WWU grad Austin Jenckes eliminated from TV's 'The Voice'

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 19, 2013 

Austin Jenckes, the Western Washington University graduate who found a legion of new fans on NBC's singing competition "The Voice," was eliminated from the show Tuesday night, Nov. 19.

Jenckes, who had made the top 10, was one of two performers cut as the hit show enters its final weeks.

Viewers voted for seven of the singers to move on based on their live perfomances Monday night. That left Jenckes and two others with a final chance - a "Instant Save" based on Twitter votes in the last few minutes of the show's airing.

Country superstar Blake Shelton, who coached Jenckes during his run on the show, grimaced and bit his nails as he waited for the results.

"I want America to know this guy lives and breathes music: writing music, singing music," Shelton said in his pitch to viewers to vote for Jenckes. "This is what he does. This is what he lives for.

"I don't know a more passionate vocalist out there," Shelton said.

Twitter lit up with votes for Jenckes, including many from Whatcom County. But it was not enough to keep Jenckes on the show for another week.

Jenckes likely was at a disadvantage. His fan base is on the West Coast, but the Twitter voting is done only for the live show as it airs in the East and Central time zones. That meant the only way for Jenckes' supporters out west to participate was to keep an eye on Twitter or "The Voice" website to know when to cast votes in a window that lasted only a few minutes.

The elimination seemed especially odd because Jenckes and fellow competitor Cole Vosbury shined during their team's performance of ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" earlier in the show, while Ray Boudreaux, who was one of the first contestants saved by viewers, sounded thin in comparison. Vosbury also survived.

Jenckes' major at WWU was in communications and he minored in audio recording at Fairhaven College. While at WWU, he played many Bellingham venues. About two years ago he moved to Nashville, Tenn., in pursuit of his musical dream.

He survived several eliminations on "The Voice" over the past several weeks and gained a large fan following. He played his late father's guitar, always wore a hat and flashed a big smile.

Despite the loss, the exposure is expected to boost Jenckes' career. On Wednesday he already was making media appearances and likely will be part of a nationwide tour featuring the show's competitors.

To see his perfomances on the show, go to nbc.com/the-voice.

Reach Debbie Townsend at debbie.townsend@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2280.

Reach Debbie Townsend at 360-715-2280 or debbie.townsend@bellinghamherald.com .

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