Larne musician Keith Semple has triumphed against American singer Manny Cabo in the ‘battle’ round of The Voice USA, with ‘Happy’ singer Pharrell Williams comparing him to U2 and The Script.
The pair, who are both in Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s team, put in an outstanding performance of The Who’s song Baba O’Reilly.
Fellow judges Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton were visibly impressed, with Gwen mouthing “Wow” and Blake nodding his head enthusiastically as Keith hit the high notes.
Commenting on the performance, both Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani told Keith, whose partner and young daughter were in the audience, that he should record a music album.
“Those reaching notes, every time I thought he’s not going to do them you did,” Pharrell told Keith.
“You went above and beyond my expectations and you could make an album right now and you would just have that Irish thing like U2 and The Script.”
Backing Keith to win the round, Gwen Stefani added: “Keith, there were moments where my breath was taken away, it was like you were let out of a cage, you need to make a record, you are such a natural star.
“I would have to say Keith.”
Judge Adam Levine acknowledged that both singers had put in exceptional performances, but ultimately decided to put Keith through to the next round of the competition.
“That was like a tennis match, I couldn’t decide who to bounce back and forth between, the presence was that felt on both ends,” he told them.
“The winner of this battle is Keith.”
Keith will now go through to the show’s knockout stage and if successful will take part in the live playoffs and finally, the live performance shows.
The local musician’s fans were quick to praise his success on social medial, with one commenting: “You rocked!!!! Best man won.”
Another stated: “My hands down favorite to win!”
An additional admirer told Keith: “You knocked the ball out of the park in your battle round.
“Leverage your broad musical skills beyond just your voice.
“No other contestants bring the complete package like you do-make sure Adam and the viewers understand that.”