Less than a year ago, Adriana Louise was working a waitressing job in New York City and singing into a mirror, unsure of whether she had enough talent to try to pursue a music career. “A lot of my friends are in the business, taking the Broadway path,” explains the 22-year-old vocalist. “And I was struggling with confidence issues, letting time go by.”
A fateful invitation from a pal to accompany her to an open-call audition for Season 3 of The Voice, however, altered the course of Adriana’s future. After a four-chair turnaround for her rock-solid Blind Audition, Adriana made it all the way to a Top 12 finish.
TVLine caught up with Adriana to dish the songs she covered over the course of the season, the hidden talents she never got to share with the Voice audience, and whether or not her mentor Christina Aguilera deserves her diva rep.
TVLINE | You had a lot less experience than many Season 3 contestants, and yet your cover of “Domino” was a highlight of the Blind Audition rounds. How did you stay so cool, calm, and collected?
I know it sounds clichéd, but while I’m not the most outgoing person day-to-day, when I get on the stage, something happens and I’m just on. It was, of course, intimidating knowing that I had way less experience than a lot of people that were on the show, so I just went into it thinking, “I’m just going to have fun and whatever happens, happens.” I just wanted one chair to turn.
TVLINE | The Blind Auditions featured a fairly lengthy segment about how your family had been held hostage and robbed when you were a kid. Was it weird to be introduced to America with that backstory?
It was really, really hard. I had a couple friends and acquaintances that didn’t know that about me, so for them to find out [by watching TV] was also a little awkward. At the same time, though, I thought if [my story] could help a kid who was going through something rough or feeling like they couldn’t overcome an obstacle, it was worth it. I wanted people to know you can’t let a bad incident in your life hold you back. That’s why I agreed to share that story.
TVLINE | Let’s jump ahead to the Knockout Rounds, where you sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone.” What’s it like to have your mentor Christina Aguilera sitting alongside you and singing her face off in rehearsals?
It’s completely surreal. She was like, “Okay, sing it with me,” and I was just like, “I’m singing with Christina freaking Aguilera.” It came out of her mouth so effortlessly, and it was just flawless. I’d been wanting to sing that song forever, and I had a little bit of a breakthrough with it. After that, people saw me as a force to be reckoned with.
TVLINE | Christina’s suggestion for the ending of the song was really cool, the part where you repeated “I’m already, I’m already…”
The cut they had given me was a little repetitive, and I asked her, “Do you have any suggestions of what I could do with this ending?” Christina came up with that melody, and I went, “That is genius. Yes.” It turned out to be my favorite performance of the whole season.
TVLINE | You did two Katy Perry covers and two songs by women that won American Idol during your time on the show. Did you ever think of covering a song that had been originally done by a male artist, just to shake things up a little?
I really wanted to do Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” which I did at my first open-call audition. And I also did “No Me Queda Mas” by Selena, which I love, love, love. Unfortunately, though, they weren’t approved. So I got these songs handed to me, like the Katy Perry songs, and I did what I could with them. I love the songs. I totally have them on my iPod and I listen to them, but in terms of where I see my singing career going, I wouldn’t say they were the best fit. In terms of taking a song and twisting it around, I definitely wanted to do that, but I didn’t get the chance.
TVLINE | For the Live Playoffs round, you did “Firework.” Were you upset that you had the leadoff spot on the telecast?
I was little bummed actually. Yeah. We had our group number, and what people don’t know is, I had four minutes to go all the way backstage into a room, change, and run back to my spot. I had fifteen seconds to catch my breath, so I was literally starting the song already out of breath. That was rough. Plus, the way that song starts, it’s vulnerable and soft, and what also threw me was the audience started clapping completely off rhythm in the pit. I couldn’t hear myself! It’s the funniest thing ever, watching the replay, because the clapping was so off. But I tried my best, man. I tried my best.
TVLINE | Were you surprised to get Christina’s sole save that week and make the Top 12? I think going in, most people expected it to go to De’Borah.
I already had a feeling that Dez [Duron] and Sylvia [Yacoub] were going to be in the Top 2 [on Team Christina] because of their amazing performances, and so I had already foreseen me, De’Borah and Devyn [Deloera] being there in the Bottom 3, and I had packed my bags that morning. I thought Christina was going to save De’Borah. She was a fan favorite. She was different. So my reaction was really, really genuinely shocked. I knew Christina and I had clicked from the very beginning and got along really well. But I was just as shocked as all of America that she didn’t save De’Borah.
TVLINE | While we’re talking about your coach, obviously she’s an incredibly gifted vocalist who’s been a major force in the industry for a long time, and yet with her last two records, it’s been a struggle to get a foothold at radio. Plus, she gets a real drubbing in the tabloids for the way she dresses, for her weight, for being a diva. What’s it like to be so closely involved with Christina while she goes through all that?
Honestly, I was at first a little apprehensive, a little bit worried because, yeah, some people might call her a diva. But she’s been my idol since I was nine years old, and I can tell you genuinely she’s so, so nice and she really took me under her wing. She’s been with all of us [on her team] even when she didn’t need to be. I’ll tell you, she didn’t need to email me back at 3:00 in the morning and talk to me and comfort me, but she did. And the fact that she gets this [diva] reputation is B.S. She’s amazing, and if she wants to be a diva, I think she totally has the right! But yeah, she’s funny, she cracks me up, and she’s really, really down to earth. At the end of the day she’s real, and if you don’t like it, that’s her and there’s nothing she can do about it.
TVLINE | What’s next for you? I would imagine you’re no longer putting music on hold.
This the first time I’ve put myself out there, and it’s amazing that this all happened. I’m excited to work on some new music, and really show another side of me that people may not know. I’ve played mandolin since kindergarten and guitar since high school, and I’m a singer-songwriter, too. What you saw was just a glimmer of it. There’s a lot more to me and I’m excited to show the world what I can do.