‘The Voice': Teenage ‘Old Soul’ Austin Montgomery Channels Hank Williams Sr. [Watch]
Austin Montgomery of Henry, Calif., can’t help it: He’s got a one-of-a-kind voice! The 19-year-old singer proved that during his blind audition on Season 22 of The Voice, which aired on Tuesday night (Oct. 4) on NBC.
Onstage, he auditioned with Hank Williams, Sr.'s “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)." Although Montgomery is only a teenager, he surprised viewers with his old-school knowledge of music, and with his deep and powerful vocals. He showed off his low baritone voice and his standout vibrato, earning a flattering remark from newbie coach Camila Cabello.
Gwen Stefani was the first to turn around for the singer, though. She spun her chair early on during one of the beginning notes. Both Shelton and Cabello simultaneously rotated their chairs midway through the performance. And, to show that she was enjoying Montgomery’s rendition of the classic country hit, Cabello stood up and swayed her hips from side to side.
Afterward, she told Montgomery, "I love you! I’m a big fan!"
“I think it would be very important if you asked the three of us who sang that song you just performed. At least one of us knows who wrote and sang that song,” Shelton said, referring to himself as that one person. “I think it’s a gift to have you on this show. I'd be honored to be your coach. We could actually do this right.”
“What does right mean?” Cabello questioned, trying her best to persuade Montgomery to join her team. “Would you rather have right or have fun, and be interesting, exciting, unpredictable like you, my man? I was really excited when I heard your voice. I was like, 'That’s a voice that I would love to hear on the radio.' Our generation doesn’t have voices like yours. I don’t have anyone else like you on my team. What I’m looking for is musical diversity, and I like that you’re different and unpredictable. I think we could do some cool stuff together and bring your old soul to this generation.”
“I love your voice. You sound like you’re straight out of the past,” Stefani told Montgomery, who previously noted that he grew up listening to artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Williams and Johnny Cash.
“It’s crazy that you’re 19 years old. I think I could coach you well because you have so much character and style,” Stefani added. “That’s probably something that I could do well. But, musically, if you don’t pick me, don’t pick Camila. I’m being real here, guys. This is your career. That man, [Blake], right there, this is what he loves. He loves what you do, and so do I. I would be happy to coach you, but I wanna be real.”
After Stefani shared her words as an ally to her husband Shelton, it appeared Cabello didn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Montgomery went with the veteran coach, saying, “I’m going with Blake, for sure.”
“I thought (Austin) was really different,” Cabello said. “But ultimately, old soul, he had to go with an older person.”