Stee had all the coaches on The Voice sold on his performance, but it was his personal story that made them even more emotional.
The singer took the stage during Monday’s Blind Audition for a falsetto-filled rendition of Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” earning a four-chair turn from John Legend, Gwen Stefani, Reba McEntire and Niall Horan — though Niall was blocked by John.
“You did a great job, song selection was wonderful, love your dance moves, everything,” Reba praised. “You’ve got the whole package!”
“Anyone that takes on an Adam Levine song is brave in my eyes,” Niall agreed. “That’s one hell of a voice he’s got, and you matched up there.”
When it came time to choose his coach, however, Stee made his decision with a heavy weight on his heart.
“I have a cousin, his name is Matthew,” the South Carolina native explained, before turning to John. “He is your biggest fan. And he was supposed to be here tonight, but he passed away three weeks before we got here.”
“I dedicate this entire thing to him,” he continued. “He’s supposed to be backstage, and I was supposed to say, ‘John, I want to introduce you to my cousin, Matthew!’ I just want to say thank you so much for giving so much to Matthew, you really helped him get through some tough times.”
The coaches were visibly emotional at the story, with Reba assuring Stee, “I’m pretty sure Matthew’s here with us, and watching everything that you’re doing.”
When ET spoke with the coaches ahead of the season premiere, Reba said that Gwen, Niall and John have welcomed her to the show “warmly, like a sister.” However, she noted that the friendly vibes go away when it’s time to get down to business.
“They’ve helped me, they’ve guided me and taught me, and then after I learned up to that point, then they say, ‘You’re on your own,'” she recalled.
“We still want to beat her,” John agreed with a laugh.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC.
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