Crowd turns out for 'The Voice' contestant Chevel Shepherd at Civic Center party
Get to know NBC "The Voice" contestant Chevel Shepherd of Farmington. Farmington Daily Times
Number of contestants will be trimmed to 8 on Tuesday's show
FARMINGTON — Several hundred supporters filled the Civic Center tonight to cheer on Farmington High School junior Chevel Shepherd as she fought again to stay among the finalists on NBC’s “The Voice” national talent competition.
Videos of her past performances, on the show and elsewhere, played on big screens as the minutes ticked down to the 7 p.m. showtime. The crowd erupted at 8:30 p.m. when Shepherd sang the 1971 Loretta Lynn hit "You're Lookin' at Country."
Friends and family plan to gather Tuesday at the No Worries Sports Bar & Grill in Farmington to view the results show.
Judges were effusive, singer Blake Shelton telling Shepherd that "you have found a way to make a Loretta Lynn song even countrier."
Celebrity coach Kelly Clarkson called her a "country Tinkerbelle" who is not only cute and talented, "but we want to put you in our pocket and take you home."
Mayor Nate Duckett said the event “started slow,” but not long after the doors opened at 6 p.m., the event center opened up extra room. He'd hoped for at least 200, but more than 400 fans showed up.
"Thank you all for being here tonight for Chevel’s big party,” Duckett said to the crowd. “Are we excited for our girl?”
Shepherd’s father, Robert, was in attendance and thanked the crowd for its support. He said he had told her he always knew she’d be famous.
The event featured Chevel Shepherd trivia questions, good for prize T-shirts and posters. (Spoiler for future contests: Her favorite TV show: "Friends." Favorite animals: Horses. Favorite soda: Dr Pepper. Favorite country music singer: Carrie Underwood. Favorite color: baby blue.)
Students from area schools were also in attendance, with some Aztec junior high and high schoolers arriving by bus to the party.
While fans vote tonight on the 10 contestants' fates, County Commissioner Jack Fortner announced that the commission will vote on Chevel tomorrow as well — but in a different way.
"We're going to do a proclamation declaring it Chevel Day," Fortner told the crowd, adding the commission willl wait to declare the actual date until the singer is back in town.
"It'll be a unanimous vote," Fortner said, noting Chevel's kind words about the region and its people.
How the show works
Contestants on "The Voice" must select and learn a new song each week, then perform it well enough before a studio audience to advance to the next round. The list of competitors is cut from 24 to 13 to 11 to 10 to eight to four before one singer finally emerges victorious during the season finale on Dec. 18.
Shepherd hopes to advance to next week's round of eight. She experienced her most tension-filled appearance on the program yet last week. During the Nov. 27 episode, she didn't hear her name called until late in the program, becoming the ninth contestant out of 10 to make the cut.
Shepherd said she typically gets up between 6 and 7 a.m. each day, spending more than five hours with a tutor on her school work before devoting most of the rest of her time to taking vocal lessons or rehearsing her next song with a band.
" … There is a lot of work behind it," she said, describing her preparations each week. "I like to make sure everything is ready to go so I'm ready to go on show day."
Previous performances include "If I Die Young," "Travelin' Soldier" and "Grandpa, Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days."
Last week, she moved to the final 10 after singing "Space Cowboy" by Kacey Musgraves at the suggestion of her fans.
Viewers have several ways to participate in the show’s voting process next week. They can download the program's app at nbc.com/Voiceapp, or they can go online to nbc.com/VoiceVote or Xfinity.com/VoiceVote. Viewers also can visit apple.com/apple-music/ and vote by streaming the music of the artist of their choice.
Viewers have up to 10 votes they can cast for their favorite competitors after registering with NBC. "The Voice" airs locally at 7 tonight and Tuesday night.
Shepherd can be followed on Twitter at @officialchevel.
John R. Moses is the Editor of The Farmington Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4624. Daily Times Content Coach Mike Easterling contributed to this story.