Surprise, it’s Cierra Mickens

Local reality star performs at her hometown talent show


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Gruening alumnus and Voice contestant Cierra Mickens is surrounded by her fans at the Gruening Middle School Talent Show May 9.

MICHAEL DINNEEN

Oh, my!

Things were rocking in the Gruening Middle School multipurpose room when Cierra Mickens made a surprise visit to the school’s talent show last week.

Yes, Cierra Mickens! In the flesh!

And she’s even more adorable, friendly and warm in person than when she competed on NBC’s “The Voice” reality show.

Wearing a black and white plaid skirt with a snazzy-bright red jacket, Mickens brought a sophisticated pizzazz to the show.

When she opened her mouth to sing, cellphone cameras flashed nonstop.

Because, come on, it’s not often that Eagle River folks get a chance to take selfies with someone whose TV image was blared into millions of living rooms during the course of her “The Voice” stint.

For those who didn’t keep up or don’t remember (as if anyone could forget), Mickens auditioned on “The Voice” and was chosen by three judges: Shakira, Usher and Blake.

“The Voice” is a singing competition similar to “American Idol” where the judges turn their chairs away during auditions so that physical appearances don’t sway votes.

Mickens was saved (or stole, as “The Voice” lingo calls it) in the first battle rounds by Usher and lost in the second round of battles.

But forget that, what matters is that she was there, she followed her dreams, she made it to a level unreachable to most.

As Mickens sang, her sparkly necklace flashed in the light, her powerful voice rising up through the air until you could almost feel it humming against your skin.

After she belted out Gnarls Barkely’s “Crazy,” which was her “The Voice” audition song, she answered student questions and then hung around, chatting and posing for selfies with the crowd.

Essence Dykes and Kayla Hawkins, who both sang in the talent show, thought it was “really cool” to meet Mickens.

“I watched her on ‘The Voice,’” Dykes said excitedly.

“She’s really cool. And she smells really good, too,” Hawkins said.

Victoria Otte, who taught Mickens when she was a student and arranged for her to visit the school, found the singer as gracious and unpretentious as ever.

“She’s so down-to-earth and community-minded,” she said. “During the (talent) show she stayed backstage with the kids and cheered them on.”

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