Ross native Chris Jamison, who this week made it to the Top 10 of “The Voice,” previously had tried out for “American Idol” and got cut immediately. He then tried out for “America’s Got Talent” and made it through the first round of cuts.
A “Talent” judge suggested he might be a better fit for NBC’s hit reality show “The Voice.”
Jamison, feeling discouraged, didn’t give the suggestion much thought. But then, family and friends urged him to audition for “The Voice.”
“I was pretty hesitant, because I had done the other two and hadn’t had any luck,” says Jamison, 20, a 2012 graduate of North Hills High School, in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I just went to school and really wasn’t going to audition.”
He changed his mind and sent an audition video to “The Voice” casting department. He kept a realistic outlook, though, knowing he was competing against thousands of other hopefuls.
“I didn’t expect anything out of it; then, I got a call back,” says Jamison, who went to Philadelphia for a second audition, then to Los Angeles for a third. “You do the things just to do them, but you never really expect to win or get anything in return. That was my attitude throughout this whole process: just to go in and to do my best, but try not to get my hopes up.
“I’ve just kind of gone along for the ride, and I’m trying to ride this thing out for as long as I can,” says Jamison, who is taking a break from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, where he is working on a marketing degree. “Never in a million years … would I have thought I’d be in this position: living my dream. I was an average college kid.”
Jamison’s friends and family in Pittsburgh are celebrating with viewing parties that have attracted a few dozen people.
Tracy Zangaro Indof, a family friend who has organized the parties, has seen Jamison — whom many have called the show’s heartthrob for teenage girls — perform at tiny venues before going on “The Voice,” the winner of which will get a recording contract.
“It’s so exciting,” says Zangaro Indof, 34, of Ross. “It’s just been such a thrill … to watch him really live out his dream.”
On the Nov. 17 live episode, Jamison sang Nick Jonas’ song “Jealous,” and the coaches praised him for hitting the falsetto notes. Pharrell Williams said Jamison’s rendition of “Jealous” was “100 percent your best performance” in the show so far.
Viewers’ votes advanced Jamison to the next round, which will air at 8 p.m. Nov. 24. The next day, on the results show, the contestants will be narrowed from 10 to eight; it drops to five the following week. Jamison is on coach Adam Levine’s team.
Zangaro Indof says Jamison deserves his success. “I think that Chris loves music … and that’s his passion,” she says. “He’s humble. … He is taking the coaches’ advice and just absorbing it all.
“He’s just the nicest guy ever.”
Jamison says his friends and family at school and in Pittsburgh — including his parents, Michelle and Bryan Jamison of Ross — have given him an incredible supportive fan base.
Jamison says he plans to finish college at some point, but regardless of where he places on “The Voice,” he plans to focus on building a singing career after the show ends. He hopes to eventually combine his two biggest dreams: having a successful music career and having a family.
“I think, for now, especially with the way things have progressed for me … I have grown so much,” Jamison says. “I don’t want all my hard work on the show … to finish after this show ends.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7824.