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Christa Lawler, Forum Communications, Published December 17 2012

Duluth family, friends cheer for 'Voice' finalist Nicholas David

DULUTH, Minn. - He wore a gold jacket, played a flaming piano and at the end of his Buddy Holly-Jimi Hendrix mix, Nicholas David performed a series of rock ‘n’ roll kicks that sent part of his technical gear flying off his body.

The Twin Cities-based musician — whose real name is David Mrozinski — played up his fun side Monday night during the finale of the NBC-TV show “The Voice.” The performance was the final one for contestants to attempt to win audience votes. The winner of the reality-talent show will be announced during a two-hour special that airs at 7 p.m. today on NBC.

The moves probably aren’t familiar but the musician might be. Mrozinski has played a handful of Duluth venues, recorded a celebrated album with local musician Teague Alexy and his aunt and uncle own a Lincoln Park diner.

“It’s so exciting,” said Jaima Hanson, who co-owns the Duluth Grill and is Mrozinski’s godmother. “I can’t believe it. I knew he would go someplace. It’s exciting to see him up there and how well he’s doing.”

Jaima and her husband Tom Hanson visited Los Angeles a few weeks ago to surprise Mrozinski. They were part of the audience for an early episode. Mrozinski was in their restaurant in the fall and attracted a bit of attention from fans.

Mrozinski, a regular in the Minnesota music scene, is getting a lot of attention for his quirky attire, his wild beard and his low and smooth voice. Hanson said audiences are getting an authentic version.

“That’s Nick,” she said. “He’s always dressed like that, he’s always acted like that. He just kind of takes anyone he’s with in. He’s got this big deep voice, it’s very warm. You feel relaxed around him.”

Mrozinski has been coached by Cee Lo Green. He advanced to the finals by singing “You Are So Beautiful” to his fiancée and two children.

Adam Levine critiqued the performance, saying “You’re one of the most soulful people. I like you, man.” Green, who got a little teary, called it “so heartfelt, so beautiful.”

Alexy has known Mrozinski for almost a decade and recorded his 2006 album “The New Folklore” with Mrozinski’s band The Feelin’. Alexy said he played more than a handful of shows with Mrozinski, including back-to-back Homegrown Music Festivals in the mid-2000s. He last saw Mrozinski in October when they both played a bluegrass festival in Winona, Minn., but they’ve been in touch through “The Voice.”

“I told him to be ready for the unexpected,” Alexy said. “And then I told him that there was no need to tell him that. He was ready. The last time I saw him, he was a strong version of himself. He was fine.”

Other finalists include Terry McDermott and Cassadee Pope.