Westport knew her as Ali Porter.
Movie-goers knew her as Curly Sue.
Now the nation knows Alisan Porter as the newest victor on “The Voice.”
The former Staples High School Players actor/singer stood tall last night. She won the NBC show’s 10th season in convincing fashion. Her heartfelt duet with Jennifer Nettles of “Unlove You” capped a run to the title that included an astonishing, judges-head-turning blind audition rendition of “Blue Bayou,” followed by fantastic covers of artists like Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and Demi Lovato.
Congratulations, Ali — er, Alisan. You’ve done us all proud.
And we can’t wait to hear you at your welcome-home concert here!
So far, so good!
Alisan Porter — the former Staples Players star who went on to fame in “Footloose” and “A Chorus Line,” and now has a devoted national following as founder of the very cool Lil’ Mamas website — has reached the finals of “The Voice.”
She joins 3 other contestants — none of whom could possibly be as good — in the 2-part finale. It airs today and tomorrow (May 23 and 24, 8 p.m. EDT) on NBC.
We’re all rooting for our hometown girl. We’ll be tuning in.
But just to make sure she gets her well-deserved win, here’s how you can help:
Last month, “06880” broke the story about former Staples student Alisan Porter’s upcoming appearance on “The Voice.” Her haunting rendition of “Blue Bayou” earned raves from the notoriously hard-to-please judges.
But it took the enterprising journalists at our local high school to snag an exclusive interview with her.
Students working with instructor Jim Honeycutt on the superb “Good Morning Staples” TV show conducted a bi-coastal interview with the woman who — less than 2 decades ago — was a high school student herself. (Okay, one who had already played “Curly Sue” in the movie of the same name.)
Click below for the segment with interviewer Gavin Berger, broadcast earlier today:
Alisan Porter as Curly Sue.
Westporters knew her as the star of Staples Players’ “Cinderella.” Moviegoers remember Curly Sue in the movie of the same name. Broadway fans recall her performances in “Footloose” and “A Chorus Line.” Mothers across the country revere her as a founder of Lil’ Mamas, a no-holds barred, edgy and very insightful look at motherhood today.
Starting Monday — when season 10 of “The Voice” begins on NBC — Westport’s own Alisan Porter will wow a whole new audience of TV viewers.
And, USA Today reported earlier this morning, she “can really sing.”
In fact, the story notes:
Porter’s blind audition performance of the Linda Ronstadt hit “Blue Bayou” inspired all four “Voice” coaches — Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton — to turn their red seats in her direction, and then get out of those seats for a standing ovation.
Levine called it “the most beautiful, flawless, passionate, pitch-perfect thing I have ever heard in my entire life. I’m astonished by you….You’re going to win ‘The Voice,’ and I believe you can do it on my team.”
Sounds as if they should just cancel the competition, and give Alisan Porter her own title, show and Grammy right now.
Of course, to everyone who knew her growing up in Westport 2 decades ago, all this is old hat.
You go, girl!
(Hat tip: Richard Stein)
At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”
After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.
That’s where he met Rozzi Crane. The singer-songwriter has been a background vocalist for Don Henley and Sergio Mendes, and was featured on the Maroon 5 song “Come Away to the Water.” She was the 1st artist signed to Adam Levine’s 222 Records label.
Sam is her bassist, and her band’s musical director. Which is how — last Tuesday — he found himself, with Rozzi, on “The Voice.”
“We nailed it,” Sam says. “They used the 1st take.” It was a great learning experience, he says. Making music on TV was unlike anything he’d ever done before.
As Rozzi rockets to fame, Sam is right beside her. But he’s also playing in a chamber ensemble, and with the likes of Jason Collier and “Quincy Jones Presents.”
If Staples indeed taught Sam Wilkes “how to learn,” he studied very, very well.