Holmes: Holme Town Star

Katie Xu, Reporter

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Move aside, Jon Hamm and Ellie Kemper. The pantheon of famous Burroughs students might be adding a new face. Kennedy Holmes ‘23 auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” this summer, a singing competition where a panel of four judges (this season, composed of Blake Shelton, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine) blindly listen to singers. If they like the contestant, the judges may press a big red button to turn their chair to face the performer. At the end of the performance, the coaches that turned try to win the favor of the contestant, and ultimately the singer decides which coach they want to be on the team of.

In the two-hour season premiere in late September, Holmes’ performance was alone in turning all four chairs. One by one, the judges expressed their amazement. “What?” Clarkson yelled after Holmes revealed her age. Shelton, thanking her for joining the show “because our ratings are going to shoot through the roof,” called her “the best vocalist [to audition] this year.” “You are amazing,” Hudson said. “You are gifted.” Finally, Levine predicted that she could be “the absolute biggest thing to ever come from this show.”

“You deserved every one of these chairs turning around, girl,” Clarkson exclaimed. “You sound so beautiful.”

When asked to describe it, Holmes said, “My experience on “The Voice” was very surreal. I’d have to say it was the best moment of my life.” To compete on this show is a feat any aspiring singer would only dream of, and when NBC recently lowered the age restriction to thirteen, Holmes jumped at the chance. “My mother and I, at the time, were looking for something that would help my career take off, and the voice seemed to be something that would do the trick.” And that it did. Holmes’s blind audition, which also included a duet with Jennifer Hudson, obtained over 4.5 million views in less than two weeks after being posted on the show’s YouTube channel. And when the season premiere aired on TV, audiences found out that Holmes chose Jennifer Hudson as her coach.

While many Burroughs students are still wondering what to do with their lives, Holmes already has some ideas. “In the future, I would like to do everything, honestly. I want to make my own music and do collaborations with people like Drake and Beyoncé. But I also want to do TV and film with people like Tyler Perry and also things on Broadway,” she says. While that may seem ambitious, Holmes benefits from being a “triple threat,” as it’s known in Hollywood. She doesn’t just sing; she dances, a lot. “Jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet, hip hop, it all helps me to not be so afraid to perform and get more comfortable with being on stage.” Holmes also acts. She has been performing with the Muny for years now.

Fellow students were quick to sing her praises when asked about the up-and-coming performer. “I honestly love her so much. This probably sounds corny, but sis brings joy to my life every time I see her,” Lindzy Okafor ’20 said. “Like I know she’s younger than me, but I wanna be like her when I grow up.” Leyla Fern King ‘21 adds: “Kennedy is the type of person that you feel like you know immediately after meeting her. I remember seeing and interacting with her for the first time when she was in seventh grade and thinking she was so cool. When I was in middle school I was nowhere as cool as her. It’s actually kind of unfair how cool she is.”

One of Holmes’ good friends, Jazzy Rayner ‘21, recalls her first interactions with her. “When I first met Ken, she was so outgoing and full of energy that we instantly clicked, and haven’t separated since. Literally every time we see each other we laugh and start dancing on site! She’s such a beautiful and amazing person and I’m so proud of what she’s already accomplished. She really deserves it because she is such a spirit-filled person and is always so nice and optimistic. I absolutely love her to death and I’m so glad I can call her my sister.”

But Holmes’ classmates aren’t the only ones excited about her success. Holmes was also brought up when Hudson visited “The Ellen Show” last month. “You have a good shot at winning with her,” Ellen DeGeneres predicted. “She’s amazing.”

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Holmes: Holme Town Star