Blake Shelton may often favor country artists among his team selections for his team on NBC’s “The Voice,” but as he likes to point out to contestants, he’s won the show with singers from a variety of musical genres. But on March 5, he took a chance on a performer from an entirely different field during the third night of blind auditions.

Old school jazz singer Austin Giorgio, a 21-year-old native of Rochester, New York, performed an energetic cover, replicating Michael Bublé’s version of the Motown classic, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” originally recorded by Marvin Gaye.

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Even though coaches couldn’t see Austin, he looked dapper in a tuxedo, and made sure to show off his stage presence. He enthusiastically danced across the floor and incorporated some hip thrusts into his performance while demonstrating his smooth vocals on the song lyrics. Blake, who turned his red chair around first, couldn’t help but stand on his feet and sing along. First-time coach Kelly Clarkson also turned around, but waited until the very end of the solo to do so.

“I have that same suit!” Blake praised before getting down to business. “Somebody who’s a crooner standing up on this stage might look down here and go, ‘A country guy? What does he know about what I do?’ I’ll tell you this. One of my favorite vocalists is Michael Bublé, and I’ve seen so much in what he does, and you will FaceTime him and all that stuff.”

“Oh my god! We’re friends, too. I know Michael Bublé too, and will FaceTime him with you!” Kelly then told Austin in hopes of persuading him to join her team. “I love Ella [Fitzgerald,] Rosemary [Clooney] and [Frank] Sinatra. I love all of it. I mean, I don’t know if you know this, but I also won a singing competition. You have to have a little bit of strategy in a competition. You have to showcase a little something different about yourself. So, it would be cool if you chose a contemporary song and made it this style.”

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Despite Kelly’s persuasion and ideas, Austin chose to go with Team Blake. And, even though Blake may seem like an unlikely coach for Austin, he does share ties to the big band and jazz genres. In fact, you might recall that Blake performed a rendition of the jazz standard “Fly Me To The Moon,” as part of a lead-up to the season 14 “The Voice” premiere.

So, how did you like Austin’s performance? Keep up with “The Voice” Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.

Nashville-based writer and Rare Country contributor Melinda Lorge has always been passionate about country music. Follow her @MelindaLorge and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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