As Casey Weston sang for her future on national TV on Tuesday night, a crowd of about 30 gathered in the bar of Randy’s Fishmarket to cheer on the local singing sensation.
A recent Gulf Coast High School graduate, Weston is one of 16 finalists for NBC’s “The Voice” -- a new reality talent show out to find the next singing sensation.
Weston’s aunt, Amy Stonner of Bonita Springs, arrived at Randy’s early to get a seat at the bar and cheer on her niece.
“It’s been really exciting to see her grow and develop as a musician,” Stonner said. “I remember once we were on a family cruise trip to Alaska and she hopped on the stage during a talent show and sang ‘The Titanic.’ She was good then.”
Weston, 18, hit the stage at 9:26 p.m. to hoots and hollars from Randy’s patrons and lots of bobbing heads, stomping feet and clapping.
Singing “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall, Weston stirred the audience in Los Angeles but got mixed reviews from the celebrity coaches.
Country star Blake Shelton said he enjoyed the performance so much that he’s going to download the song from iTunes. Christina Aguilera said Weston had a beautiful voice but may have been overshadowed by the background singers and the drummers. Aguilera said she wanted Weston to move out front, ditch the guitar and standout. “I wanted to reach out there and pull that tiger, which I know you have, out of you,” Aguilera said. Cee Lo Green said Weston did well considering she was out of her comfort zone and made a wisecrack about how his team was better.
Adam Levine, Weston’s celebrity coach and the lead singer for Maroon 5, said Weston killed the song.
Weston admitted the uptempo song was a bit out of her comfort zone. She originally wanted to perform the tune as a folk ballad. Levine urged Weston to “come out her shell.”
Levine said he wanted “bam” and “a showstopper.”
“I am use to doing the slow-tempo ballads,” Weston said in the pre-recorded clip before she performed.
“It’s going to be a whole different side of me that I am going to have to show,” Weston added.
Randy’s was decorated with “Vote Casey” notes and banners, and friends handed out flyers telling people how and when to vote for Weston.
T.J. Jones of Bonita Springs has known Weston for several years now and started recording Weston at his studio in Bonita Springs three years ago.
“She sat in my living room and played 11 original songs,” said Jones, who helped Weston connect to larger recording studios to record her CD. “I was astonished at what she was able to do at age 15.”
Finally, Weston’s performance will be available on iTunes for $1.29 and every download will be counted as a vote.
The final 16 will be whittled down to eight, with the fan vote saving one singer from each team and the coaches saving one singer apiece.