Justin Smithson is bandmates with Shawn Smith, a contestant on NBC's "The Voice." Both are members of the Utica-based band, Showtime, and also have their own due, Poor Tim.
Smithson said he met Smith, better known as "Big Sexy," when his band played at a restaurant where Smith worked as a waiter.
"We knew him as just the waiter 'Big Sexy,'" explained Smith. "That's all we knew him as. And one night, he happened to come up and ask me if he could borrow my guitar. I said 'sure.' And he just grabs it and starts playing this song by Jason Mraz, and it was unbelievable."
Smith has now been playing with Showtime for nearly ten years. Smithson said Bob Seward, owner of Dick Smith's Tavern in Utica, forced Smith to audition for "The Voice."
"He [Seward] basically just signed him up for it, and said...'You're going to try out for "The Voice" in New York City.''' explained Smithson.
Since auditioning, Smith has been barred from talking about virtually everything related to the show, leaving family and friends guessing to figure out his whereabouts.
"We never knew what he was doing or if he was actually going to L.A. or if he was doing over-the-phone interviews or if he just couldn't make the gig," said Smithson. "We had no idea."
Judge CeeLo Green picked Smith as the final contestant on his team during the show's blind auditions. Since the episode aired on Monday, Smith has been able to share limited information with his family and friends.
"Shawn's 6'4'', so he's a tall guy, but CeeLo's really short, and when they hugged, he told us how CeeLo put his head in his chest," said Smithson. "I mean, that's how short Ceelo was."
"Christina [Aguilera], he said, smells like strawberries and heaven," added Smithson.
Smithson said he does not know how well Smith is doing on the show, and will be learning about Smith's progress as each episode airs.