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From ‘Curly Sue’ to Bona Fide ‘Voice’ Star

The former child actress and mother of two won ‘The Voice’ this week thanks in part to a rousing rendition of a Barbra Streisand classic

Jonathan Zalman
May 26, 2016

A couple months ago, Alisan Porter killed it during her blind audition on NBC’s The Voice, singing “Blue Bayou” by Roy Orbison and Linda Ronstadt. Then she sang The Mamas & the Papas, followed by Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin, even throwing in some Aerosmith and The Eagles along the way. The longer Porter stayed on the show, the closer she came to shedding her previous image as the child star of ‘Curly Sue,’ and pushing forward into a new one: simply, as Alisan Porter, winner of The Voice.

Here’s Porter, who’s Jewish, singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story, which Barbra Streisand put on The Broadway Album in 1985, in the live finale on Tuesday.

As you see, she’s got the chops. And Porter, a mother of two who has battled addiction, took ‘The Voice’ crown.

Porter, a Worcester, Massachusetts native, appeared on Star Search when she was five years old and was involved in theater from a young age. After being cast in the role of Bebe in a production of A Chorus Line in 2006, Porter said:

I feel like I am her. She’s Jewish and I’m Jewish. She comes from Boston and I come from Worcester. She’s a dancer and I’m a dancer. She connects with ballet and I connect with ballet. She has crashes on boys, and I have a crush on a boy. She deals with an issue—whether she will ever be good enough to make people proud. And I think every woman deals with that issue.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.