Sitting through the long pauses and the dramatic thumping music during the results show for NBC’s “The Voice” can make anyone anxious over which performers America chose to move on in the competition and the ones they chose to discard.
For the family members of the contestants, the process is just as intense.
Johnson City resident Misty Pierce and her family know those feelings all too well, as they tune in each week to watch her little brother, Cole Vosbury, perform live on the show.
“We’re on pins and needles,” Pierce said. “I feel nervous inside and I feel anxious for him because, obviously, I want people to love him just as much as I do and as much as my family does, but you’re always on pins and needles wondering how America received it.”
The 22-year-old, bearded, full-time musician from Shreveport, La., broke into the singing competition by pounding out a funky, soulful rendition of the theme song for the hit TV show “The Jeffersons,” titled “Movin’ On Up,” where veteran coach CeeLo Green snatched him up.
During a knockout round against fellow teammate Jonny Gray, Green chose to keep Gray on his team, but Vosbury switched over to country singer Blake Shelton’s team, after Shelton and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine both punched the “steal button” to save the singer in the competition.
Pierce said she knows the decision to pick Shelton over Levine was a tough call for her brother, because while Shelton is someone he looks up to, Levine is someone he looks to for musical inspiration.
“Blake really did say that he wanted to help him figure out the artist that he is,” she said. “Cole loves all kinds of music. He loves country, he loves blues, he loves all of that. (Shelton) is really just laser focused on ... trying to give him the best advice as possible. I think that’s been an invaluable and priceless experience for Cole.”
Growing up with a musically inclined father and grandmother, Pierce said Vosbury started tinkering with music at a very young age.
“Whenever he was just a little baby, he’d be up on the piano or he would be messing around with things musically,” she said. “He actually started playing music about the age of 4 and started out in church. He’s a great singer, but he really is a master musician. He can play ... different instruments. He can compose a full song in the studio ... do all of the recording, everything. His real talent is just very diverse.”
Pierce said when TV shows like “American Idol” and “The X Factor” first came out, she and other family members tried to get Vosbury to try out, but said the singer never felt quite right about auditioning.
When “The Voice” came along, though, she said he really liked the idea of being judged solely on his talent, rather than on his looks.
Watching her brother perform each week, Pierce said she’s seen her shy sibling turn into a confident multi-genre musician.
“I think the first time he realized that he might be able to go all the way –– or at least I could tell in his face and by his reaction –– was the first week that America voted for him,” she said. “I think that was really just, to all of us, a validation and confirmation that he was relevant and that people did love him. Surprisingly enough I think a lot of people see Cole and they think that he’s just going to be a country singer ... but he’s really soulful and he really gravitates a lot to artists like John Mayer and James Morrison and Bruno Mars.”
Belting out a range of songs so far on the show, such as Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl,” Vince Gill’s “I Still Believe in You,” and Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” Pierce said if she had to guess, Vosbury probably favored his performances of Miguel’s “Adorn” and James Morrison’s “Better Man” the most.
She said the James Morrison tune “reminds him of someone special in his life and that’s a song that he’s sung at weddings in our family and it’s just a song that’s dear to his heart.”
While she and her kids, Kelton, 18, and Katlyn, 17, rally for Vosbury with family and friends each week, something she’s gotten a laugh out of is the attention her brother has gotten for his beard.
“I think everybody thinks everybody from Louisiana must have a beard,” Pierce said. “It’s gotten a lot of attention.”
The musician’s beard even has its own Twitter handle, “@Coles_Beard” which currently has more than 1,900 followers.
Not exactly sure how the social media buzz behind her brother’s beard got started, Pierce said it’s been funny to watch the little pranks and references to it on the show.
Now that Vosbury’s made it to the semifinals portion of the competition, she said during Tuesday’s results show she’ll be at a viewing party at Hooters in Johnson City, holding her breath and hoping her little brother moves on to secure a spot in the finals.
“It’s been so wonderful watching him kind of come out of his shell and really start showing the world his real personality,” Pierce said. “I’m overwhelmed with being proud of him and ... that he is going after his dreams. He really is fulfilling his purpose of what, I feel like, he’s been blessed to do. He has such talents and such gifts, so it’s one thing coming from a family’s perspective, to be proud of him. It’s a whole other thing whenever you see America is on that same bandwagon. Being proud of him is an understatement.”
“The Voice” airs tonight at 8 and the results show is Tuesday at 9 p.m.