Zaxai, the city’s final competitor on this season of “The Voice,” was cut Tuesday night after previously being given a second chance at the winner’s title by judge Kelly Clarkson.
“When she stole me, I was elated and ecstatic,” says Alberto Pierre, the 29-year-old Flatbush native, who performs under the moniker Zaxai (pronounced zahk-EYE). “The way they edited it, you couldn’t see my full, full reaction, but I wish you could because it’s so funny. She [Clarkson] pressed the button and I jumped up super high and said, ‘can I hug her?’ ”
Clarkson stole Zaxai from rival judge Jennifer Hudson’s team during a battle that aired last month, helping him become the only New Yorker to make it to the talent competition series’ live rounds.
On Monday, he performed a rendition of Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You” while a smiling Clarkson listened along. On Tuesday, he was cut.
“What I hope to gain from ‘The Voice’ is just a crazy diverse fun fanbase,” says the Haitian-American singer who found his voice at age 13 while performing with his church’s gospel choir. “I want a crazy fan base that’s ready to ride or die with me on this journey.”
With “The Voice” behind him, Zaxai is headed back to Brooklyn, where he performs with his band Date Night at Baku Palace on Emmons Avenue. Below, he reflects on his time on “The Voice.”
You and Kelly Clarkson had a run-in meeting a few years before your fates collided on “The Voice.”
OK, so [in 2010] I was working at Radio City Music Hall as an usher, and when you’re stationed at stage left or right — I’m 6’2 I’m super tall — you’re supposed to keep the aisles clear and keep people from jumping on chairs. So, I’m crouched and my head is against the stage. I don’t realize she’s behind me — I’m looking at the kids jumping into the aisle and I’m trying to keep it clear. I notice the kids want to rush, but I wasn’t sure why. I felt a thump on the back of my head and I look above me and it’s Kelly Clarkson. I was like “Holy smokes, it’s Kelly Clarkson.” I promise you I’m starstruck. I’m fixed on her. Little do I know the kids took that opportunity to run up the aisle into her. She didn’t [notice] because she’s in the moment. She didn’t care and I really didn’t care. I told my friends I’d never wash my head again.