Story by Jamal Taylor.
Introducing the new Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson: Rachel Kanahele, Halley Crave and Bo Brusco.
These are the new judges for the Last Voice Standing competition.
Halley Crave, a junior studying musical arts, was the runner-up Fall Semester 2015, after she participated in I-Cover during Spring Semester 2015.
Crave said she has been singing as long as she can remember.
“My parents like to joke and say I’ve been singing before I learned to talk,” Crave said.
She said she originally got interested in Last Voice Standing after the New Student Talent Show that took place during her first semester.
“I performed in that, and I loved it,” she said. “Then a judge from Last Voice Standing came up to me and told me I should audition.”
Though she did not audition immediately because of her workload, she said that, after a break from school, she decided she wants to be more involved.
“After I auditioned for The Voice, that’s when I decided I want to do as many of these cool things on campus as I possibly can,” she said.
One thing she said she is looking forward to in this show is the many different themes each week, especially week three.
“The ‘defining your own relationship’ week will be really fun because it isn’t just love songs or the norm,” Crave said. “Almost everyone can take their own little funny approach with it and be super creative. Plus, it’s close to Valentine’s Day, so it’ll be interesting.”
Crave said she is ready to offer any advice she can to the contestants.
“I’m just excited to be on the other side of the curtain and be able to give people feedback, pointers and advice,” Crave said.
Bo Brusco, a junior studying English education, is the only male judge and said he considers himself the least qualified and talented of the judges even though he has already recorded four albums.
“I think I’m a decent singer, but I also write a lot of songs,” Brusco said. “I’m working on my fifth album right now. Almost all of my music can be found on SoundCloud.”
Along with writing music, Brusco has been a drummer for the show numerous times and an actual contestant on the Last Voice Standing. He said the current manager of the show was one of his opponents and chose him to be a judge.
Brusco said they started a band together and will be releasing music in the future.
Brusco said he believes live music is better than recorded music and prefers to listen to live music.
“When I want to listen to my favorite song, I look up the live version on YouTube because I like seeing the performers perform,” he said. “I just think it’s more real and more raw than a studio recording.”
Though he does not believe he is a great singer, he said he gives much respect and admiration to Rachel Kanahele, another judge and a senior studying communication.
Kanahele said she was first introduced to Last Voice Standing when one of her close friends told her she should audition for the show. Though she was not super into it, she tried anyway.
“I’m not really the competitive type,” Kanahele said. “I just like to do music just to do music.”
That semester, she ended up winning the competition. For the finale, she was awarded with the opportunity to sing with a live band and use professional equipment. However, she did not want to use it.
What is considered most contestants’ dream was just a road block for her.
“The band couldn’t really play it right for me, so I just had the instrumental,” Kanahele said.
To make sure she got the sound she wanted, she said she mixed her own tracks together.
“It was my favorite song: Man in the Mirror,” Kanahele said. “A Michael Jackson song has to sound like a Michael Jackson song. Out of respect, I was a little prideful when it came to that.”
Even though the song randomly cut off during her performance, she said she did her best to end it well and won.
Kanahele did not end it there. She became a judge for the show her next three semesters and has a page on Facebook with all her videos and collectively has over 100,000 views.
Kanahele said she has always had a love for music.
“I started out forced to do it because my dad and I were signed (and) contracted with a company,” Kanahele said.
Kanahele said she is most excited to see how each contestant deals with the different challenges.
“I want to be able to feel their passion because I know they have it,” Kanahele said. “Seeing people adjust to different genres and themes will be interesting.”
Kanahele said her advice to aspiring singers is to just do it.
“I always say everyone can always compare you to somebody, but when someone truly has a voice and music in their soul, you can’t compare that to anything,” she said.
Kanahele said she wants others to be passionate about their work.
“Don’t let anyone compare you,” Kanahele said. “Everyone has their own sound, and that’s what I appreciate about music.”