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Three former contestants of ‘The Voice’ to sing, tell stories at state fair

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SYRACUSE — Three former contestants of NBC’s “The Voice” will tell stories and sing at the Midway Music Series stage at the Great New York State Fair’s opening night, Thursday, Aug. 21.

The performers — season three runner-up Terry McDermott, and season five’s Caroline Pennell and Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith of Boonville, Oneida County — will perform some of their songs beginning at 7:30 p.m. and then hold a meet-and-greet with fans.

“The stories and songs are sure to appeal to anyone who’s ever dreamed of singing on stage,” acting state fair director Troy Waffner said in a release.

Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith was born and raised in Boonville, where he sang and entertained throughout grade school and high school. After graduating in 1999, he joined the Army. During a deployment to Iraq, an IED explosion caused him to lose most of the hearing in one ear. He completed 138 missions in Iraq as part of a personal security detail.

In 2001, he taught himself to play guitar. After returning from the war, he resumed playing in a duo with a friend and played in a second band. Mr. Smith auditioned for season five of “The Voice” in 2013 and made it to Team CeeLo with his rendition of Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried.” He was eliminated in the Battle Round.

Terry McDermott, a Scottish-born American recording artist, has been part of several bands but in 2012, he came to prominence as the runner-up of the third season of “The Voice.”

Mr. McDermott performs with his band, Terry McDermott and The Bonfires. In August 2011, he was invited to audition for “The Voice.” His performance of The Who hit “Baba O’Riley,” caused three of the four judges, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton, to hit the “I Want You” button. Mr. McDermott chose Team Blake.

Upon reaching the finals, he had seven of the top 10 (including all of the top five) songs on the iTunes Rock Chart.

Caroline Pennell is a young singer-songwriter from Saddle River, N.J. She brings tone and artistry to her vocal performances in the mold of Adele, Norah Jones, Ellie Goulding and Ingrid Michaelson. She was featured on season five of “The Voice,” where she was one of the top eight performers.

Ms. Pennell’s solo debut EP, “The Race,” is available on iTunes and other music sites.

The fair runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. The Midway Music Series is sponsored by Time Warner Cable.

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