The Voice's Parijita Bastola on Being the Show's First Nepali-American Contestant: 'It's Super Cool'

Parijita Bastola is making history on The Voice.

The 17-year-old Severna Park, Maryland, resident is the first Nepali-American to compete on the NBC singing competition show — and she wants to make sure she's not the last.

"Nepal's not a country that most people know about, and there's not much Nepalese representation on TV or in media," Bastola told PEOPLE after Monday night's live show. "So I think it's super cool that I'm able to talk about my family and the clothes that I wear on the show. It's allowing me to be myself, and in doing so, I'm able to teach a lot of Americans about my culture and what I'm about."

The team John Legend contestant is the first of her family to be born in the United States. When political unrest began in Nepal, Bastola's dad decided to move the family for their safety. Over the past five years, Bastola has been gigging at restaurants and bars.

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During Monday night's live show, Bastola got a standing ovation from all four coaches (Camila Cabello, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani join Legend in the big red chairs this season) for her cover of Lady Gaga's "I'll Never Love Again" from A Star Is Born.

"That was so emotionally beautiful and honest, and it just pulled at everyone's heartstrings," Legend said after the performance. "You set a spell on all of us, and it was magical."

As she prepared to take the stage for her first live performance, Bastola said that her "adrenaline" was high.

"The lives definitely feel more intense," she said. "Just knowing that what you do then and there can't be fixed — there was a lot more at risk."

The Voice -- Live Top 16 Performances Episode 2216A -- Pictured: Parijita Bastola
The Voice -- Live Top 16 Performances Episode 2216A -- Pictured: Parijita Bastola

Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images Parijita Bastola

As she performed, Bastola's hometown cheered her on from local restaurant Sullivan's Cove, which even put a special "Pear-I-Jita Margarita" on the menu.

"It's a very small local restaurant in my area, and John liked their Instagram post, which I thought was funny," she said. "I do gigs locally, and I perform at my school often, so I've had so much local support. Then there's also the Nepal factors. Even though Nepal can't vote, they've been really supportive on social media and really blowing me up. It's really cool."

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From her time working with Legend, Bastola said she's learned some invaluable lessons, including that it's okay to be "angry and mess up" during a performance.

"Throughout my rehearsals [for 'I'll Never Love Again'], he was like, 'Get messy because the song is so powerful and emotional,'" she recalled. "He was like, 'Stop thinking so much about hitting the notes or making it pretty. Let it fall where it naturally falls.' So I feel like that was the craziest and the best advice he could given to me."

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Regardless of what happens during the eliminations on Tuesday night, Bastola said she's just thankful to have made it this far on the show.

"This whole thing doesn't even feel like a competition at times," she said. "It feels like a group of friends who get to sing on a stage together in front of four awesome singers. The fact that I get to do that is just the biggest gift ever."

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.