BY KATHY CHANG
EDISON — Five years ago, Moushumi Chitre’s name rose to prominence as a senior at J.P. Stevens High School when she won the school’s annual JPS Got Talent.
Chitre was one of eight students highlighted for their talent in the school’s newspaper “The Hawkeye” in April 2011.
Five years later, Chitre, now 22, a 2011 J.P. Stevens High School graduate, appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” on March 15. She selected Pharrell Williams to be her coach.
“The Voice” is an American reality television singing competition, which first aired in 2011. Contestants go through a blind audition in front of a panel of four coaches, who press a red button to turn their chair around if they like what they hear.
If more than one chair is turned around, the contestant has to choose a coach, who they want to work with for the season. Ultimately the winner is determined by television viewers and receives $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group.
For this season, the coaches include singers Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton.
With her parents looking on, Chitre sang her rendition of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
Once Chitre started singing, Blake Shelton yelled out to the other coaches, “Woah, hit your button.”
Aguilera, then Levine and Williams subsequently turned their chairs, which brought out “Woahs” from her dad and tears from her mom.
“Wow, oh my gosh, that was amazing,” said Shelton after Chitre completed her blind audition.
Shelton said if his team was not full, he would have turned his chair around in a heartbeat.
“I fully expect to see some claws come out on this one because you’re worth fighting for,” he said.
Aguilera said she had definitely waited to push her button for something truly special.
“I have nothing like you on my team and I think we can do something that hasn’t been done on the show before,” she said.
Williams said it was crazy how Chitre navigated around the song and made it her own.
“This is something different and actually feels super fresh,” he said adding that he had never met a woman of Indian nationality sing like she does.
Levine said Chitre’s voice was so unique.
“I never heard something so glassy,” he said.
In the spotlight in her high school newspaper, Chitre said “Playing my guitar and singing along is my favorite thing in the world to do. It always makes me happier,” she said.
She went on and said her music has been shaped by classic artists including the Beatles, Queen, and Elton John.
Chitre is the second Middlesex County contestant to make it past the blind audition in Season 10 of “The Voice.”
Mike Schiavo, a 2012 Colonia High School graduate, chose Adam Levine as his coach. His blind audition was broadcast on Feb. 29.