James Wolpert delivered a rendition of "With or Without You" that coach Adam Levine loved, but did America?
James Wolpert is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself when “The Voice” eliminations are announced Tuesday.
Last week, the singer was saved by Twitter, which has proven to be a bad omen. Every “Voice” artist who has earned a Twitter save so far — Kat Robichaud, Caroline Pennell and Matthew Schuler — has been knocked out of the competition the following week.
“It's like the curse of the Twitter save,” James told TODAY after the Top 5 took the stage for the semifinals Monday. “You're kind of, like, slated for elimination. You get the axe a week later. Who wouldn't be nervous?”
The 22-year-old singer from Pennsylvania isn’t going down without a fight. He performed U2’s “With or Without You” on Monday, almost free of the illness that noticeably impacted him during the quarterfinals.
“It's not off the table. It's still hanging around,” he said of his bug. “But I think I'm at a point where my performances can be a hundred percent, even if I'm not.”
James isn’t using the so-called curse or being sick as excuses. Rather, the brush with elimination energized him further.
“I worked that much harder, regardless of battling illness,” he explained. “I made sure that I was taking care of myself. I took extra care to make sure that my voice was in good condition."
The singer added that he "babied" the song, and felt his performance had to "be true to the original."
“I don't think there was much room for creative freedom or failure,” he said, “but I'm really happy with how it went.”
His coach, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, was also quite pleased with the young man's performance.
Of the five semifinalists still in contention for the prize, three are on Team Adam. And James is feeling good about being in the majority.
“It's impossible for Adam not to be represented in the finale," he said. "That means that I've officially accomplished my goal — my goal is to get Team Adam in the finale. The (ultimate) goal is to win, so I haven't accomplished that yet, but if I end up going home, at least somebody will be there to carry me on in spirit.
“I would be happy at this point to lose to any of these people. They're phenomenal people and performers.”
This time next week, America will be voting for a winner. Just two steps away from potential victory, has James allowed himself to entertain the idea that he could be “The Voice”?
“Nope,” he told us. “I think that victory speech will be completely impromptu. I don't intend to get ahead of myself.”
"The Voice" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
First published December 10 2013, 7:49 AM