Pittsburgh's James Wolpert wins knockout round, moves on to live shows on 'The Voice'

by: Carly Noel Updated:

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PITTSBURGH - Former Carnegie Mellon University student and Pittsburgh Apple employee James Wolpert is moving on to the live rounds on NBC’s “The Voice.”

On Tuesday, Wolpert performed “More Than a Feeling” by Boston against Juhi’s rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” 

Wolpert knocked out Juhi, whom he called a friend in an interview prior to the knockout round.

“I am going up against my really good friend from the show, Juhi. She is an amazing performer, especially for a 16-year-old. Our families are really close as a result of the show, so that is a completely different dynamic that I will have to overcome,” said Wolpert.

Last week during the battle round, Wolpert went up against fellow Team Adam Levine artist Will Champlin, singing Imagine Dragon's hit song "Radioactive." 

Levine declared Wolpert the winner of the battle.  Christina Aguilera used a “steal” on Champlin.

Wolpert was a coach favorite from the beginning.  All four coaches turned around for him during his audition performance of Jack White’s “Love Interruption.”

Wolpert said he is proud to represent Pittsburgh in the competition.

 “I get a chance to do them one proud and put our Shadyside Apple store on the map,” he said.

Wolpert's audition round included a video package that featured him talking about the Pittsburgh Apple store.  Christina Aguilera, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, tried to use her Steel City connection to get Wolpert on her team.

Wolpert went with Levine, who mentioned he also has a Pittsburgh connection.

Levine's best friend, Gene Hong, is from the Pittsburgh area and went to my alma mater, North Allegheny. Levine and I have chatted a bunch of times about Hong, who was a big NA basketball fan in high school.  Aguilera, a childhood friend of mine, was also in the North Allegheny School District for a couple years before becoming a star.

“I got this weird gut feeling that I would be a good fit for his team.  His pitch was really sincere.  I could tell that he really wanted me,” Wolpert said about Levine.

Wolpert is a 2009 graduate of Lampeter-Strasburg High School.  He attended CMU for two years. 

“My path before ‘The Voice’ was pretty conventional for kids my age.  I graduated from high school, and the next logical step was to go to college.  I was really into art at that time, so I went to Carnegie Mellon for art.  I was there for two years before I decided it really wasn’t for me.  I cut all of my losses and went on the music path.  I got myself a day job (at Apple) and tried to gig when I could,” he said.

While going to CMU and working Apple, Wolpert said he really enjoyed Pittsburgh.

“I love going to the Incline.   I love hanging out in Shadyside.  There are great bars around there.  I love hanging out at the Apple store because I’m a nerd.  I love going to the strip on Market Days.  My favorite restaurant to go to is Tamari,” he said.
Wolpert recently moved to Los Angeles for a fresh start.

WPXI and WPXI.com will continue to follow Wolpert’s progress on “The Voice.”  Check back on our website for performances, interviews and more.

 

 

Rob Johnston  also contributed to this report.