Spencer native Casey Muessigmann's performance of "Sweet Home Alabama" on The Voice's blind auditions, broadcast nationwide Tuesday evening, earned him an opportunity to do the very thing he had hoped for.
"I walked into this competition wanting one thing and that was to make great country music with Blake Shelton," Muessigmann told the national audience as he chose the country artist to coach him on the show.
Sporting a black hat, black shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots -- something Shelton quickly picked up on as Muessigmann took the stage -- Muessigmann made the song his, turning Shelton's chair shortly into the audition number. While his performance got strong reviews, it was a simple hand gesture that ruled the night.
"I think your voice is very strong," Shelton told him before the selection, "and you do have that southern rock element also, but I'll tell you something else, that a** spanking you were doing up there really had me ... I was loving that."
Muessigmann had to laugh regarding the focus on his hip slapping.
"I wish I could say it's something funny or witty, but I was just keeping time with the music. I just slapped my hip and then all of a sudden, boom," Muessigmann said, by phone call from his current home in Tennessee. "I'm just afraid I'm going to show up on Tosh.O."
Cee Lo, who didn't offer a comment on the slapping, said, "It was a classic southern rock and roll song. You gave it that country kind of swagger. But it had soul to it. It is more like a fusion. It didn't seem like one thing. I'm not just one thing so it interested me."
Since his debut, Muessigmann's social media following has exploded.
"This is nuts. Before Tuesday night, I had 650 Twitter followers, now I'm over 1,800 and Facebook is about the same thing. It's insane," he said.
"I'm trying to keep up with everyone. I'm one of those people who want to respond to everyone who supports me. I want them to know how much I appreciate them having my back."
Casey was joined on the show by his mother and father, Gina and Jon; his grandmother, Vicki Schwarting; and long time friend, Trent Witt.
"I couldn't think of anybody else I would rather share that with. My family there, and having my best friend there, knowing they were there watching me, meant the most to me," Muessigmann said.
Jon Muessigmann, his father, said it's been an interesting ride so far.
"Everybody wants some information on what's happening," the elder Muessigmann said. "He had to go to Chicago to audition. They had it at the McCormick Center and there were huge lines. It's all done by invite. They would bring him into a room and give him 30 or 60 seconds to do acapella. I bet we waited five hours. He came down the escalator with red ticket."
At that point the family had to sign "secrecy papers" according to Jon Muessigmann. "It kind of got hairy on what you could say and do regarding his involvement with the show."
He said watching his son live out his dream during the blind auditions made the family "very teary."
"It's a very big step," Casey's father said. "No matter what happens on The Voice, me and my wife couldn't pay the price to get the national support he's going to get. This kind of national exposure is nothing we could ever provide."
The Spencer singer acknowledged the talent in the pool of singers. "I've never been around this many talented people in my life. They are all so gifted."
"The whole experience is just amazing. Knowing that Bake Shelton turned around, that's a big feather in the cap when you're chasing your dream," Muessigmann said.
He added, "It's like I've been holding my hand up in the air for a long time and I finally got the high five."