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Sierra High grad Pavao closer to $100,000 prize
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If Lindsey Pavao wasn’t already a household name, she certainly is now.

On Monday, NBC viewers of “The Voice” were treated to a unique performance by the 2007 Sierra High graduate – a showdown with teammate Lee Koch to Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” to determine who gets to advance in the competition.

And she killed it.

The next time we see her on the show it’ll be live, giving friends and family – as well as fans she has picked up along the way – the chance to play a role in whether she gets a step closer to the $100,000 prize and a record deal with Universal Republic.

Pavao proved her knack for taking interesting music and adding her own unique brand when her blind audition performance of Trey Songz’ “Say Aah” – a slowed down, melodic version – became an Internet hit. More than 1 million people have viewed the video that ended with three coaches vying for her allegiance.

So when she was asked to take a melancholy track penned by inspiration Kurt Cobain – a song with deeply personal and introspective lyrics – it wasn’t going to be much of a reach for the young talent.

But she got some pretty good coaching prior to walking onto the stage and into 5 million American households.

On top of having a Grammy-winning coach in Christina Aguilera, Pavao got an introduction to music royalty when Lionel Richie helped prep her for her upcoming battle – convincing the somewhat shy young talent to let down her guard and develop more of a stage presence to accompany her diverse vocal range.

It worked.

Even though judges Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine said that they liked Koch’s version of the song, country coach Blake Shelton – one of the three that hoped to land her for his roster – said he appreciated her style and selected her before show host Carson Daly brought the decision back to Aguilera for the final word.

I have to say that I was on the edge of my seat.

Prior to this season I had never watched an episode of “The Voice” or the other world-famous singing show that opened the door for competitions like it. I always thought that Idol was pretentious, at times dehumanizing.

But three days before the Super Bowl, a friend from high school posted on Facebook that his cousin was going to be on the show – something that piqued my interest.

It wasn’t until I saw her performance that I was hooked. I was mesmerized by a show that puts all of the emphasis on the voice of the performer and not whether they fit the cookie-cutter mold that the record executives are pushing for.

The storyline was obviously there – a local girl making a big splash on a wildly popular singing show. She made it beyond the initial and then beyond the blind audition. So even if she went home Monday night it was a good run, right?

Not so fast. Koch was good but obviously Aguilera saw something in Pavao that made her valuable.

As a Manteca resident, Sierra High graduate and all-around aficionado of quality music and those that perform it, I’m captivated by the skill that Pavao possesses and how far she might be able to take that now that she’s on the radar of every A&R manager in Hollywood.

We don’t have the waterslide here anymore, so maybe it could be the town that Lindsey Pavao is from?

Time will tell. At least now we have the chance to play a role in determining whether that’s the case or not.

And you better believe my dialing finger is strong.