Jim And Sasha Allen Enter ‘The Voice’ Battle Rounds With Goal To Entertain
After much anticipation, Newtown father son duo Jim and Sasha Allen were featured on The Voice’s battle rounds on the evening of Monday, October 18.
Prior to the performance, they had made it through the blind audition process having performed John Denver’s song, “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Coach Ariana Grande chose them to be on her team for the competition.
After that life-changing day of making it through the first round of The Voice, the two went on to be paired up with fellow Team Ariana contestant Sophia Bromberg to sing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” for the Battle Round.
While Jim was familiar with the tune, Sasha admits that he did not know all the lyrics when they were assigned the song and he had some trepidation.
“I was kind of skeptical we could pull it off, because we had never played that genre of music before… It’s a pick that I would not have predicted [Grande] would give us, but it was definitely the right choice. It was super fun and amazing to work on.”
Jim added, “We enjoyed many days of rehearsing with Sophia Bromberg. It was an absolute joy. Day after day we would meet in various places to go over the song and develop unique things within the arrangement that were super fun, because she’s amazing to sing with.”
Not only was the genre a step out of the Allens’ musical comfort zone, but Sasha also had to push himself vocally. Doing so led to the decision for Sasha not to play an instrument with his father, like he had during the blind auditions.
Sasha explained, “This is the first time I’ve ever sung onstage without playing an instrument, and I wanted to do that to give enough energy. I also did not want to have to worry about playing an instrument, because I wanted to focus on my vocals.”
He continued, “Going into the song, it felt like the key was going to be very high for me, because we were working with Sophia, who sings super, super high notes and we sing a little bit lower. We had to find a balance between us and Sophia on where to sing the song in what key.”
Guest Star Rehearsal
After practicing the song tirelessly and feeling prepared, the three of them rehearsed for Grande and guest mentor Kristin Chenoweth, who is an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer.
“It was really awesome meeting with Ariana and Kristen and getting feedback from them,” Sasha said. We were able to meet with them and went over the song two or three times. They gave us a few small notes. Just their overall feedback and reassurance about how we had arranged the song was helpful going into the battle.”
Jim agreed, adding, “One thing that is great about the show is the artists are free to bring arrangements to their coaching sessions that they have already been developing within the parameters of the length of the song. You have a great deal of freedom to work up ideas and when you sing to your coach; most often it's slight refinements, bringing forth the character of the song, and, equally important, an affirmation of what is working really well within the song.”
Both describe the experience as being extremely fun and that they enjoyed coming up with unique harmonies and ad-libs with Sophia Bromberg.
In addition to practicing constantly, they also utilized the items in Ariana Grande’s vocal health lunch box, which she gave out to each member of her team after the blind auditions as a token of her appreciation.
“I totally used the Ariana lunch box,” Sasha mentioned, before listing that there was everything from tea to organic honey lollipops. “I know that everyone on Team Ariana brought it with them when they went to stage rehearsal or their performances. I flew through it and am out of it.”
High Enthusiasm, High Praise
Ultimately, making those arrangement decisions and keeping themselves vocally healthy proved to be key, because Jim and Sasha won their battle round.
After the performance, coach Blake Shelton commented, “If enthusiasm is what it takes to win The Voice, no one is going to compete with Sasha.”
Similarly, coach Kelly Clarkson had positive words to say, and declared, “Sasha, you are one of my favorite people.”
It was their coach Grande, though, who had the most to profess, saying, “Jim and Sasha, you have a permanent residency in my heart.”
She later told the camera, in a separate interview, that she cannot take her eyes off them when they are on stage.
Sasha was particularly elated to hear such positive feedback from the judges and felt that he and his dad accomplished what they set out to do with the performance.
“It was awesome,” Sasha said. “It was the feeling of getting that affirmation after you’ve worked so hard on a performance, because I went into it wanting to give a really intense performance and have it come across as very joyful and entertaining, and I wanted to move around a lot and do everything I could on stage. I think once I heard them say that, I knew I did that. Getting a compliment from Blake Shelton, too, is very meaningful, because I think he’s an honest guy.”
‘Thank You To Everyone’
Jim and Sasha had the opportunity to watch The Voice’s Battle Rounds with family at home in Newtown, while gathered around the living room television.
As some fans may have noticed, and commented online in frustration, their entire performance was not aired during the episode. Instead, it was featured as part of a montage along with the duet between The Voice contestants Holly Forbes and Wyatt Michael.
Jim said, “Obviously, we would have loved to see the full thing and a lot of people that know us wanted to see the full thing, but there are so many people on the show. We were happy to see the coaches’ comments and the little clip.”
To all those in Newtown who have continued to show their love and support for the father and son on their journey performing on The Voice, they express their sincere gratitude.
“I would say thank you to everyone. It’s really great seeing everyone so excited,” Sasha said. “I’m glad that Newtown can kind of have its moment, and I’ve had a great time seeing people and running into people talking about the show.”
Jim added, “This entire experience has come as an unexpected and exciting blessing in our lives. And to see the warmth and enthusiasm among our friends and neighbors and to share that with them on a community level is super fun. We just greatly appreciate the fact that everyone takes an interest in this and it’s fun to be observing it together here while we are in town with our community. We are very grateful to everyone for their interest and enthusiasm.”
People can see Jim and Sasha on the next round of The Voice, which is the Knockouts. There they will be singing a song, then an opponent from their team will sing a different song (or vice versa), and their coach will decide who moves on to the next stage of the singing competition.
Jim says that he is looking forward to people tuning in for their upcoming performance, because the next guest mentor will be singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and the song they are performing has special meaning to them.
“I should add, The Voice gives a lot of freedom to artists to talk about songs they’d like to sing and that provides a menu of choices. We did indicate that this was a song we had great interest in singing, among a handful songs, and Ariana guided us to that choice,” Jim said. “There’s this collaborative part often of selecting material. She’s great with the artists.”
Sasha concluded by saying, “Stay tuned for the Knockouts, because you definitely don’t want to miss them. There are a lot of great performances coming and there is so much talent on the show. People are going to want to see what’s next.”
To watch Jim and Sasha Allen on The Voice, tune in to NBC on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Also, follow them on Instagram @JimAndSasha.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.