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Well, “America’s Got Talent” got it wrong.
Before Long Island’s Carter Rubin won Season 19 of “The Voice” on Tuesday night — becoming, at 15, the youngest male champ of NBC’s singing-competition juggernaut — he was rejected when he auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” in 2017.
“I’m honestly so happy I didn’t make it,” the Shoreham, NY, crooner told The Post. “Now I won ‘The Voice,’ and I feel like this is where I belong, and I’m thriving.”
After Harlem’s Just Sam captured the “American Idol” title in May, Rubin brought another trophy home for New York as the first winner from Team Gwen — Stefani, of course — on “The Voice.” But because of COVID-19 protocols, he and his coach had to hold back from a big victory hug.
“It’s so hard — you kinda just have to air-hug from a distance,” said Rubin. “But even if we couldn’t hug, we were able to build such a close bond.” In fact, he added, “We made jokes about how I have my real mom, and I also have my ‘Voice’ mom.”
Rubin picked Stefani as his coach after both she and John Legend turned their chairs for him during the blind auditions. He ended up feeling hella good about choosing the former No Doubt frontwoman: “One thing I’ve learned from her is that it’s OK to be myself … because there’s no one else like me — and I have to own that.”
With his pure-toned pipes and dimpled charm, Rubin brought Stefani to tears when he sang “Rainbow Connection” in a moving performance that sent him to the “Voice” finale. The song was dedicated to his older brother Jack, 19, who has autism. “He is, like, the most kind, positive, caring and loving person you’ll ever know,” said Rubin, whose mom Alonna founded the charity Families in Arms to help parents with autistic children.
Music runs in Rubin’s family: Both his brother Jack and his father David, who works in finance, play the drums. And his grandfather Ric Mango once sang with the ’60s group Jay and the Americans (“This Magic Moment”). “He can’t talk about me without starting to cry,” said Rubin of his proud grandpa.
While he may still be too young to drive, the teen prodigy said, “I have kinda been singing forever.” His experience opening for local bands, performing in LI restaurants and appearing in school productions helped prepare him for “The Voice.” Still, singing without an audience during this COVID-altered season wasn’t easy.
“I thrive off of a live audience; it gives you an adrenaline rush,” said Rubin. “So it’s definitely tough when it’s just you, the four coaches and the virtual audience because there’s no cheering or anything. You can hear a pin drop. It’s a little more intimidating.”
Even while staying with his mom in Los Angeles for “The Voice,” Rubin could feel the hometown love. “They were wearing Team Carter T-shirts and hanging up banners with my face on it,” he said. “They all really rallied behind me, and I could not be more grateful.”
The 10th-grader — who will return to Shoreham-Wading River HS in January — is also grateful for being artistic rather than athletic, even if he got bullied for it. “I am a little different from the average teenage boy, so I would get picked on here and there,” said Rubin, “but I’ve learned that being unique is not a bad thing. It’s a really beautiful thing.”
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