Belmont senior and Texas native Jeff Jenkins is excited to sing his way into becoming America’s first “Voice.” After a long audition process, Jenkins will appear in the first round of live performances airing nationally on NBC June 14 with the rest of his teammates.
Hosted by Carson Daly, “The Voice” features four celebrity coaches–Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Blake Shelton–leading their teams in weekly vocal performance contests. Jenkins, a communication studies major and music business minor who has already made it into the show’s Top 16, will compete live on national television Tuesday night with the three other members of Levine’s team and the four members of Cee Lo Green’s team. After the performance America will vote: the contestant with the most number of votes from each team will automatically be safe for the next week; the celebrity coach will then have the opportunity to hand select a second contestant to save from his team.
Although the process has been grueling, Jenkins said he is thankful for his chance to be seen by America, have his talent heard and receive positive response. In fact, the response has been so positive that Entertainment Weekly has already declared Jenkins is the contestant to beat.
“I still don’t realize any of this is real. I’m just Jeff. To have the support in Nashville, where everybody ‘plays and sings’, to have that support – that’s a big deal,” Jenkins said. “This is where I’ve always wanted to be, where I want to be headed and I’m already there.”
The winner of the show will be awarded a $100,000 recording contract with Universal Republic as well as $100,000 cash. If Jenkins wins the “Voice” title, he said he will start a charity to support children with cancer and other illnesses and open a place where “kids can go to just be who they are, normal kids.”
Because his mother lost her battle to cancer last summer, Jenkins has a passion for children with life-threatening diseases. He said he plans to partner that with a scholarship fund to give kids their dreams and send them to college. He hopes to start by funding the schooling and then have it grow into the overall charity.
“The success of my career would lead to the success of the charity. I want to start by giving and then be able to create this in memory of my mom,” Jenkins said.
“Communication studies classes I’ve taken have really helped me to be able to be in front of a camera, to speak like [the producers] want me to speak. That’s legit,” said Jenkins, while grinning. “That has been Belmont. It’s all Belmont.”
Jenkins said he believes “The Voice” satisfies viewers’ want for a fusion of reality television and talent showcases, and he is honored to represent Nashville and Belmont on the show.
“We as Americans want reality. They want people like them. People love that people like me, who don’t have a six-pack, can go out and do that,” he said. Jenkins’ next performance on “The Voice” is scheduled to air live Tues., June 14 on NBC from 8-10 p.m. Central. Nationwide voting will begin at the show’s conclusion, and additional information on voting can be found here.