KARE-11's Eric Perkins renamed the Mall of America's amusement park "Nicholas Universe" on Thursday, when Nicholas David Mrozinski -- a finalist on NBC's singing contest "The Voice" -- made a brief noontime appearance there in front of a few thousand hometown fans with a network camera crew in tow. It was the Eagan-reared singer's first trip home since the live rounds of the hit TV competition began in early October.

"It's like I'm walking in a dream right now," Mrozinski, 32, told Perkins before receiving a proclamation from Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire and a rah-rah cheer from Eagan High School Principal Polly Reikowski. Wearing the thick sunglasses that earned him a friendly jab from "Voice" coach Blake Shelton on TV ("I didn't know you were blind") the thickly bearded father of two said of his success on the show, "It just goes to show you what happens if you truly follow your dreams."

After a few more minutes of talking, the crowd finally got to hear the voice. Mrozinski sang two of the R&B classics that served him well on the show, Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." He immediately returned to Los Angeles after the appearance Thursday. Asked by Perkins what his plans were for Monday's show, Mrozinski quickly replied, "I can't tell you."


SEE Sunday's Variety section for an interview with Nicholas David