Adam Levine declares Jackie the winner of last night’s “These Dreams” duet
Pop-country singer, Jackie Verna, a West Chester resident and Great Valley High School alumna, advances further in NBC’s, “The Voice.”
Last night, March 27th, the 23-year-old battled Team Adam vocalist Stephanie Skipper in a duet of “These Dreams” by Heart. While he said that both did “an amazing job,” Adam declared Jackie the winner of last night’s duet, saying she has experienced a lot of growth since joining his team on March 13th.
I spoke with Jackie today, who says she was thrilled to sing with Stephanie… but it was bittersweet when she won.
“Stephanie and I are really good friends,” she says, “so while I’m happy that I get to move forward, it’s unfortunate that she can’t too.”
But Jackie says that being friends really makes the performances ten times better, as they weren’t “stepping on each other’s toes” and they could match and complement each other’s vocal ranges.
“In rehearsal,” she says, “Adam made us do this really awkward exercise where would would stare at each other’s mouths when we sang to harmonize. But it totally worked!”
“Being friends with each other definitely makes the experience better,” she continues. “We’re all like a family and it’s cool that ‘The Voice’ promotes that kind of atmosphere.”
Ninth Time’s the Charm
On March 13th, Jackie’s Blind Audition secured her a spot on Team Adam with her rendition of “Peter Pan,” by Kelsea Ballerini.
During these auditions, the four “Voice” coaches face away from the contestants — only turning around when they want a contestant on their team. Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton had full teams, so that left Adam Levine and Kelly Clarkson to step up. Adam ecstatic that he could have Jackie on his team when Kelly didn’t turn.
“That’s the best country singing I’ve heard,” Adam said, after skipping over to the stage to hug her. “I’ve never been more excited about a one-chair turn in my life!”
For Jackie, this wasn’t the first, second, or even third time that she’s audition to be on “The Voice” — it was her ninth!
“I started auditioning when I was 18, but I never would get invited to LA,” she says. “This year was different though because I finally knew who I was as an artist.”
Dreams Come Into Focus
While Jackie’s first love was music, she started cheerleading when she was seven years old and knew she wanted to cheerlead at the University of Alabama. However, her dreams came to an abrupt halt when, in 2012, Jackie was T-boned by a car that ran a red light. She suffered a head injury that kept her at home for two years taking classes at Penn State Brandywine in energy engineering — and later, nursing, at Penn State Main Campus.
It was in 2012 that her Aunt Marybeth gifted her a keyboard, and she fell in love with music again. In 2016, she picked up the guitar and realized what genre she loved the most — country.
“I loved to play and sing different genres, but it was only two years ago that I finally knew what I liked — I’m a country singer,” she says.
So, despite being rejected from “The Voice” eight other times, those rejections have improved her as an artist every time.
“Dreams don’t always work out on the first try,” Jackie says. “That’s also the fun part, I get to have this journey over years. It’s made me who I am today. Being told ‘no’ has given me more fuel to the fire to keep going and doing what I want to do.”
“Most Likely to Try Out for a Singing Show”
Jackie moved to West Chester when she was 13 from Sicklerville, New Jersey, and later attended Great Valley High School. Her cheerleading squad couldn’t have more accurately depicted where her artistic career would take her — she was voted “most likely to get try out for singing show.”
“And they were right,” she says with a laugh. “All of my friends knew I wanted to sing; I was even singing the National Anthem at all the high school football games. Now I get messages online from people I went to high school with and it’s so cool!”
She’s seen herself grow a lot as a singer, performer, and musician by being on Season 14 of “The Voice,”
Now that the Blind Audition and the Battle Round is done, the Knockout Round is yet to air on NBC. This round is introducing Saves along with the usual Steals. Saves happen when a contestant loses, but the coach still wants them, and Steals happen when you lose a round and another judge can steal you.
The Knockout Round will determine whether or not she moves on to the “Top 12,” which will be broadcasted live. But no matter the outcome, Jackie says it’s been a great experience just to be a part of such a wonderful show.
“It’s such a whirlwind being here,” she says. “When you’re there, it’s so surreal. Everyone always wonders whether or not it’s fake like reality TV, but everyone is so genuine and friendly — I think it’s one of the realest music shows out there.”
Check out NBC’s “The Voice” on Monday and Tuesday nights from 8-10pm.