Clearwater rocker Juliet Simms finds her Voice

The lead singer of Automatic Loveletter turns heads — and chairs — on NBC's The Voice.

I'll admit, I was worried at first that her style was too brash for network TV canned entertainment, but Cee Lo punched the button and a second later, Levine did too, and their seats turned around in unison to face Juliet. The camera panned out and the bottom platform of each of the cheese-tacular thrones bore the validating message, "I want you" at the bottom." Cee Lo watched meditatively while Adam went berserk, propping his foot on his stool, belting out along with her with animated fervor.

"You blew my socks off," Aguilera said. She ribbed Levine for pulling a "Justin Timberlake."

Levine praised Simms for "the dirt" in her voice and says she sounded "incredible."

Shelton, who turned around after the song was over, conceded that she was badass, but Cee Lo was the one who sealed the deal when he said, "You turn me on. I heard the story of my life in that song."

During a phone press conference today, Simms said she chose Cee Lo because her gut feeling told her to. She said with diplomatic reverence that she loved all four and would have been happy to have each of them as her coach — even going so far as to share that she grew up listening to Aguilera — but Cee Lo had an intuitive pull.

A seasoned pro who grew up in a Scientologist family, Simms left high school to pursue music professionally. She had some minor breakthroughs with major labels and gigged with the Warped Tour.

She shared with the press today that when she started out courting major labels she was groomed to be the lead singer of a band — not a solo artist — and felt it was time to explore that "facet" of her career.

Of The Voice, Simms said that she never considered herself the type to enter a reality competition show but decided to give the popular show a try because she liked the how it distinguished itself from the others by celebrating individuality in its singers.

"It just seemed like this show is really meant for a specific crowd of people," Simms said, "People who maybe never fit the mold, or weren't what pop radio wanted."

  • Oh, JULIET! Juliet Simms, from Clearwater, belts out a Beatles classic on The Voice.

Post Giants-winning Super Bowl, Feb. 5, I'm folding laundry in my bedroom and The Voice reality TV show registers a little above the ceiling fan on my peripheral hearing. A pretty blond female country singer belts out. My interest is somewhat piqued, though I'm more excited about the pairing of my longtime-separated striped socks. I've got my own tune by Peaches and Herb playing in my head: "Reunited and it feels so good ..."

Before I lay the precious, reconciled socks in the pile, I hear the next contestant being introduced: "From Clearwater, Florida" and "Juliet Simms." I yell, "What!" and turn around in shock to my little color TV. There's 25-year-old Juliet from Automatic Loveletter, the lithe, baby-faced-beautiful, scruffy-dressing young rocker, whom I watched grow up in the local music scene starting as a teen in her own band and hanging out at older brother Tommy's Disco Nap and Win Win Winter shows. Her fierce vocal chops always belied her age.

On the show, Juliet starts singing, "Oh, Darling!" and I jump and cheer. I Facebook my friends and call my mom, reminding her that she met Simms when I interviewed Automatic Loveletter in her living room (she lives on Highland Avenue, down the street from Simms; I had also interviewed two of her brother's bands there). I repeat myself a few times because Mommy's at that hard-of-hearing age, I get a sketchy 10-4, and hang up to watch the rest of Juliet's smoking, drop-to-the-floor performance.

Juliet's absolutely killing it with her feminine gravel and soul-socking delivery of one of my favorite Beatles' tunes.

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