Belfast Telegraph

Voice USA: Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani give Larne singer Keith Semple standing ovation

By Claire Williamson

It's not everyday you get a standing ovation from Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine.

But that's exactly what happened for Larne singer Keith Semple who is battling his way to the top of the Voice USA.

The former Larne Grammar School pupil was victorious in the battle round of the American version of The Voice.

The programme features celebrity judges Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams.

The singing competition features 'blind auditions' where the contestants can't be seen by the judges and they judge them only on their voice.

The contestant, if successful then gets to choose from which judge they want to be their mentor - based on who turned around.

Keith's mentor is Maroon 5's frontman Adam Levine.

In order to progress to the next round - the contestants battle singing the same song and their mentor must choose a winner.

Keith was paired with Manny Cabo from New Jersey and they were tasked to sing The Who classic Babo O'Riley.

Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani all gave them a standing ovation - while Keith's little daughter and family are seen beaming with pride in the audience.

Judge Blake Shelton said: "That was one of the best battles we've ever had."

Meanwhile Pharrell and Gwen told Keith that he should record an album now.

"Those reaching notes, every time I thought he’s not going to do them you did," said Pharrell.

“You went above and beyond my expectations and you could make an album right now and you would just have that Irish thing like U2 and The Script.”

Backing Keith to win the round, Gwen Stefani said: “Keith, there were moments where my breath was taken away, it was like you were let out of a cage, you need to make a record, you are such a natural star.

“I would have to say Keith.”

Judge Adam Levine stated that both singers had put in exceptional performances, but decided to put Keith through to the next round.

He said: "That was like a tennis match, I couldn't’t decide who to bounce back and forth between, the presence was that felt on both ends.

“The winner of this battle is Keith.”

Keith goes through to the show's knockout stage with the ultimate hope of progressing to the live shows.


In 2002 Keith took part and was a winner in Popstars: The Rivals and became a member of boyband One True Voice. When the band split up he became a member of the American rock band 7th Heaven in 2006. In October 2012 he left 7th Heaven to pursue his original music with the formation of band SEMPLE. He is currently on Team Adam on The Voice USA.

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