A Southern Indiana man recently earned a spot on Reba McIntyre’s team on the singing competition show “The Voice.”
Jackson Snelling, a 21-year-old from Austin, Indiana, performed Justin Moore’s “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” in a blind audition on the first episode of Season 24 of “The Voice,” which aired on Monday.
Watch his audition in the video below.
During a blind audition on “The Voice,” the judges have their backs turned to the singer until they press a button to indicate that they like the performance, which rotates their chair.
Gwen Stefani was the first to turn around, followed by Reba McIntyre. As Snelling sang, Stefani walked over to stand in front of McIntyre, jokingly covering her up so Snelling wouldn’t see her and pick her as a coach.
“You don’t see anything over there,” joked John Legend.
“You can’t stop me, Lady Gwen!” retorted McIntyre.
According to a press release, Snelling and his brother Dawson, both autistic adoptees whose father died when they were young, “had a unique childhood that presented several challenges.”
“Jackson experienced sensory and behavioral challenges while Dawson struggled with severe cognitive difficulties and didn’t speak until he was 7. Despite these challenges, Jackson and Dawson shared a love of music that brought them closer together and became a way for them to communicate.”
After his audition, Snelling told the judges, “I’m proud to be here and say that I have autism. And being on the spectrum, music has helped me so much.”
Niall Horan explained that he didn’t turn his chair because he “heard a couple of pitchy things,” but he added that he “can’t wait to see this fight” between Stefani and McIntyre, who both wanted Snelling on their team.
“You have a gorgeous tone of voice, and I’m very excited for you,” John Legend told Snelling.
McIntyre told Snelling what artists he grew up listening to, to which he replied, “I grew up listening to you, Miss Reba.”
She responded, “I am just so proud to be in the country music business and proud that you’re representing us.”
Stefani, who is married to Blake Shelton, told Snelling, “What you did so well with your tone and the way you just cradled the lyrics — I mean, you really did touch my heart. But, listen, I know that the queen is gonna come beat me right now,” she said, as McIntyre came over brandishing a fake wand. They continued into more banter; Stefani said that she’d had two country hits, to which McIntyre responded, “I’ve had more than two. Next!”
Ultimately, Snelling chose McIntyre as his coach.
You can follow Snelling’s continuing story on his Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. In a recent post, Snelling said he is “So honored to be on the FIRST EVER TEAM REBA!!! I sure love ya Ms Reba!!! @reba I still can’t believe it!!!!!”
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