COLTS NECK – As the fifth season of the NBC reality/performance show “The Voice” continues to pare the number of contestants left, Colts Neck’s own Jacquie Lee continues to advance and have the hearts of hometown residents.
Now one of six surviving participants Lee, a 16-year-old township resident who attends the Ranney School, will perform on Monday night’s show, continuing as a member of coach Christina Aguilera’s team. But, whatever the future may hold for her, Lee certainly is a star as far as any number of Colts Neck residents are concerned.
“I think she’s amazing, she’s great,” said Tara Stodz, an 11-year-old student at Cedar Drive Middle School, after she had a chance to join other kids who talked briefly with Lee via Skype on Saturday morning at Colts Neck High School.
“When you come from a small town like this, It’s nice to know you can accomplish your dream,” said Lauren Feaster, 13, who also attends Cedar Drive School.
An obviously sleepy Lee talked from Los Angeles to a group of township youth who were on hand at the high school for the opening day of the township’s recreational basketball season. “Everyone wants to support her [Lee] and is behind her,” said Laura Sheehy, vice president of Colts Neck Sports Foundation.
Lee told some very excited kids about her life since she’s been appearing on “The Voice,” how, since she’s been in California for the live shows, she’s worked four or five hours a day on non-show days and an hour-a-day on days she has to perform on the show.
She also spoke about how close she and Aguilera have become during this time. “She’s helped me as a person so much,” Lee said.
Lee even turned the tables on the group and asked them a question. “What’s your favorite part of watching the show?” she inquired.
“YOU!!!” many of them shouted back in unison.
“It seems like all of Monmouth County has adopted her. It’s so great,” said Richard Lee, Jacquie’s dad who was on hand at the high school Saturday. “Little kids run up to her all the time. It’s really touching.”
Local restaurants and homes have been holding viewing parties, watching and cheering on his daughter, Lee noted.
“She showed us everyone should follow their dream,” said 14-year-old Jillian O’Reilly.
Contestants will continue to perform on the show’s Monday evening installments and wait along with the audience to hear whether they’ve made the cut until Tuesday’s episode. That will continue until only two remain, with the season finishing up on Dec. 10, according to Mark Swersky, Lee’s manager.