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Off to Hollywood
The Voice contestant has strong Newton ties
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Every now and then someone comes along with an amazing voice that keeps his or her audience on the edge of their seat. A voice that is able to completely captivate their audience. Local star Sera Hill is that person.

Originally working at a hotel in Atlanta, she was chosen to be a part of Team Xtina from "The Voice," which is Coach Christina Aguilera's nickname for her team. The show also features hit country music star Blake Shelton, R&B sensation Cee-Lo Green, and pop/rock icon Adam Levine as coaches. Hill has made it to the top 24 on the hit show which airs on NBC at 8 p.m. Monday nights.

"Starting on April 2, the show is going to go live," Hill said. "From here on out everything is in America's hands. I can only pray that God allows me to go as far in the competition as he wants me to, and my fans will help that happen."

Hill will fly to Los Angeles to begin preparing for the live show tomorrow, but she began her journey to the top 24 on "The Voice" in August when the show did a casting call in Atlanta.

"I had to stand in line for several hours before I was able to even get my foot inside the building," Hill said.
Once inside, the crew breaks up the individuals into groups of 10. Then each group is called inside to sing in front of producers from the show. Hill was the last person to sing in her group.

"It was nerve-racking," Hill recalls. "Few people know that singers aren't able to meet the real judges right from the start. Each of us had to go through this process before we were even considered for the blind auditions with the coaches."

Hill had to wait a long month and a half before she received the amazing news that she had made it to the top 200 of the show.

It was then that she was flown out to California for three weeks to go through another set of auditions with NBC executive producers which narrowed down the contestants to the top 125. After that, it was time for the blind auditions with the coaches.

"Sera had been singing since she was 6-years-old in church plays, but I really didn't know she had this amazing voice until she performed in her first talent show in middle school," mom Karen Hill said. "She claims that I knew she could sing before then, but that's the first time I recall her voice truly standing out to me. From there I knew she was going to go far."

Karen was able to join her daughter for the blind auditions along with Hill's brother and father.

"It really helped having them all there with me," Hill recalled.

When it came time for her to go on stage, Aguilera had only one spot on her team left to fill. It is the judges' responsibility to narrow down the contestants to the top 48 breaking them into groups of 12 for each of the four judges. Hill didn't let that stop her as she sung her heart out to the Mary J. Blige song "I'm going down."
What happened from there is still unbelievable to her.

"It was the best day of my life," Hill said. "So many thoughts were running through my head, but none of them mattered anymore when Christiana turned around. My dream had come true."

Little did Hill know that she was in for another incredible surprise.

"Christina told me that I made her group and wanted to get on stage and sing with me," she said. "Next thing I knew the producers were handing her a red microphone, and I had the amazing honor of singing the chorus of the song with her."

Karen, her mother, remembers the moment well.

"We were all in the room for the family jumping up and down screaming," Karen said. "Her father, brother and I were so proud of her. We knew how much this meant to her."

After that the contestants are flown back and forth from their hometowns to California to do interviews and meet-and-greets for the show. Before the battle rounds, Hill was flown out to Los Angles for another three weeks to do interviews promoting the show.

"It's a lot of fun, but you do get homesick." Hill said. "There were many nights that I called my mom in tears, because I was scared. I kept telling myself I wasn't good enough for the show therefore I was just wasting my time. My mom helped me by always being there for me and encouraging me by reminding me I was worth all of this, and I wasn't wasting my time."

When it was time for the battle rounds between the contestants, Hill was paired with Geoff McBride. They sang "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin. Fans have commented and said that the pair didn't sound like they were in a battle at all but more like an amazing duo.

"That's how we wanted it to be," Hill said. "We were determined we weren't going to try to out-sing the other one but just put on an amazing show for our fans."

After much deliberation, Aguilera chose Hill to continue through the top 24.

"I was sad to see Geoff go, but he made me promise him to make him proud," Hill said. "That's what I plan to do."

During the live shows coming up, Hill hopes to sing hits from Drake, Beyonce and Rihanna.

"Christina sits down with us and helps us choose songs that she thinks will make a good impression on the audience," Hill said. "It's strange for me, because I grew up listening to her all my life and here she is giving me advice. Getting to know her has been an enormous honor."

Hill said the best advice Aguilera has given her is to never get comfortable on the show and to stay hungry in the business.

"It has been something that I have taken to heart," she said.

In the future, Hill would love to sing another song with Aguilera and even work with Lady Gaga, Beyonce or Kanye West.

"All of this is just depending on the votes of the public, and God's will for my life. I just keep praying that He takes me where he wants me. That's all I can ask."