The fate of Laurel native Moses Stone on NBC's reality show "The Voice" is now in the hands of audience members, who will vote to see their favorite performers progress in the competition.
After weeks of taped performances, "The Voice" had its first live show Monday night, and with that live show came Stone — who changed his last name from Haughton and is a 2005 Laurel High School graduate — and his medley performance of Kanye West's "Stronger" and "Power."
Stone's performance drew high praise from celebrity coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green, and his own coach, pop musician Christina Aguilera.
"Moses, you make me so excited," Aguilera told Stone on the show. "I love seeing you up there, I do. I think the great thing about you and the type of vocalist that you are, is the fact that for your type of genre, the people on the radio and doing it are all auto-tuned … that was no auto-tune. I heard you … you started it out singing, and you closed it out singing. You're an all-in-one. You do it all."
Stone is the only hip-hop artist in the show's season, and some coaches worried that, while Stone was a good rapper and performer, he wouldn't be a good singer. On the show, Stone said he wanted to prove otherwise, especially after singing — and rapping — the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" last week.
"Now that I've really proved myself in the battle rounds (last week) as far as singing, I'm definitely going to let everyone know everything that I can do," Stone said. "I want to show everyone that I can incorporate everything from dancing to rapping to singing."
On the show, the coaches were impressed.
"I appreciate your stage presence," Cee Lo said. "I think you're a natural on stage. I really like your style. Great job tonight."
Levine, a rock musician and front man for Maroon 5, said on the show that after witnessing Stone sing last week, he would prefer the rapper continue in that direction.
"Personally, I think you have a lot more potential as a singer than a rapper," he said. "You have a grit in your voice that's amazing."
Shelton, a country singer, acknowledged that while he was on the fence about Stone's voice at first, Stone had already grown in his time on the show, under the coaching of Aguilera.
"She's already making a difference with you, Moses," he said. "I can already hear an improvement in your vocals. … Singing is what this show is about, and I don't know much about the rapping part of it, (but) I know you already sound like a better singer to me."
Stone has been rapping since he was 9 years old, and is now living in Los Angeles pursuing a music career.
"Music kept me out of the street life, drugs and violence," Stone said on the show. "It was my vision and my passion."
Voting results will be revealed live tonight on NBC.
To watch clips of Stone's performance, or full episodes of "The Voice," go to nbc.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun