the winner, she said in her mind, she was thanking God.
“You got me here,” Tucker said. “You got me past this round. I’m going to make you proud.”
Tucker said she prays before every performance.
“It helps calm my nerves,” Tucker said. “God gives me a peace past all understanding. I have to get my nerves under control and praying is the thing that helps me.”
Tucker said praying before this performance especially helped her going into the round.
“He just gave me a sense of peace,” Tucker said. “Even if I lose, it’s going to be OK. I’m not done in music. That’s what allowed me to get on stage and have fun instead of overthinking the whole performance.”
She said, in this case, God gave her the anger Shelton said she needed to make her performance better.
“I started singing and I felt an anger that I’ve never really felt before,” Tucker said. “I think God was giving me that because that’s what I needed for the performance.”
Tucker said she has enjoyed the entire experience competing on “The Voice.” She said preparing for the battle rounds was an interesting experience.
“Blake chose to pair me with Michelle Raitzin, and at first I thought that was a really odd choice because she’s more R&B and pop and soul, but I’m really soul too,” Tucker said. “I think that’s where we really connected because we can both really put out the power.”
Tucker said “Blown Away” was also an interesting choice in song because although it’s not a traditional country song.
“Preparing for that was a really cool experience,” Tucker said. “Meeting Michelle though the process, we became like sisters through the whole thing. We would really respect each other. If we wanted to practice separately, we gave each other space.”
Tucker said they also rehearsed with each other frequently.
“We kind of ended up over-rehearsing,” Tucker said. “Coming on that stage for the performance, we had to bring new energy. The adrenaline of the night helped.”
Tucker is still enrolled at Baylor taking classes part time while she’s competing on “The Voice.”
“I’m only taking two classes,” Tucker said. “Professors are working with me kind of like they work with the athletes, except this is singing. They’re really supportive; Baylor has been really supportive of me. I’ve been able to continue my education and that’s a blessing.”