Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752,
Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

July 10, 2014

Former “The Voice” Stars Perform at State Fair’s Midway Music Stage

It’s a night with three former contestants of “The Voice,” who will tell their stories and sing their songs at the Midway Music Series stage at the Great New York State Fair on opening night, Thursday, August 21, at 7:30 p.m., State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner announced today.

The performers – season three runner-up Terry McDermott, and season five’s Caroline Pennell and Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith of Boonville, Oneida County – will perform some of their songs, then hold a meet-and-greet with fans.

Shawn "Big Sexy" Smith was born and raised in Boonville, where he sang and entertained throughout grade school and high school. After graduating in 1999, he joined the Army.  During a deployment to Iraq, an IED explosion caused him to lose most of the hearing in one ear.  He completed 138 missions in Iraq as part of a personal security detail.  In 2001, Smith picked up a guitar and taught himself to play. After returning from the war, Smith resumed playing in a duo with a friend and played in a second band.  The work paid off.  Smith auditioned for NBC's The Voice season 5 in 2013 and made it to Team CeeLo with his rendition of Zac Brown Band’s "Chicken Fried". Shawn was eliminated in the Battle Round.

Terry McDermott is a Scottish-born American recording artist. He has been part of a number of bands but in 2012, he came to prominence as the runner-up of the third season of the American version of The Voice.  Formerly of Geffen recording artists Driveblind and Lotus Crush, McDermott currently performs with his band, Terry McDermott and The Bonfires.  In August of 2011, Terry was invited to audition for Season 3 of The Voice.  His performance of the hit “Baba O’Riley,” by The Who, caused three of the four judges, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton, to hit the “I Want You” button.  Terry chose Team Blake.  Upon reaching the finals, Terry had seven of the top 10 (including all of the top five) songs on the iTunes Rock Chart.

Caroline Pennell is a young singer-songwriter from Saddle River, New Jersey. She brings a unique phrasing, tone and artistry to her vocal performances, in the mold of Adele, Norah Jones, Ellie Goulding, and Ingrid Michaelson. She has achieved great success and a loyal fan base early in her musical career. Caroline was featured on season 5 of The Voice, where she joined the Top 8 performers. Caroline’s solo debut EP, The Race, is available on iTunes and other music purchase and streaming sites.

“The Midway Music Series stage continues to find compelling personalities and performances.  Fans of ‘The Voice’ will enjoy this evening of entertainment, but the stories and songs are sure to appeal to anyone who’s ever dreamed of singing on stage,” said Waffner.

The Midway Music Series is sponsored by Time Warner Cable.

This is the second reality show night scheduled for the stage, joining the Sunday, August 31 appearances by couples who competed on the long-running CBS adventure program “The Amazing Race.”  The rest of the lineup for the stage consists of musical performances, which will be announced shortly.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 21 – September 1, 2014.  The Fair’s mission, reflected in its 2014 theme, “Summer’s Best in Show,” is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.  This year’s tagline – “New Attractions, Old Favorites, Timeless Fun” – highlights the more than two dozen new events and attractions and the expansion or enhancement of several Fairgoer favorites.

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast’s most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website.  Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, and enjoy photos from the Fair at Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at

2014 Press Releases