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Modesto man named winner of ‘The Voice’ competition at Arden Fair

Sacramento-area hopefuls try out for 'The Voice'

KCRA hosted live auditions for the popular TV show, "The Voice" at Arden Fair mall in Sacramento today.
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KCRA hosted live auditions for the popular TV show, "The Voice" at Arden Fair mall in Sacramento today.

A chance to compete on NBC’s “The Voice” drew 800 people Friday to Arden Fair mall.

The event drew singers from throughout the region. By Friday afternoon, the line of singers waiting to be sorted into one of three judging stations stretched the length of a football field on the second story, then curled back the other way.

Just before 8 p.m., Brandon Davis, 22, of Modesto was named the competition winner. He will be flown to Los Angeles with a guest of his choice, where they’ll attend a taping of show and meet the show’s casting director, said Jill Olsen, promotions manager at KCRA.

“I feel like this is my time to shine,” said Krystal Keller, a Grass Valley mom of three and a stylist, as she waited for her turn to audition. “The worst thing that can happen is that they can say ‘No.’ 

The event, organized by NBC affiliate KCRA, was lightly connected to the hit singing competition. The logo of “The Voice” was blazoned about, but the show’s star-packed judging lineup of Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton was not in attendance. There were no big red buttons and there was no oversized chair to spin around.

What made me really want to do this is my granddaughter wants to be a singer. To get her to do it, I decided to do it.

Gerry Simpson, on why he participated in Friday’s local audition for “The Voice”

Elk Grove resident Gerry Simpson said he didn’t care that the show’s superstar singers were not in the house.

“What made me really want to do this is my granddaughter wants to be a singer. To get her to do it, I decided to do it,” said Simpson, who said he sang off-Broadway in his native New York. To prepare, he posted a video of himself taking on a Stevie Wonder song to his Facebook page.

The singers Friday spanned young and old. Unlike the now-canceled “American Idol,” there is no age limit on “The Voice” and since the show’s judges make their initial selections based on a blind audition, it’s viewed as focused more on talent than style.

The mall’s acoustics, the steady drum of chatter and fans powering vertical signage made for a challenge for all but the most powerful singers.

Benjamin Rivas, who lives in Fair Oaks, got his chance to sing around 2 p.m., five hours after arriving in line. Like many, he left the stage wondering if he had done enough. Rivas, who used to be a frequent performer at Harlow’s Nightclub, said his voice leans toward more subtle jazz and R&B.

Rebecca Peters, who recently announced she’s trying to make a go of it as a full-time artist, also sang for the KCRA judges.

At 5:30 p.m. Friday, the top 20 singers were called back for a chance to sing once more. The judges for the final round were Sacramento singer and former “The Voice” contestant Jeremy Briggs, vocal coach Gail Dobson and KCRA meteorologist Eileen Javora.

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch

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