ASHLAND — Holly Forbes celebrated with friends and family at the Delta Hotel Thursday following a four-chair turn on “The Voice.”
Her rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” during the blind auditions had Ariana Grande standing with tears, John Legend waving his hand and Kelly Clarkson’s jaw dropping.
The choice of song was because of her love for performing classic songs and putting her own spin on it, she shared.
“I had that one in mind because it’s such a well-known and feel-good song … I just wanted to put my touch on that song that everyone loves,” said Forbes.
As she stepped onto “The Voice” stage, Forbes said she was both nervous and excited “and just hoping they would turn for me,” she said. “That was my main thing, I wasn’t sure that would happen.”
Grande and Legend turned their chairs within a millisecond and Legend was blocked by Grande, Clarkson’s chair turned just after the two as they battled for the Catlettsburg resident. She had made it through the blind auditions.
“I was just really emotional, trying to hold back my tears in that moment, I guess I was kinda shocked,” said Forbes when she saw all four chairs turned for her.
Forbes wasn’t expecting Blake Shelton to turn since she’s not country, but nevertheless, Forbes will forever be one of the ones with a four-chair turn on “The Voice.”
The journey wasn’t quick to get to that point. Forbes first auditioned for the show’s first season and had auditioned a few times.
“But really when the pandemic started I was at home for months and months just playing and singing and practicing all day every day,” said Forbes.
She expressed that she felt prepared when the opportunity presented itself again.
“I felt like I had given myself time to improve,” said Forbes.
The work paid off and Forbes is now a part of Team Kelly after having chosen Clarkson to be her coach. Forbes was in middle school when she watched Clarkson win “American Idol.” Forbes was just beginning to sing solo at the time.
“I grew up listening to Kelly,” she said. “ I kind of used her as kind of a tool to grow my voice as a kid, so that’s really why I wanted to work with her, because she’s always been an idol of mine.”
Her favorite Clarkson song is “Beautiful Disaster.”
When asked what song she’d most like to perform if she reaches the finale on the show or would want to record a cover of, “The Story” by Brandi Carlile was her answer.
During the party, rocket balloons hung and a Hollywood sign sat in the catering table to honor her accomplishments.
Holly Canfield, with the Paramount Arts Center, presented Forbes with flowers and the marquee light.
“You’ve made us so proud, you really have and I can’t think of someone more deserving. We look forward to your future journey and we’re 100% behind you, we love you so much,” said Canfield.
Ashland Mayor Matt Perkins told Forbes he cried as he watched her perform even though they hadn’t met before. He added that Forbes being in Ashland is just an invisible line, and that Ashland, Catlettsburg and Boyd County is a big family, of which she is a part.
He issued a proclamation:
“Whereas Holly Forbes was born in Argillite, Kentucky, attend Poage Elementary and resides in our sister city Catlettsburg, whereas the city of Ashland celebrates Holly on her outstanding performance on ‘The Voice,’ bringing national attention to her talents and to eastern Kentucky, she follows in the footsteps of the great many vocal artists that have come from our region and is an ambassador for the arts in our community. With that, I and the board of commissioners like to declare Oct. 14, 2021 Holly Forbes Day,” read Perkins.
Catlettsburg Mayor Faith Day shared her pride when Forbes proudly stated that she was from Catlettsburg on “The Voice.”
“You being on national TV, standing up and saying that you’re from Catlettburg, I know everybody watching from Catlettsburg was like, ‘Heck yeah, she’s from Catlettsburg!’ We loved it, loved it,” expressed Day.
Day told of how she was contacted by the show about filming in the town, but wasn’t given information about who the resident was and how keeping the secret was so difficult for her.
Day presented Forbes with the first musical key to the city of which Catlettsburg Day knows.
“Holly, you remind all of us to believe in ourselves and we believe in you and you believe in yourself and you’re already a star in our eyes,” said Day. “Whenever you come back, we will have the biggest party for you in Catlettsburg, parade and all.”
Forbes expressed her gratitude to the people there, and was shocked and overwhelmed by the gifts and encouragement.
“I was not expecting this,” said Forbes holding back tears. “This is so sweet. I didn’t expect this amount of support from everyone. It just means everything and that’s my reason to keep going. Thank you guys so much for everything.”
The Battle Rounds of “The Voice” Season 21 are now airing on NBC and all episodes are on nbc.com/the-voice/episodes. New episodes air Mondays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.