‘The Voice’: Why Bria Kelly Picked Usher

Usher called 17-year-old Bria Kelly “The Voice” on Monday night’s episode of the NBC singing competition. But, it wasn’t just his words that helped the R&B star get the blues-influenced teen on his team.

Originally, Bria was going to sign up for Adam Levine’s team, until the coaches turned their attention toward each other.

“When I was on stage like, I was just thinking to myself… even when I was performing the song I was like, ‘I’m gonna go with Adam. Like definitely,’” Bria told reporters on a conference call Tuesday morning. “And I was so happy when he turned around and then once everybody started talking – Shakira, Adam and Blake, they were all like bickering with each other and everything and doing like their normal thing and Usher was just like completely stone-faced, like concentrated on me on stage.”

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Bria said Usher’s laser focus helped woo her over to his side. And the prop he brought out on her audition night helped too.

“He seemed, really, really, really interested,” she continued. “He was just like really into me like as a performer and then that Grammy kind of sold it after that. It was like the things he said. … I remember him staying while I was on stage, he was like, ‘I’m gonna focus all of my attention where it needs to be — on you,’ and he like pointed to the other coaches and he was like, ‘Not on them — on you.’ And so that’s like what kind of sold me.”

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Later in the call, when AccessHollywood.com asked if some of the stunts the coaches pulled – like when Usher showed his abs, or when Shakira touted her Twitter fan base (she has 24 million followers) – had an effect, fellow contestant Kristen Merlin said it really came down to a connection.

“You think about it for sure and in this kind of competition it’s a huge thing for social media to play a big part in it and my mind was originally thinking Adam,” Kristen said. “It came down to sincerity and when you listen to the things each coach had to say… it’s kind of spiritual, you almost just feel it. And so last minute, as it’s coming out of my mouth, which was a shock to me as I’m saying… ‘Team Shakira’… But again, it’s just something in the moment. You don’t really think about it. You do listen to everything they say, you read through what you think is legit and what you don’t. But in the end, it’s was just kind of like a gut feeling.”

“The Voice” continues tonight at 8/7c on NBC.

-- Jolie Lash

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