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Waterford's Tony Lucca buzzes over joining "The Voice"
Tony Lucca says his cell phone and all of his social media accounts were "just going crazy" on Monday, Feb. 6 -- the day after he appeared on the inaugural episode of the second season of NBC's "The Voice."
The Pontiac-born singer-songwriter, who returned to Waterford with his family this summer after living in Hollywood for years, joined "The Voice" judge Adam Levine's team on Sunday, Feb. 5, after all four judges turned their chairs around to recruit him for their teams. That included Christina Aguilera, who Lucca worked with on Disney's "The Mickey Mouse Club" from 1991-94.
"For me, it's not even so much about winning (the competition)," Lucca, 36, said on Monday. "Even after just (Sunday) night, the exposure has been remarkable. It's happening so fast, I'm having a tough time keeping up with it."
Sunday's episode of "The Voice" was actually taped during late October, while Lucca and other contestants chosen for the teams will go through "battle rounds" until the live finale in May. "I'd have to walk away from (the show) and just zip it up and go about my business as though it wasn't going on," explains Lucca, who was raised in Waterford and attended Pine Knob Elementary School, Sashabaw Junior High School and Clarkston High School -- thought the later was "intermittent" because of his "Mickey Mouse Club" role.
"They've given us a pretty strict script to stick to as far as what we are at liberty to discuss and not for the sake of preserving the suspense and the integrity of it. It's been an exercise in confidentiality."
After "The Mickey Mouse Club" -- whose cast also included Britney Spears, members of *NSYNC and actress Kerri Russell -- Lucca tried his hand at acting, including a role on "Malibu Shores" as well as in commercials. He started a music career and has been recording ever since, releasing nine albums and five EPs.
He acknowledged a certain resentment towards reality shows such as "American Idol" over the years. "You're slaving away at a career as an independent artist, really trying to make a name and going 'This is crap!' while you're watching these kids getting plucked out of obscurity and turned into an overnight sensation," Lucca explained. "It was frustrating." But when he was recruited to audition for "The Voice" during the summer, shortly after he moved back to the area with his wife Rachel, son Liam and daughter Sparrow, he decided to set aside "my stubborn, 'my way or the highway' attitude and say, 'Let's see where this road leads -- and do it enthusiastically."
"I watched just enough of ('The Voice') last year to see they're looking for semi-established or former professional artists, people with a story," Lucca said. "I said, 'Well...I have a pretty cool story. I'm able to make some noise on a show like this. Let's do this.' "
Lucca was "relieved" when Levine turned his chair around quickly as the singer performed Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble," quickly followed by Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo Green -- the latter after Levine encouraged him to make it unanimous. But Lucca was a bit "taken aback" that Aguilera didn't seem to recognize or remember him at first, though after he left the stage she followed and gave him a hug, chatting with Rachel and Liam, who had accompanied Lucca to the audition.
"That flipped me out," Lucca recalled. "I guess it's been awhile. We're all growed up now. But it was great that at the end of the day she came in and wanted to go down memory lane."
That included telling Lucca, in front of his wife, that Spears had a crush on him during their "Mickey Mouse Club" days.
"That was pretty hilarious," Lucca said. "My wife got the biggest kick out of that. She's the coolest; she'd have to be to put up with the life I've taken her on. But she totally got it. She thought that was phenomenal."
Nevertheless, Lucca said that was his presence on the show gives "The Voice" another good story, he felt choosing to be on Aguilera's team would have "muddied the waters a little bit." Levine -- who enthusiastically pitched Lucca to join him -- has proven to be a good choice.
"I can say that he's a very no nonsense kind of dude, exactly as he appears," Lucca said. "He's been very clear about what he thinks are good calls for me to make. He's not talking down to me. He's never had to placate me. We've both been at this for awhile, both seen every side of the business, so there's no need to complicate things with pretense or B.S. It's sort of like instant shorthand, basically. I really dig that, and I think that's what he enjoys about it as well."
Of course, the world won't know how Lucca fares on the show for a few more months. But even after just one episode he said he already feels like a winner.
"Regardless of what happens after (Sunday) night, I feel like this has already helped put my name out there a little further and into a few more living rooms than it has before," he explained. "It's not the kind of thing where if I don't (win), I'm giving up on music. I'll always go back to writing songs, making records, touring, playing songs for people.
"I would like to think I could add some zeros to...everything from ticket sales to record sales, so we'll see how it goes. I'm just very excited."
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