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ILLINOIS WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

Illinois Wesleyan professor eliminated from 'The Voice'

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Melinda Rodriguez, an adjunct professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, performs during "Blind Auditions" Episode 1703 of "The Voice" on NBC. 

BLOOMINGTON — Despite a performance that won praise from judges, an Illinois Wesleyan University adjunct professor's quest to win “The Voice” has come to an end.

Melinda Rodriguez, who teaches jazz vocal ensemble at IWU, was eliminated in a “knockout” round broadcast Monday night on NBC.

Competitors are on “teams” led by each of the four judges and, in the show aired Monday, team members were pitted against each other.

Rodriguez was on Kelly Clarkson's team.

Clarkson described Rodriguez as a “gifted, intricate singer” and said after her performance, “You nailed it.” But she chose Jake Hoot to move forward.

Another judge, John Legend, who tried to “steal” her from Clarkson's team earlier, called it her “best performance” and said, “You hit it out of the park.”

Rodriquez said after her elimination that “the whole experience has been so amazing.”

And she had good news to share, as well.

Her brother Cris, who was shown on during an earlier show, received a heart transplant during the taping of the show and “is fully recovered,” she said.

This was her brother's second heart transplant. She was visiting him in the hospital when his first transplanted heart started to fail and he convinced her to go to an open audition.

Rodriguez sang a Mariah Carey song, “Always Be My Baby,” and said, “This song goes out to my brother.”

In addition to teaching at IWU, Rodriguez teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is studying for her master's degree.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Overall enrollment at Illinois Wesleyan University is down a little over 3 percent this fall, with 1,636 students compared to 1,693 a year ago. IWU reported an incoming class of 446, a big drop from last year's incoming class of 540. 

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