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Utica Reacts As Shawn ‘Big Sexy’ Smith Loses His Battle Round On ‘The Voice’

photo: Shawn Smith

Most Tuesday nights come and go without a whole lot of anything going on for most people, but pretty much all of Central New York, not to mention the whole nation were glued to their TV sets watching Shawn ‘Big Sexy’ Smith sing Tom Petty’s ‘Refugee’ in the final night of Battle Rounds on NBC’s ‘The Voice’. I don’t have cable and had a sick kid so was forced to follow my bandmate’s action on social media alone.

Status after status rolled in wishing him luck and all evening and then at about 9:06 my phone blows up with expletives from the rest of the band and my Facebook newsfeed reflected why: Utica’s own had fallen to his competition. Luckily one user recorded the action on his phone in front of his TV so I got to see…


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Shawn’s musical delivery has always been spot on and he was the OBVIOUS victor last night, although shockingly robbed of a win that had his name all over it. Of course all of Utica echoes my sentiments, but ‘Hometown Boy’ status aside, his tone was smooth as butter from the second he opened his mouth and he definitely owned that boxing ring of a stage.

Jonny was unique and worthy as well, but I thought Shawn’s interpretation was a better fit for the song and gave Tom Petty’s baby new life in a way I hadn’t heard before. He admits being nervous about the song previously, but that’s just his way and he never let on that he had been struggling with the song once his feet hit that stage, and that’s the hallmark of a true performer. Here’s how both former servicemen felt following their duel…


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Which brings me to my first problem with the show: these battle rounds aren’t really battles at all, but DUETS amongst newly minted friends and they’re pitting an apple against an orange in most cases. Like last night, both men brought it in their own way and it comes down to preference on who the winner is really. Put two of the same together and THEN you have an actual battle. Anyway, I’m gonna stop right there because I can go MUCH further…

It was obvious since the first time I played with Shawn that his voice was something special, even though he STILL doesn’t see himself as a legit musician. Whether he stays in this area playing in Showtime and Poor Tim or splits for so-called bigger and better things, one thing is for sure: he has made personal history and everyone from this area who got to be a fly on the wall as it happened was moved to see one of their own climb higher than any of us could.

The moral of the story, if your bar owner buddy enters you for a national cattle call and you don’t think you’ve got the right stuff, shut up and go anyway. You just never know.


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