Jackie Foster is a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” but she’s not being vocal just on stage. She is responding to critics with the Rodney King “Can we all get along?” attitude.
It clearly takes fortitude and skin of steel to survive the barbs unleashed on social media.
The most recent appearance of the 22-year-old singer from Poway in the show’s “knockout” rounds generated an online firestorm after her celebrity coach, Adam Levine, selected a fellow team member, Mia, over Jackie in their head-to-head song battle. He also made it clear that he was going to use his “save” privilege on Jackie.
However, the show’s three other celebrity judges — Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson — immediately invited her to join their teams. Jackie chose Keys. That didn’t sit well with some “Voice” fans who posted critical comments online.
“These past 24 hours have been the most wonderful and the most painful in my life,” Jackie responded on her Facebook and Instagram sites. “After picking Alicia, I got some of the most hateful comments I have seen in a while...I picked Alicia because she NEVER GAVE UP ON ME! This wasn’t for me to jump coach to coach ..., it’s what I felt was right in my HEART.” She added, “Let’s spread love and not hate in this world.”
“I think we’re over it,” said Jackie’s mom, Carol Foster, afterward. “But it was rough.” In preparing for the April 16 live performance, Jackie describes Alicia as a phenomenal coach who is very calming. “Right away, I felt a sense of ease and comfort. She never makes you feel like you made a mistake. ... She encourages you to become the best version of yourself.”
Now, however, the Foster family faces a bigger battle — getting viewer votes in a format that clearly favors the East Coast. All 24 contestants perform on a two-hour live show on April 16. The voting window on NBC’s “The Voice” app and Twitter will be from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST, which is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the West Coast — prior to the broadcast. The top vote getter of each of the four teams will be declared safe that night, and the remaining 20 perform again either on April 17 or April 18. Voting will be open for a brief time during each show — again during the East Coast broadcast time slot.
Although Jackie attends a college in Boston, she is the only one on her six-person team from the West Coast and is scrambling to compete — not on stage but online. The Foster family is trying to alert Jackie’s fans about the new voting format. They’re urging friends to download the app and allow notifications so they can vote Monday “before” Jackie performs — because afterward will be too late.
Meanwhile, in a strange twist of fate, the Berklee College of Music senior’s boyfriend and bandmate, singer Brandon Diaz, made it into the top 24 contestants on “American Idol” at the same time Jackie entered the top 24 on “The Voice.” He was eliminated on Monday’s show. She said being on the programs simultaneously has strengthened their bond because they can appreciate what each is going through.
Read Diane Bell's full column here.