Cedarville grad and “The Voice” contestant Brian Johnson describes the past week as a roller coaster.
“It’s just been an insane week, and there was a lot of emotion going into my performance day because there were eight of us that were cut on results day,” Johnson said. “I stood on stage, and I thought I could be in the bottom three, but in that moment I was thinking like, ‘If I go home tonight, I was so proud of what I put on stage, and I was so proud of like the moment that I had, that if I go home, so be it. I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.’ And as I was thinking that, Adam (Levine) called my name.”
Johnson was one of the show’s top 20 contestants when the live rounds began April 6; he performed live before the nation for the first time April 7; and Johnson was chosen in the show’s last second April 8 to join 11 other contestants in the Live Performance Shows, which begin 8 p.m. April 13 on NBC.
His wife, Kellie Johnson, said Johnson making it into the top 12 was unexpected but hoped for.
“It’s honestly very surreal,” said Kellie, also a 2012 Cedarville grad. “I prepared myself for the worst and hoped for the best, and so it was so exciting to see all of his hard work pay off and just to see the grace continue on in this journey.”
And Kellie said her and her husband’s faith has played a large part in Johnson’s journey on “The Voice.” She said, as the show’s progressed, Johnson has begun to see his natural ability to sing as more than a talent.
“It’s amazing to see (Brian) understand that it’s more than a talent, but it’s truly a God-given ability that God has provided for him and that God has created these opportunities,” Kellie said. “Ourhope was just for him to perform in front of the judges, and God just continues to do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine or understand. And the gifts that (God’s) given us as far as the opportunities are honestly just immeasurably more.”
But with new opportunities continually arising, Kellie said it’s been challenging to not know what’s coming next, especially since Johnson has a full-time job in the Cleveland area which he’s had to put on hold during his time in Los Angeles, California, preparing for performances.
“We go week by week not knowing what will happen,” she said. “So this last week it was one of those things where, ‘He could be coming home, or he could be staying out here another week.’ Or with the Blind Auditions, ‘He could begin on this journey or he could be coming home.’”
Yet despite not knowing what’s coming next, Kellie said she has been able to support her husband in person as well as from a distance. Though she has not been able to be with her husband every day, she said she has been able to fly to LA for the days spent filming each round.
“It has a huge impact on our marriage because we’ve realized that we’re stronger than we thought,” she said. “This is a really hard situation to be in, and we’ve only been married for three years. So to think he’s been gone for weeks at a time, it’s given me confidence knowing that I’m able to support him from afar and that we’re strong enough as a couple that distance doesn’t really hurt our relationship. And so for me, it’s just been great to know that while he’s gone, I still have friends and family that are here for me and that we can be apart and be one.”
Johnson said the song coach Adam Levine chose for him to perform live Monday, April 13, ties into Johnson’s relationship with his wife. This year marks three years of marriage and 10 years since the two started dating.
“It kind of ties in with my story, with my wife, and her belief in me and her faith in me,” Johnson said. “I’m just really excited to show that side of my story a little bit more. It’s a huge, huge, huge part of my life, and I’m really excited to kind of share more about that.”
In preparation for the first Live Performance Show, Johnson said he met with guest Reba McEntire and coach Adam Levine to work on his song, but he has also been focusing on resting despite a busy schedule.
“Of course the song is important and giving the best performance that you can, but I think another aspect of that is staying mentally healthy and making sure that you get rest,” Johnson said. “You’ve just got to take time to rest and make sure that you’re mentally focused and resting your voice and all of those different things.”
Johnson and the other 11 contestants will perform live at 8 p.m. on April 13.
“I don’t know if it’s fully hit me that like millions of people are watching him,” Kellie said. “It’s surreal to see him on stage and killing it every single time. It was like it’s something he’s meant to do and was born to do, especially during this last round (the Live Playoffs). He went on stage and just really showed emotion in a way that I’ve never seen him able to do.”
Live Performance Shows
Contestants will perform live at 8 p.m. Mondays, and two people will be sent home after each Tuesday’s one-hour live results show until the winner is chosen the week of May 18.
America’s votes will determine all but one of the contestants moving onto the next week’s Live Performance Show. Voting methods include: texting (Sprint customers only), phone, NBC.com, the official “Voice” app and purchasing the artists’ singles in iTunes. Each person can vote a maximum number of 41 times per email address.
The three contestants with the least amount of votes perform an additional song, and viewers choose the last contestant moving onto the next week by tweeting #VoiceSave and the artist’s first name during the commercial break. If Johnson is in the bottom three, tweet #VoiceSaveBrian to help him move on in the competition.
Follow Brian Johnson on social media @BWJohnsonMusic.
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Anna Dembowski is a junior journalism major and managing editor/arts & entertainment editor for Cedars. She likes nearly anything that is the color purple and enjoys spelling the word “agathokakological.”