It’s been an exciting ride for local country artist Ben Allen who is competing in “The Voice” competition on NBC in Los Angeles. Allen recently survived the knockout round and will appear in the live round on Monday, November 30.
It looked like Allen may have reached the end of the road after surviving the knockout round and advancing to the next part of the competition. After delivering a solid performance of Luke Combs’ “She Got the Best of Me,” Allen was knocked out after the trio Worth the Wait impressed the judges with their rendition of the country classic Delta Dawn.
Allen was complemented by Blake Shelton who said, “America is going to fall in love with your voice because it’s truly twangy country.”
“I’m happy to take a compliment from Blake Shelton,” Allen said during an interview from Los Angeles. “He’s probably pretty accurate about the twang,” he said with a hearty laugh. “But the falling in love part remains to be seen. I can only hope for that part. But the twang comes natural, so he’s probably right.”
Allen was originally picked by Shelton to compete on his team. However, when Shelton chose Worth the Wait over Allen, things looked grim for the Estero resident who is a regular performer on Marco Island and Goodland. Allen felt he could have done better.
“I personally was not completely satisfied with my performance of it,” Allen reflected. “I love that song a lot; and it’s not that I felt that I did too poorly. But in hearing it back, I heard a lot of things I could have done better. Whatever it was, it was good enough to get me through. And I’m proud of it. And I’ll take it.”
Allen listened to the comments from Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton and took them to heart.
“You kind of read between the lines in a moment like that,” Allen said, “and you hear them saying that you’re rock steady. They always know what to expect, and they never worry about the performance that I’m going to give. That is wonderful to hear from them; it’s awesome. At the same time, I know you need some wow factor, something that dazzles a little bit. So, the challenge is to be rock steady, to turn in the performance that they expect every time, but also find a way to do something that garners the attention. A singing competition is different than being a radio artist or taking the stage at live shows all the time. You have to be able to dazzle in the moment, in a very short amount of time. So that’s the challenge, learning how to do that every time.”
After Clarkson, Legend and Stefani gave their assessments, Shelton had to pick a winner.
“Honestly, I saw it coming based on the performance that Worth the Wait gave,” Allen admitted. “They turned in a flawless performance that had a lot going on it. There were a lot of elements in that song, the way they sang it, and they had that dazzle factor. So, I felt like they beat me fair and square, in that round, in that moment.”
However, no sooner did Allen begin to thank Shelton for working with him, Stefani chose to exercise her only ’steal’ of the round and stole Allen for her team.
“I was very relieved and surprised when I was stolen,” Allen admitted. “And when it was all said and done, I couldn’t be happier with how it went. I think the dynamic of the steal, as far as the energy of the competition, it shifts a little at this point. Being on Gwen’s team, it feels like it’s exactly where I need to be at this moment.”
Earlier in the competition, Allen was able to return to his home in Estero and actually carry-on with his life at work and at home. Now he’s in Los Angeles for the duration of his stint on the show.
“He’s in LA now, either until the end or when he is sent home,” said Elizabeth Cox of “The Voice.”
Cox sits in on all interviews that Allen participates in to make sure nothing is revealed to the public that “The Voice” doesn’t want to be leaked. Allen said things back home are going fine. However, he also says he may have some extra work around the house when he gets back.
“Things are good,” he said. “My wife Laura is holding down the fort. She’s busy with all the ins and outs of normal life. It’s going to my turn to take the dog out for a long time, let me put it that way,” he said with a laugh.
Going into the live rounds, Allen now works with Stefani’s team. He’s hoping that having worked with both superstars will actually be a benefit to him. After all, Stefani and Shelton are engaged to be married.
“When you go to rehearsal, you’re working with Gwen instead of working with Blake,” Allen said of the obvious difference. “But… other than who you’re being coached by, the process is pretty similar. My hope is that since Blake and Gwen are so heavily tied together with being engaged, I’m hoping that it kind of fits me right in between the two of them as far as fans of the show are concerned. There are people who are very loyal to those particular coaches out there across America who watch this show heavily. So, I’m hoping it ties me to both of those groups. I’m looking at it from that angle. Just like anything, you have to find the positive angle and latch onto it in your mind. It doesn’t benefit anybody to go around being negative.”
Allen and Stefani had to find the right song for the first live round. The choice is vital to Allen’s success.
“You have to pick the song correctly for the moment,” he explained. “That’s a difficult task; it really is. I feel like I have the perfect song for the first live show coming up. Gwen and I were discussing this the other day. She said that her and Blake together have talked about this very thing. She said the first live show is when a lot of people make up their mind about how they feel about how they’re going to vote and who they want to see win the whole thing. I feel like I have my best song and my best performance of the show so far prepared for the live show. I just hope I can deliver it the way that I want to.”
For obvious reasons, Allen is unable to announce what his first live song will be as he stated, “The particular song we have to hold back, but it’s definitely something I’m looking forward to giving.”
Battling nerves is something Allen has to deal with when he stands in front of the celebrity judges—and millions of watchers across the nation. He compared the feeling to playing in a state championship high school football game. “It’s a strong mix, because your nerves will run away with you if you’re not careful. I’ve seen it happen, for sure. At the same time, because there’s extra nerves and extra pressure, you have to put more mental preparation into it to counteract that.
“It takes a certain level of game face to go out and play that state championship high school football game. That takes a different level of preparation than playing that regular Friday night game against the next town over. You’ve gotta be able to face the moment of whatever it is. It’s like every round of the show, ‘Okay, this is the biggest moment of my career.’ Then the next one comes and it’s like, ‘Okay, now this is the biggest moment of my career.’ So, yeah, it’s a challenge.”
Allen is humbled by the amount of support he’s getting from Southwest Florida. “Things are going well. The support level back home has been off the charts. Beyond anything I had any right to think it would be. I knew that people would be in my favor, but this is something people seem to be grabbing ahold of and running with. It’s the end of a really tough year for everybody. It makes it that much more special to me. That I kinda get to be that feel–good moment for our area, for our home. It has been such a tough thing. So, it almost makes it that much sweeter that it’s right this minute.”
Allen wants to let the people back home know what they can do to help his chances of winning the 19th season of “The Voice.”
“Vote!” Allen said. “Absolutely vote. If everybody back in Southwest Florida has that ‘Voice App’ on their phone and are ready to turn in those 10 votes every round, that would be massive for me. So, if they wanna take part and feel like they are contributing, that’s the way to do it. Vote through the app. Everybody will be able to vote at NBC.com, as well.”
Allen wants to emphasize that voting isn’t something you just do once. He also wants everyone to know that there is the possibility of an instant vote that he may need help with. The instant vote has a five-minute window.
“On the 30th, the first live show, the live playoff it’s considered, that’s the big date when the voting begins,” he said. “That’s when I’ll need everyone in Southwest Florida to pull me through. The voting is not a one-time thing—at least we hope it’s not—if I’m fortunate enough to make it through. Make sure to watch the next night. During the results show, there will be an instant vote in the middle of the show. It’s very possible that I could be in the group that needs an instant save. It’s a five-minute vote—on the spot.
“Basically, from this point on, watch the show, enjoy the entertainment of it, and be ready to vote for me every single time,” he laughed. “Normally it’s an overnight vote, and voting starts at 8 PM, Eastern time with the start of the live show. On the 31st, there will be an instant save vote that I may or may not be a part of. I could be already advanced to the next round and standing on the right side of the stage. Or I could already be eliminated and standing on the wrong side of the stage. I could be standing in the middle needing that instant vote. So please, please be ready in case we have to jump on it.”