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Lilli Passero talks 'The Voice': I don't really know if the world is ready for a female crooner


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/15/2017 

Lilli Passero was eliminated from The Voice when the twelfth season's Top 8 artists were determined on NBC.

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Lilli from Los Angeles, CA, and the night's other eliminee, Mark Isaiah from Mount Pocono, PA, landed in the bottom three with Vanessa Ferguson from Greensboro, NC, based on home viewer votes cast following Monday night's Top 10 performance show. It marked Lilli and Vanessa's first time in the bottom two or three since live shows began, while Mark had been in this position several times before already.

After Lilli, Mark and Vanessa each sang a survival song live on Tuesday night, May 9, America tweeted via the show's "Instant Save" format to keep Vanessa in the competition. Both Lilli and Mark were therefore ousted from Adam Levine's team, but Vanessa continues to move forward on The Voice as a member of Alicia Keys' team.

During a recent conference call with reporters, Lilli talked about her The Voice experience. Below is what she had to say.

You attended Carnegie Mellon University, I was wondering if you consider yourself an actress who sings or singer who acts?

Lilli Passero: Unfortunately, I'm sorry to tell you this, I don't really respond to either one of those. I've never been comfortable putting myself in a box, and I don't think I'm going to start now. I'm very fortunate to be able to do both and to say that I love doing both and I will continue to do both.

Are you interested in a Broadway career?

Lilli Passero: That is an interesting question because I am an actor. There are certain straight plays, of course, that I would love, love, love to do.

I have not always really responded to a lot of current musical theater for whatever reason, maybe because I was raised on the classics that when they don't look like that, it's hard for me to get excited about them. You never know what the future holds and if the right role came along, it would be an honor to participate in anything that I believe in so, you know, we shall see.

So how do you see yourself moving forward musically? Would you like to make an album coming off The Voice?

Lilli Passero: I think to start with an EP to really throw myself into making a couple of like great songs that I'm really proud of and see how people respond to them and then go from there.

In what kind of style do you envision your album being? 

Lilli Passero: I think the easiest thing to call it would probably be vintage pop. You will hear jazz, you will hear blues, you will hear influence from the doo-wop groups of the 50s and 60s, you'll hear a lot of things.

I really loved your rendition of "Unforgettable," but do you think The Voice audience maybe isn't ready to fully embrace a female crooner? What do you think about that?

Lilli Passero: I don't know, I mean, I think the artist can transcend the song. I think it's more about the person you're watching and less about what they're singing.

So I think I connected with as many people as I could and I'm not really interested -- or it doesn't matter to me as much -- who I didn't connect with, because that's out of my hands. So, I think the world is ready for anything as long as it's the right time for it.

What drew you to audition for The Voice to begin with?

Lilli Passero: My parents brought it up to me. They thought it would be a great opportunity for me to kind of get my career to the next level, to put my abilities and what I do in front of a bigger audience. And they thought I had nothing to lose, only so much to gain, and they were right.

I'm glad that I divorced my comfort zone to do it, because I never wanted to be a part of a competition before. And I didn't even want to this time, but I'm so glad that I allowed myself to participate in it because it was so, so, so rewarding.

Last night when Alicia was fighting for votes for Vanessa to stay, what did you think about that? Did you think it was fair when Alicia said a vote for Vanessa would be like a vote for herself given Vanessa is the type of artist Alicia started out as in the music industry?

Lilli Passero: I don't know if you guys saw the whole episode, but like she said in the Mother's Day video, you know, to be a mother is to be a lioness, and I think Alicia sees the people on her team as her cubs, and I respect the hell out of her for saying and doing whatever she has to do to protect Vanessa.

That same spirit is what got me on her team during the Blinds. I mean, she decided that she wanted me and she sang me a song and made sure she got me and I really admire and respect her for doing everything in her power to get what she wants for what she believes and, you know, that's just the way it is.

Of course it's fair. If anything, it's something that we should all aspire to do ourselves, to have that kind of passion and fire.
  
Could you compare working with Alicia versus working with Adam since you had been stolen by Adam in a previous round?

Lilli Passero: Sure, I can try! It's night and day. They're very different people. I think that's why they are both coaches on the show, because they're both wildly qualified but very, very, very, very different.

I think Alicia would have had me -- I mean, as you saw, she probably would have thrown me down a slightly different lane in terms of song choices. But other than that, I mean, I always felt kind of, like, in awe of her when I was around her. I don't know if it's because she's a woman and has that, like, maternal kind of queen-like vibe to her.

And then working with Adam, I mean you really forget that he's Adam Levine because he's so down to earth and he's very easy going and he treats you like a buddy right way. 

He's very frank and straightforward, and he doesn't hold anything back, and it makes you feel like you're with your best friend whom you can say anything to. And he was super, super dedicated and committed to finding the right things for me, and I really appreciate how much he cared and how he never gave up and put his all into doing everything that he thought he could to let me shine.

Working with him during the live week -- we got much more time together than I got with Alicia, so in a way, I felt like I got to know him better. But I'm so grateful that I got to work with both of them. I'll probably be having realizations for the rest of my life about things that they left me with.

To read what Lilli had to tell Reality TV World about her The Voice experience, click here. To begin reading our interview with Mark Isaiah, click here.


Lilli Passero/Instagram

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