Monday’s Season 13 premiere of “The Voice” gave us two excellent contestants with North Carolina ties to root for.
Brooke Simpson of Hollister, N.C., nearly started a fight among the singing competition show’s judges: Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson, who joined the show the season.
All four judges turned their chairs for the Native American singer from Halifax County after her cover of Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.”
Shelton turned first, then Cyrus. After a lively exchange between Cyrus and Levine, Simpson picked Cyrus to be her coach and mentor on the show.
Simpson is a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe and lives near Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Esera Tuaolo, a former NFL football defensive tackle who last played for the Carolina Panthers (1999), was also impressive in Monday’s premiere.
Tuaolo, who came out as gay after leaving the NFL, sang “Rise Up,” an Andra Day song.
Judges Blake Shelton and Jennifer Hudson both turned their chairs for Tuaolo, who picked Shelton to be his coach.
During his time in the NFL, Tuaolo, a Hawaii native of Samoan heritage, often sang The National Anthem before games and was known as Mr. Aloha.
We’ll be watching for more North Carolina ties on the show.