PRINCETON — A Princeton teen hit all the right notes when she sang for the coaches of NBC's hit show 'The Voice' on Snapchat Sunday morning.
Eighteen-year-old Je'Dah Palmer, a Bluefield State College student studying psychology and singing in the Princeton-based funk band The Change, had previously hinted that there were big things happening behind the scenes in her life, but she managed to keep the secret that she was hoping might land her on the international broadcast talent search with a chance at a career in the spotlight.
This weekend, she embarked on just that adventure. Amid a series of other talented performers who submitted their videotaped snippets for the coaches' review, Palmer sang for a spot on superstar Alicia Keys' team.
Palmer finally got to clue her community in to the excitement she has been experiencing for a while on Saturday evening, when she posted a Snapchat code that would allow her friends and family to scan the code and track her progress early Sunday morning. Her performance began airing at 6 a.m. and was slated to remain available for viewing through Tuesday, but Palmer said she was attempting to find a way to capture it on Youtube.com, so it could be available via another venue longer.
When she posted the Snapchat code Saturday evening, even Palmer didn't know the outcome of the first-round review before the judges, so while she was cautiously optimistic, she didn't want to let her hopes rise too high, for fear of disappointment.
Sunday, once she knew Keys had chosen her for her initial talent team, it was easier to answer questions and explain a bit about "The Voice" on Snapchat process.
"So, there were auditions [at first]. You sent in a video and wished for the best," she said. "I sent it in not thinking twice about it, because I never get things like this. But, a few days later, I got an email asking for another video ... then a month later, they told me they wanted me! It was so crazy, and I never expected it."
Selecting a song to perform took some careful consideration. At first, Palmer submitted performances of "Ever Be" by Bethel Music and "Broken Halos," originally performed by Chris Stapleton, but the producers of "The Voice" asked her for one more video to make sure her performance fit perfectly, and she submitted a soulful rendition of West Virginia native Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine..."
To describe herself, Palmer said she loved music and spreading kindness, and in introducing her video, she declared, "If you have enough fight in you, you're going to make it where you want to be."
Remarking on the strong attitude, coach Kelly Clarkson commented that she was "a little young for that kind of mentality," but as Palmer started singing, Clarkson said she loved the song
Although her competition round was set to determine the members of Keys' team, all of the coaches had positive things to say about Palmer.
Other performers in the round included Sayaka, 18, who is half Japanese and half Italian, so she speaks three languages; Shawn, a 21-year-old from Spokane, Wash., who won points from Blake Shelton because he also played a couple of instruments; and Lilly, a 16-year-old from Georgia, who works at a frozen yogurt stand and loved travel and singing.
All of the coaches had positive things to say about Palmer.
"I like her," Shelton said. "You can tell she's got some good runs. They were accurate."
Coach Adam Levine agreed.
"Tone-wise, she was the best," he said.
After hearing all four vocalists, Keys said she had a difficult choice.
She picked out positive attributes from all four of her performers, concluding with, "Je'dah has a beautiful voice as well."
For her team members, she chose Sayaka and Je'Dah.
The Snapchat video then cut to reactions from both young women, showing Palmer curled in a dark bedroom since the news arrived before daylight on the East Coast, as her mom told her she had been selected for Keys' team.
Palmer said she's elated to continue in the next Snapchat battle rounds on "The Voice." She doesn't know how soon she'll be able to update the community on her progress.
"I will have everything posted on my social media @jedahpalmer, giving updates very frequently!" she said.
Performing is nothing new for the young woman who has been touring the East Coast with the funk band known as The Change for the last few years, but being in the spotlight without her band mates is unique.
"It's different, very different," Palmer said Sunday. "But, I also don't feel alone. They've been with me every step of the way, supporting me."
In addition to thanking her friends and family for their support, Palmer had one more offering to make.
"I would just like to thank God for giving me the gift of music," she said. "He's blessed me with such an amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful."
— Contact Tammie Toler at email@example.com