For most people in Booneville it isn’t often you see someone you truly know on national television. Even less often that you are related to them.
For David and Patsy Beckham, it’s becoming a regular occurrence. The Beckhams are even in Los Angeles today hoping to land tickets for a live performance of a to-be nationally televised episode of NBC’s The Voice today and or tomorrow for the show that will eventually whittle the four 12-act teams to a single winner.
The Beckhams — David has retired after coaching several sports at Booneville High School over three decades, but is back at the school in another capacity, and Patsy Beckham is a retired elementary school teacher — are the excited grandparents of Taylor Beckham, 17, who secured a spot on Team Usher on the fourth season of NBC’s The Voice in an episode that aired last Monday.
Taylor Beckham’s brother, Braxton, 12, had appeared on an episode of CBS’s NCIS the previous Tuesday.
Taylor and Braxton are the children of 1995 BHS graduates Brandon and Jana (Taylor) Beckham.
Though she has never attended Booneville Public Schools, as the offspring of two Booneville High School graduates and grandchild of two retired educators, Taylor Beckham is a household name here.
"The thing is the reaction of everybody. Taylor’s grown up here. She’s been to the school, to churches, to ball games, the grocery stores, people’s houses. It’s almost like Booneville is her home town.
"Booneville owns these kids. I can’t describe how well known they are because of all the connections."
Taylor has also performed here. She sang the National Anthem before a homecoming football game and, at age 11, was the intermission entertainment at the Mr. and Miss Booneville High School pageant.
"That was amazing. She had this big old homecoming mum on that touched the ground," David recalls of the National Anthem performance. For Karen (Halford) and Beth (Miesner) (at the Mr./Miss BHS pageant) one of the songs she sang was by Etta James, who died this year, called ‘At Last.’"
Facebook was all ablaze on the first night of The Voice auditions with locals inquiring as to whether they had missed Taylor singing, or if they had been given the wrong information. And Patsy Beckham saw her friend count explode.
"It’s been crazy wild," she said. "All of a sudden everybody I know wants to be my Facebook friend."
There was a potential problem with the selection round that would feature the girl with the local tie. Because she was not featured on night one that meant on the second night the show would be up against her brother on NCIS.
"A lot of people in Booneville were DVR-ing one show and watching the other," Patsy said last Wednesday. "I’m glad it was last night."
On the Tuesday show last week both Shakira and Usher — Blake Shelton and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 are the other coaches — turned their chairs around during Taylor’s audition, giving her not only one of the 48 spots, but an option.
"I was very taken back by how convincing Shakira was," Taylor said. "It was a difficult decision, she was very real with me but at the same time, so was Usher. And at the end of the day, I’m R&B and I think Usher can take me the farthest."
David uses a sports analogy.
"Once you get chosen it’s sort of like winning your first game at the regionals," he said. "You’re guaranteed to go to state, the pressure is off. I’m hoping she won’t be as nervous. She was nervous in the interviews."
David said he wasn’t surprised that Taylor went with Team Usher.
"She’s met him before and recorded in his studio in Atlanta when she was 12 or 13," said David.
Like Patsy, David said he feels Booneville could be home of the Taylor Beckham fan club.
"The town has really taken her under it’s wing," David agreed. "This is as probably as close to a home base as she has."
Through a whirlwind set of circumstances Taylor actually lives in California now — Brandon Beckham, an electrical engineer, left Texas Instruments in Dallas after 12 years and went to work as a senior engineer for Dr. Dre’s Beats company that makes headphones in Santa Monica.
Taylor auditioned for The Voice in Los Angeles and with Braxton — he has done several commercials, his grandfather beams while saying — needing transportation for acting work and Taylor busy with The Voice, the family gets stretched.
"It gets pretty hectic but it’s what I live for. I wouldn’t have it any other way," she said. "Absolutely love being everywhere at one, it’s a fun time. I enjoy it."
Oddly, that will slow life here in accordance with the NBC prime time schedule.
A schedule that, as Voice fans know, will progress to the call-in session, the Beckham’s home will burn up phone lines around here. For more information, visit www.nbc.com/the-voice.
Taylor is the granddaughter of A.G. and Peggy Beckham of Fort Smith, Billie Hays of Fort Smith, and Dr. Mike and Dianne Taylor of Sachse, Texas. Dr. Taylor is a former First Baptist Church minister in Booneville.