Anatalia Villaranda talks joining Alicia Keys' 'The Voice' team: It was surreal, like, "Whoa, this is crazy!"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/02/2017
Anatalia Villaranda, a 16-year-old from Temecula, CA, not only survived her Blind Audition for The Voice's twelfth season, she crushed it.
Anatalia's vocal talent convinced Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani to all press their buttons and turn their chairs around for her. The spunky 4'9" brunette had told the cameras that good things come in small packages, and she proved that by singing "Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars for her audition.
Blake complimented her "colossal energy" and personality, Alicia made it known that Anatalia seems unafraid of her artistry, Gwen related to the singer's passion and positivity, and Adam noted her greatness cannot be taught because she has a raw ability. In the end, Anatalia joined "Team Alicia" heading into "The Battle Round."
On Tuesday after The Voice's premiere, Reality TV World talked to Anatalia about her big moment. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: Can you talk about which coach you were hoping to win going into the Blind Auditions and then why you ended up picking Alicia as your coach. For example, if you initially anticipated choosing someone different, what plea or argument was said that changed your mind?
Anatalia Villaranda: Well, I initially wanted Alicia Keys at the start because honestly, I feel like as an artist, she does definitely have like a soul vibe to her. And just her overall aura, like she's an amazing person to begin with. In previous seasons, I watched her grow with different artists and I was hoping that if she turned around, she would grow with me too and help me grow as a person and a singer as well.
And then when I went on that stage because all four coaches turned around, whoa! I'm like, "This is -- this is crazy." I would never imagine that happening. When she tried [to win me over], it was just like a connection that, a connection when she said that I was amazing.
Like whoa, Alicia thinks I'm amazing! I think she's amazing. So then it was just, like, all such a surreal experience, and I felt like her aura and what she said to me and her comments to me, it really spoke to me. I felt like it was me and her just having a conversation with nobody else in the room. So that's basically why I chose her and I just went with my gut and my instincts, and so did she.
Anatalia also talked to reporters during a conference call about her audition preparations for The Voice and past experience on a different reality show.
What did you do to prepare for being on the premiere episode? And what did you learn?
Anatalia Villaranda: I just wanted to say that to prepare for the auditions, I just had a lot bundled up in me. And I was just like really excited to go onstage and give it my all, and really, I did have the mental state where I was like freaking out a little bit because I practiced so much. And so, I'm still a high school student, like that kind of stuff. It was just like all over the place. I had to beat myself I guess.
I guess I was more excited to just give it my all and just do what I love to do really, honestly, the passion. And I was just super excited. I think that was really important to my performance, because no matter what happened, I was going to be happy and I was going to give it like 110 percent onstage.
The last time we saw you on television, you were a contestant on another reality singing competition. I'm curious what you've learned between that time and now that you think will help propel you further along through this competition?
[Editor's note: Anatalia competed on Season 15 of American Idol but was eliminated in the infamous "Group Round" during Hollywood Week].
Anatalia Villaranda: Oh yes. The previous competition that I was in, it was very devastating to me. It's still really like heartbreaking, like I feel like I wasn't good enough for something. And it was that specific competition I was in. I was really bummed out a little bit. So I think, definitely, it did make me a stronger person and I really did learn from my mistakes.
And I think that everything happens for a reason and everything has its purpose. And I believe that it was an obstacle in my life that I just had to go with the punches and really just believe in myself and just trust myself -- and not stop and just keep on pushing forward no matter what.
And that was really a big thing in my life. It really changed my mindset on things and yes, it definitely helps me for The Voice, because I think it gave me that little boost of confidence to just trust in myself and believe in myself that I can do this.
Do you plan on going to college? If so, what would your major be?
Anatalia Villaranda: Well, I do plan on going to college. I just want to see where The Voice takes me and what my career does hold. But I do want to go to college right after I finish high school. And it's my senior year right now and as funny as it sounds, I want to be a criminal detective, a police officer. So I'm going to major in criminal justice. So that's definitely something that I was looking into.