WESTFIELD — Sometimes, Madison Curbelo has to rewatch the recording of her “The Voice” audition, because she still can’t believe what happened. Not only did she advance to the next round, she received chair turns from all four judges.

“I was honestly shocked,” said the Westfield High School graduate. “I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t stop smiling because it felt so surreal.”

Westfield High School graduate Madison Curbelo performs Prince Royce’s version of “Stand by Me” on an episode of “The Voice” that aired March 4.
Photo credit: Casey Durkin, NBC

It was a marked difference from her first go at the show. For the 2021 season, Curbelo gave a televised performance of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” None of that season’s judges — Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton — turned their chairs around. Judges listen to the audition with their backs to the singer, so they are evaluating the singer by his or her voice alone. Turning their chair means they are willing to mentor the singer, and allows the contestant to advance into the next stage of the competition.

Curbelo said she didn’t think much of the 2021 audition afterward, only remembering how Shelton told her to sing as much as she could and then come back. She interpreted his words to mean she should work on her experience and confidence, which she did. In between her auditions, she released two singles, graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and performed regularly at Western Massachusetts venues.

Speaking about returning to “The Voice,” she said she wanted to show viewers how much she’s grown and the importance of never giving up.

“Amazing things can happen if you don’t give up and you believe in yourself,” she said.

For her 2024 season audition, which aired March 4 on NBC, Curbelo performed Prince Royce’s bachata rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” in both English and Spanish. She said the song was played at her Puerto Rican family’s parties, and means a lot to her.

“It’s just really special to sing a song with those lyrics and think of all the people that stood by me,” she said.

At her audition, Curbelo’s parents stood by her on the other side of the stage. She said their presence calmed her, and she knew she’d hug her mom no matter what happened. When the music started, she said, she went into autopilot and started trusting herself.

This season’s judges — Legend, Reba McEntire, Chance the Rapper, and the duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney — were highly positive about Curbelo’s audition, and they all wanted her on their “team.” Legend said after her performance that her voice had brightness and charisma, and that he could hear her smile even before turning around. Chance called her an “awesome talent” and that hearing her voice makes people smile.

“You radiate light and just joy … everything that you represent, everything that you are, you should be really proud of that,” said Mooney, before making a jab at Legend for not turning his chair around the first time.

Curbelo, who said she did not expect to have so many options of mentors, ultimately joined with Dan + Shay after hearing them say they didn’t have anyone like her on their team. Curbelo said they had written music for artists she looked up to, and that their choice to write and produce their own songs aligned with her vision.

“I knew instantly after I chose them — they were so excited — that I made the right choice,” she said. “They’re so genuine and so kind.”

On TV, Dan + Shay said they were looking for someone like her.

“She really was just a ray of sunshine, genuine and authentic,” said Smyers. “She was exactly what we were waiting for.”

Being on their team netted her a white Dan + Shay jersey, which she showed off on Facebook not long after the episode was broadcast.

Curbelo’s ultimate goal is to release music she loves where she has taken part in the whole creative process. She said she would love to go on tour someday and uplift as many young artists as she could.

“I just want to make this my full-time career and something that I want to do forever,” she said.

Asked if she would like to thank anyone, she said she wanted to thank her parents and family for supporting her as far back as her elementary school talent show performances. She also wanted to thank her fifth-grade teacher for believing she had a talent with words. Finally, she wanted to thank the Western Massachusetts community for their support.

“Everyone is so kind and giving me so much love, and I just hope to make everyone proud in the next round,” she said.

The next round on “The Voice” after auditions is “battles.” Here, Curbelo will be paired with another singer on Day + Shay’s team. The celebrity duo will help the singers create a song, which they will sing on stage together. Dan + Shay will choose the person whom they believe sang it best, and that person will advance to the next round.

Neither Curbelo nor a publicist from “The Voice” could say when she will next be on television, though the publicist said it will be in the next few weeks. The show airs at 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays on Springfield’s NBC station, WWLP, Channel 22.

tlederer@thereminder.com | + posts