Hawaii residents can once again cheer for one of their own on NBC’s “The Voice” this season.
Ciana Pelekai, a 20-year-old former Waianae resident who now lives in Las Vegas, will be coached by multiple award-winning musician John Legend for at least the next round of the televised talent contest, which is in its 20th season. Thunderstorm Artis and Joseph Soul, both of whom hail from Hawaii, have competed in the show in the past two seasons, with Artis reaching the finals in Season 18.
In a blind audition that aired tonight, Legend turned his chair around for Pelekai just seconds into her soulful intro to “Dance Monkey,” a hit by Australian pop artist Tones and I.
“You have a cool tone,” Legend said. “You have a good sense of rhythm and pocket. You have range. You have charisma.”
Pelekai was also selected by pop artist Nick Jonas, but Legend blocked him. Jonas later said he hoped to steal Pelekai later in the season.
Shortly after her performance aired, Legend welcomed Pelekai to his team on Twitter.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) March 9, 2021
Pelekai has been making the rounds on talent shows for many years, appearing on “America’s Got Talent” as an 8-year-old in 2009 and making the quarterfinals of the show in 2013. She’s also a veteran of the pageant circuit, winning Miss Hawaii Teen America and the national Miss Teen America crown in 2017.
She now lives in Las Vegas but, prior to the pandemic, frequently returned to the islands. She appeared in the musical “A Timeless Princess” at the Mamiya Theatre in 2019. She has released two singles: “Bluff” in 2019 and “What’s Wrong With Love” in 2020.
Watch Pelekai compete on this season of “The Voice” at 7 p.m. Mondays on NBC.
Follow her on Instagram at @officiallyciana.