Saugerties musician Ian Flanigan has progressed through three rounds of The Voice, first wowing judges with his resonant voice as a solo act and then besting other contestants in two duets; now, his advancement on the show will depend on viewer's votes during a live performance.
At 8 p.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 30, remaining contestants on The Voice will compete against each other in teams while viewers use The Voice app, which they can download for free on Google Play or Apple, visit the show's website or use Google Assistant.
Viewers are able to vote up to 10 times using each method, and the two contestants who receive the lowest number of votes will be sent home from the running.
"[Previous rounds have been] real, even though it's pre-recorded, they're all live one-takes," said Flanigan of his previous performances on the show. "Now, they'll be streaming it. Monday, I'll be playing more guitar."
Flanigan, his fiancee Ayla and his daughter Kamea had been living in a motor home while touring when COVID-19 struck the music industry with full force. A talent scout from the show, Flannigan said, approached him while he was performing his last scheduled show in Nashville.
"I feel really lucky to have one of the only gigs going on in America," he said. "We were sitting in a trailer park with eighty bucks at the time and this kind of saved us. I'm incredibly grateful for this experience. with all my touring friends, I know what's going on right now. A lot of people might not come back from this, and this is a really big hit to the entire planet and the arts industry in general."
In his hometown of Saugerties, many locals are bandying their support for the contestant and area legend with road signs, produced by area philanthropist Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors.
"I thought it was a good idea to build enthusiasm throughout our community and to get people more involved with Ian and watching him perform," said Siracusano of the initiative. "He's got the whole community's support.
"To have someone from Saugerties be on national TV, that's something special. When anything like this happens, something like this when someone local, especially this times everybody's thinking about COVID and now it's giving them something different to think about."
On his initial Monday, Oct. 19 appearance, Flanigan won over judge Blake Shelton with a gravelly rendition of the Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather," leading judges to joke that he drank boiling water or gargled glass shards to attain his unique, deep voice.
He bested opponent Aaron Scott, in the four judges' estimation, when both sang "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" by the Creedence Clearwater Revival on Monday, Nov. 16.
"It is competing but honesty you spend so much time with people and you are friends," said Flanigan of the rehearsal process for the round. "We were both very much aware that we can only do our best. at least we're doing the best we can. It kind of helps mitigate that feeling of competition. We wanted to make a version that was so good that people would enjoy listening to it."
In rehearsal sessions, Flanigan said, competitors are separated in a space cut down the middle by a plastic divider to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"I think that we are a really unique season in general because this is the first season that has dealt with COVID," he said. "I've been amazed at how well they keep us see and quaratined at the same time without losing the experience."
Flanigan said he often sings Luke Combs' "Beautiful Crazy," the song he chose to sing in his knockout round against James Pyle on Monday, Nov. 22, to his fiancee Ayla.
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