Update on The Voice
Local singer Cody Belew charms America, and celebrity judges, from his spot on an NBC talent show.
You might recall the Q&A we published with Cody Belew just a mere seven weeks ago. Beebe native and contestant in the third season of singing competition The Voice, he had just joined Team Cee Lo in the eighth and final round of blind auditions on the show with a remarkable amount of enthusiasm. Since then, he’s come out on top against other contestants in the show’s battle and knockout rounds, and as of last week, he stood as one of eight remaining contestants dwindled down from 64.
At this point in the show, advancement in the competition rides on votes from the show’s viewers, but a little endorsement from the coaches doesn’t hurt. Cody’s Top 10 performance of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” (the most recent episode at time of writing) had all four coaches practically gushing over him. Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and his own coach, Cee Lo Green, all mentioned the joy it brings them to watch him in their feedback after the performance. Cee Lo, in particular, was deeply complimentary — “Certain artists, they influence people to emulate them. But you will be one of those artists that encourages people to be themselves. And that’s very important.”
Blake Shelton was quick to comment on the range of musical genres that Cody has touched on the show, saying, “Is this is same guy who sang ‘Jolene?’” It’s true — Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” is a far cry from Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” or George Michael’s “One More Try,” which Cody also performed on the show, but he lends the same soulful sass to all of his covers, making them his own. If this is a show about vocal versatility, Cody’s proven himself more than capable.
That night, Shelton also pointed to Cody’s roots as a small-town boy from an oft-forgotten state. “Everyone in Arkansas is going, ‘Did we raise him? Did we raise this boy?’” The rest of the country may not expect to see such talent and energy come out of Arkansas, but Cody’s response suggested that we aren’t in the least bit surprised: “They know, they know.”
When asked about this exchange with Shelton in an email last week, Cody admitted he was amused by it. “I used to sing ‘Crazy in Love’ in my set back home! ... To me, every show is the same. I perform the same way on The Voice that I performed at The Afterthought and at Cajun’s.”
So, yes, the rest of the country might be surprised that this fringed and studded leather jacket-clad country boy shimmying across the stage came out of Arkansas, but we’re not. And we’re quick to claim him. Many of Cody’s fans reaching out to show their support are people who remember him from those shows in Little Rock. In a post-show interview with online celebrity interviewers Synergistic Productions, Cody was asked about some of his struggles as an artist and he recounted his career in Little Rock before moving to Nashville a year ago. “It was in Little Rock that I was able to tap into who I am as an artist and feel that audience interaction that I thrive on.”
But what’s next for Cody Belew? By the time this is printed, Cody very well could have not made it to the next round. Or, he might make it one more week, but not to the finale. Then what? “I certainly hope that this continues, that this is only the beginning,” Cody said of the momentum he feels from his time on The Voice. “I feel in my spirit that I’m ready on all levels — all systems are ready for launch. Worst case scenario is that I fade into reality television obscurity like so many that have come before me. But I’ve got all my guns loaded and am ready to hustle as soon as the show is over. You’ve gotta strike while the iron is hot, and it may never be this hot again.”