Words & Deeds

Idaho singer dazzles judges on ‘The Voice,’ puts spotlight on ‘beautiful’ Gem State

Cour d’Alene, Idaho, singer Jacob Maxwell, 20, shown performing March 4 on “The Voice.”
Cour d’Alene, Idaho, singer Jacob Maxwell, 20, shown performing March 4 on “The Voice.” NBC

An Idaho star was born Monday night on “The Voice” — or at least introduced on national TV.

And several million viewers got a flattering glimpse of scenic North Idaho.

Contestant Jacob Maxwell, a 20-year-old musician from Coeur d’Alene, dazzled celebrity judges on NBC’s singing competition. After Maxwell began performing Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” during blind auditions, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend quickly spun around their chairs to watch and woo.

“My daughter is gonna love you!” Clarkson said. “... My favorite part about your voice is it’s effortless. You moved me!”

“I felt like your voice is heavenly,” Legend added. “I thought a little bit about Jeff Buckley, a little bit about James Morrison. I just love your tone. It’s, like, sweet. It’s distinct.”

Maxwell, who began playing guitar when he was 12, has gigged in the Coeur d’Alene area since graduating from high school. His introductory segment on “The Voice” showed him paddling a kayak in his hometown. “Coeur d’Alene is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen,” Maxwell said. “But a lot of growth is happening in the city.”

How much growth? Well, even celebrities know about Coeur d’Alene.

“That is a beautiful, amazing, special place,” Adam Levine said, sounding as if he knew it well.

“Beautiful place,” Clarkson added.

Offered the choice of Clarkson or Legend as his coach on “The Voice,” Maxwell chose Team Legend.

“You’re a really pure, beautiful singer,” Legend had told him. “We’re going to make America really happy, I think. They’re gonna love it.”

Viewers can follow Maxwell’s progress by watching future episodes of “The Voice,” which airs at 7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.

Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.