Detroit singer secures spot on NBC's 'The Voice'

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

A Detroit singer with a silky smooth "Motown" sound will compete on this season of "The Voice" after being tapped to be a part of crooner John Legend's team during Monday's episode on NBC.

Rio Souma, 28, performed Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Cruisin'" as part of the blind auditions for "The Voice." Three of the four judges turned their chairs to add Souma to their team.

"Rio, you have an incredible gift," said judge Kelly Clarkson. "You took a song that is a classic to this real place. The thing that impresses me most is when vocalists go to places I just wouldn’t think of. It just makes for a very intriguing performance because not many people are capable of that."

Rio Souma of Detroit performed the Motown classic, "Cruisin'," on Monday's episode of "The Voice."

Souma, who describes himself as a singer-songwriter, called Monday's experience "surreal."

"But as surreal as it feels, it is just a daily reminder that God is real and he is able," said Souma in a post on Facebook. "And so are you."

During his audition, Souma said he was inspired to sing by the 1993 movie, "Sister Act 2." 

Legend said "Cruisin'" is one of his favorite songs but when Souma sang it, "you made it truly your own. "

"You are a phenomenal vocalist," said Legend. "I would love to be your coach."

"The Voice," now in its 19th season, airs Mondays and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.