Local fans of NBC’s reality singing competition “The Voice” can tune in tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. to cheer on Astoria resident Katrina Rose as she faces the show’s knockout round. She’ll compete against another contestant, and only one of them will get to continue forward with the show.
Coach Miley Cyrus chose Rose for her team during Rose’s blind audition, in which she sang “Kozmic Blues” by Janis Joplin. The four celebrity coaches — Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton — face away from contestants as they sing during the blind audition so that their decisions are purely based on contestants’ voices. If they’re interested in choosing a contestant for their team, they push a red button to turn their chair around.
But not seeing the coaches’ faces didn’t make the experience any less nerve-wracking, said Rose, a kickboxing instructor and musical theater performer who played Tracy Turnblad in the national tour of “Hairspray” and acted as a standby for the same role on Broadway.
“Even though you’re just seeing the backs of their chairs when you first step out there, you’re like, ‘I know who’s in those chairs,’” she said. “And it goes by in such a flash. I feel like I kind of blacked out for a minute.”
Since the red button sound effects are added in after the fact, Rose didn’t notice right away that Cyrus had pushed her button to turn around.
“I didn’t realize Miley Cyrus had turned around for me until I turned to walk another direction on the stage and all of a sudden I saw the light out of the corner of my eye was like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — I’m on the show,” Rose said.
It was especially cool being on Cyrus’ team, Rose said, because “she’s in a place in her career and her life where she’s just grown so much and she was really starting with her own music to connect back to her roots and strip back down to a more honest place with her music and you could totally feel that in her coaching with us.
“On top of that, to be in an all-girls team and feel the power of that especially in today’s world where women are having a resurgence of owning their own power and making their presence known and making their voices heard, it really struck a chord in me and made me feel like I was exactly where I was supposed to be a right place at the exact right time.”
Next, Rose went head-to-head with another of Cyrus’ contestants, Janice Freeman, in the battle round. All of the coaches sang Rose’s praise after she and Freeman sang “W.O.M.A.N.” by Stevie Nicks and Etta James:
“That was crazy. I feel like these women came up here and just ripped the roof off of the house,” Levine said. “That wasn’t even girl power; that was something above girl power [that] I don’t even understand yet.”
Shelton chimed in, saying, “In 13 seasons of doing this show, I have never seen somebody so wrapped up in the moment as what you displayed for us right then, and because of that, I gotta see some more from Katrina.”
Cyrus named Freeman as the winner of the battle, but not before complimenting both singers: “Both of y’all have just completely blown the roof off,” she said.
Rose got a surprise when she walked down to hug the coaches goodbye: as Jennifer Hudson reached out to hug Rose, she pressed her red button, stealing Rose for her team.
“That was insane,” Rose said of being stolen by Hudson. “I really had had a moment where I’d totally made peace with the fact that I was finishing my time on ‘The Voice.’ … That look of totally astonishment [when Hudson stole me] was 100 percent genuine. I didn’t expect it at all. I just felt so much support and love in that moment.”
During the knockout round this week, she’s facing off against Chris Weaver, also on Hudson’s team, who is singing “I Put a Spell on You.” Rose, who has lived in Queens for 10 years — in Jackson Heights, Woodside and Sunnyside, in addition to Astoria — was able to choose her own song for this round: “Zombie” by The Cranberries.
“I wanted to show [the coaches] growth, and I wanted them to see the different layers of my voice. And so I picked a song that meant a lot to me, but I also wanted to kind of turn it on its head and give it my own Katrina spin.”
So far, she’s gotten to work with not only the coaches, but also Billy Ray Cyrus (who told Rose to “Live your life like there is no box”) and Kelly Clarkson (whom Rose called a “cool chick”).
“Walking in and seeing Kelly Clarkson, I nearly peed myself. I’m fairly certain I said that out loud, so it will be hilarious to see if that airs,” she said, laughing.
Rose said that people from all over the world, from Chile to Armenia, have been connecting with her on social media, watching her performances on YouTube and buying her music on iTunes.
“Music is the universal connector,” she said. “It spans over cultures, over ethnicities, over economic background. All people from everywhere, no matter where they are in their life, can connect with the same exact song in a way that’s so amazing. To actually see that and to be on the other end of that is very overwhelming and extremely humbling.”
No matter what happens in the knockout round, music will always be a part of Rose’s life, and she’s grateful for the people she’s met, she said.
“This continues to be an amazing platform and certainly has connected me with people that I otherwise may have never connected with,” she said. “These people have affected me in a way that I don’t think they even understand.
“And that’s sort of the beautiful thing about life, is how unexpected connections like this can totally throw you into a new chapter in your life and, for me, rejuvenate things that I’d thought were long gone for me. I didn’t know that music was still an option as a career and now this has definitely [reignited] the flame in me.”