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Two BYU grads sing their way onto 'The Voice'

Published April 10, 2013 11:14 am

Television • Ryan Innes, Amy Whitcomb make it out of the blind auditions.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brigham Young University had a big night on NBC's "The Voice" on Monday, as two former Cougars aced their blind auditions and advanced to the next round of the singing competition.

Amy Whitcomb, a Florida native who now makes her home in Provo, was seen in a snippet singing Kelly Clarkson's "Because Of You" and when judge/mentor Adam Levin selected her for his team.

"It's a match made in heaven," she said with a laugh. "I mean, at least I think so. I guess we'll see what he's thinking."

Ryan Innes got a full segment, complete with his backstory. A broken engagement prompted him to give up his plans to become a doctor and try to make a go of it as a singer. His rendition of John Mayer's "Gravity" wowed the judges, who all fought over him until Innes chose to join Usher's team.

Innes seems tailor made for the "The Voice," where judges choose singers while their backs are turned to them. Innes' soulful sound isn't exactly what you'd expect out of a 31-year-old, bald, bearded Mormon.

"I just like to sing and I happen to look this way," he said. "I just have a beard, I just like to eat. I'm just a normal human."

Both Innes and Whitcomb are alumni of BYU's a cappella groups.

"I really got a chance to find a voice that I didn't know I had," Innes said of his time in the all-male Vocal Point.

Whitcomb said BYU's all-female group, Noteworthy, "really did help me find my voice, even though I was singing in a group."

Coincidentally, Whitcomb and Innes also both have performed in Provo's Stadium of Fire show.

"I knew I'd be welcomed and loved" in LaVell Edwards Stadium, Whitcomb said. "When I was facing the backs of those chairs, though, I don't think I've ever felt such terror on stage before."

She said she was hoping Levine would pick her, and when "he turned around eight bars in, I definitely lost my cool there for a second."

"It was like skydiving. It was like the biggest adrenaline rush you've ever felt."

Innes said he had his "freak-out moment" at "The Voice" before he went onstage. "So when I finally took the stage for the blind auditions, I was calm. The nerves kicked in later when the chairs started turning."

"I would say it's easier to play for 40,000 faceless fans [at Stadium of Fire] than it is to play for four huge names in front of you" — judges Levine, Usher, Shakira and Blake Shelton.

This will be Whitcomb's third time on an NBC talent show — she competed on "The Sing-Off" both as a member of Noteworthy and as a member of the group Delilah. And she's hoping for the same kind of support that both she and Innes have found performing in Utah County.

"It's no secret that Mormons really unite behind each other, particularly in the arts, to help promote those that are going for big things," Whitcomb said.

The next round of the competition begins Monday at 7 p.m. on NBC/Channel 5.

When Innes and Whitcomb will appear has not yet been announced.'

spierce@sltrib.com