From 'Bailamos' to the battle rounds

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By Christopher Clair for Iowa Now

Michael Lynch
Michael Lynch
(photo courtesy of NBC)

Michael Lynch began his “blind audition” on NBC’s The Voice alone on the stage. By the time his 90-second audition was over, three coaches had hit their “I Want You” buttons, and Lynch soon found himself in the midst of an impromptu dancing duet with his new mentor, pop sensation Christina Aguilera.

Lynch, a University of Iowa alumnus with degrees in Spanish and communication and a minor in music, hit a home run with his rendition of Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailamos.” He spurned Blake Shelton and Cee-Lo Green to join Aguilera’s team; clearly thrilled with Lynch’s decision, Aguilera called for a mic, joined Lynch on stage, and the two launched a joyful reprise.

This was Lynch’s second attempt on The Voice; he tried out during the previous season but failed to get past the preliminary screenings in Chicago. “That time, in the second round, the casting director told me to keep practicing and to come back,” he says. “I told myself I would make it to that big stage someday.”

And when he did make it to the big stage, he gave the coaches quite a surprise: that a through-and-through Irish lad was knocking out Spanish lyrics as if they were second nature. But singing in Spanish is no gimmick. It comes from years of study and immersion; “a true love for the language,” as Lynch puts it.

Lynch began learning Spanish during his first year of high school in Chicago. Around the same time, he started working on a landscaping crew that employed several Hispanic men. “What I was learning in school, I put into conversational practice at work,” Lynch says.

Spanish was definitely in the plans when Lynch came to the UI. He studied abroad twice during his undergraduate years: once for eight weeks in Guanajuato, Mexico, with a number of students from Big Ten schools; and again for a semester in Seville, Spain.

Read the full story and see a video of Michael at Iowa Now

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