ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles North High School alumnus is preparing to perform for his largest TV audience to date Monday and Tuesday.
Jeffery Austin, 24, is one of four finalists on the ninth season of NBC’s “The Voice” singing competition.
The two-part finale begins at 7 p.m. Monday and continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday. By 10 p.m. Tuesday, the winner of the show will be announced and will receive a recording contract.
Austin, whose real last name is McClelland, graduated from St. Charles North in 2009. He auditioned for show producers in January and later did a televised blind audition for the show’s four celebrity judges – Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.
Stefani was the only judge to turn her chair during Austin’s rendition of singer Sam Smith’s song “Lay Me Down” to select Austin to compete on her Season 9 team. This is the first time someone on one of her teams has made it to the finals.
“It’s still hitting me that I’m going to be performing in the finale after beginning my time on this show by auditioning on a whim,” Austin stated Friday in an email. “I’m so grateful to everyone who helped get me here!”
The St. Charles community continues to show support for Austin as he advances through the show.
Several St. Charles students rallied with a #VoiceSaveJeffery hashtag Tuesday when Austin was close to being eliminated. He received enough votes to be declared a finalist in the final seconds of the semifinal results show.
The Blue Goose Market in St. Charles put Austin’s likeness on several of their bakery cakes and are encouraging viewers to vote for him on their social media accounts.
“We’re behind him all the way,” Blue Goose President Paul Lencioni said Friday.
Austin has not been alone on the West Coast, where the show is broadcast. His mom, Michele McClelland, has been shown in the audience several times this season during Jeffery’s performances.
“My family will all be at the finale, and I’m so happy they’ve been able to join me along the way. … I can’t thank my mom enough, especially for sacrificing her time at work and home to be with me every week,” Austin stated in the email.
“It is a wonderful feeling to see your children happy in the pursuit of their dreams,” Michele McClelland stated in an email. “I couldn’t be more proud of Jeffery!”
Haines music teacher Judy Mastalski shared the same sentiment, saying teachers always want their students to succeed in life, follow their dreams and be happy.
Mastalski first asked Austin to join the middle-school choir because of his voice. He continued to perform throughout his years at St. Charles North High School.
“The hometown support from both schools have been incredible, and I can’t thank them enough,” Austin wrote. “Those schools are where I started my musical education and love for singing, so it’s surreal for their support to come full circle.”
What has emerged for Austin over the past six years is a confidence and comfort with expressing his emotions while performing, St. Charles North choral director Dale Morgan stated in an email.
“Whether he is voted the winner or not is immaterial to me because no matter the outcome on ‘The Voice,’ Jeffery Austin is going to have a successful singing career, and anyone who really understands this business knows that!” Morgan wrote. “So, in my view, he has already won.”
As he continues through each round of the competition, Austin wrote he gets more hungry for the next level of competition and he would love to win.
“My life has changed regardless just from being on this show,” Austin wrote. “I know now that being an artist is what I’m meant to do.”
How to vote
St. Charles North High School alumnus Jeffery Austin is one of four finalists competing to win season 9 of NBC’s “The Voice.” The show will air on NBC at 7 p.m. central time Monday and Tuesday.
Viewers can vote for Austin up to 10 times at NBC.com or facebook.com/NBCTheVoice.
During the show, vote for Austin using “The Voice” app available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play store.
After the show, vote for Austin by buying the song he sings Monday on iTunes. Purchases made before or during the show will not count toward the voting total.