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McConnaughay spotlights every day hero: Riley Elmore, Season 11 contestant on The Voice

This month, Senator McConnaughay spotlights West Dundee’s Riley Elmore, who is competing on this season of NBC’s popular music competition show, The Voice.

Elmore was recently seen on the “Blind Auditions” episode that aired September 19. His rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra caught the attention of the show’s judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, leaving the decision to Elmore which voice coach he wanted to compete with.

To sway him, Levine starting the coaching process early by offering some points of improvement for his stage presence and emphasized his tremendous potential. Levine then unexpectedly got on stage to sing with Elmore to help him relax and interact with the crowd.  After the two celebrities made their pitches, Elmore knew Levine was the right fit.

Despite the thousands of audience members and millions watching on television, Elmore was totally at ease on stage.

“I was so ready to go,” said Elmore. “You’re not nervous when you know you’re prepared. You could ask my mom—I could’ve ran on that stage.” “It was also a little numbing that it was really happening to me—like when I watched the episode back, I had no idea I winked at Adam when he turned his chair. I don’t remember doing that at all!”

The 16-year-old junior at Dundee-Crown High School started singing in the eighth grade when he auditioned for a role in his first musical, Beauty and the Beast. Elmore’s teachers and peers immediately took notice of his singing talent and unique voice, and going into high school, he was motivated to get serious about pursuing music.

As a next step, his freshman year, he volunteered to sing “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls in front of his music class and the choir director. The influence of his distinctive jazz-style voice tone earned him a spot singing for the school’s jazz band, and, as part of his training, he enrolled in Dundee Crown’s voice lessons.

Following his national exposure on NBC, Elmore says his life has already changed for the better and he couldn’t be happier. He’s starting to get more notoriety in his career, but is still focused on high school and his family life in West Dundee.

His advice to young singers and musicians is to be unique and use it to their advantage. He found his own voice and style and is very strategic about song choices and interpretation.

Follow Elmore’s journey on NBC’s The Voice on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CT. To watch his blind audition that aired in September, go to   

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