Happy Hour Welcomes The Voice Finalist to Pace


Kristen Merlin was part of Team Shakira for the sixth season of The Voice. She performed last week at Gottesman last week. Photo by Mayra Maradiaga/The Pace Chronicle.

MAYRA MARADIAGA, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Programming Board hosted its first female musician for this week’s Happy Hour event with Kristen Merlin, a former contestant on the hit television singing competition show The Voice, last Thur., March 3 in the Gottesman Room of the Kessel Student Center.

Accompanied by her guitar, Merlin performed renditions of popular songs as well as her own original songs.

Merlin included acoustic versions of well-known songs throughout her set. Songs included in the serenading of students were “Royals” by Lorde, Train’s “Marry Me,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” a mash up acoustic version of Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious” and Flo Rida’s “Low,” the radio hit “Cheerleader” by Omi, Grammy winning song “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, and Pink’s “Perfect.”

Audience members sang along with Merlin when she sang certain songs, such as Justin Bieber’s hit “Love Yourself,” and her on-the-spot a capella rendition of “Part Of Your World” from the Disney classic The Little Mermaid.

In between her cover songs and speaking to the audience, Merlin sang two original songs from her new EP coming out, “Forever With You” and “Sweetest Goodbye,” which will be available for download soon. Her first EP, released in January of 2015 is already available on iTunes.

The singer/songwriter, best known as a country singer, ended her set with an a capella rendition of Whitney Houston’s classic love song “I Will Always Love You,” which was requested by an audience member.

If she looked familiar to some, it is because Merlin was a contestant on the sixth season of The Voice.

Auditioning with the song “Something More” by country music group Sugarland, Merlin chose to be a part of Team Shakira, after she and Adam Levine both turned their chairs for her at the blind auditions.

After weeks on the show, the Massachusetts native ended up as part of the top five before being eliminated.

Merlin is very active on social media and can be followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (@kristenmerlin). Merlin has a Youtube page where she often posts covers of well-known songs as well as original content. To keep updated on her tour and when new music will be coming out, as well as getting the links to all her social media, kristenmerlin.com is the place to go.

Happy Hour is a weekly event held in the Kessel Student Center on Thursdays. The next show is being held on March 10 and the event spoken word poet Jinahie in Kessel’s Multipurpose Room at 8 p.m.