It’s hard to believe season 15 of NBC’s The Voice is nearly over. After one of the most exciting seasons since the series launched in 2011, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and host Carson Daly are about to crown a new winner of the highly successful show.
Unfortunately, Adam is out of the competition, but both Kelly and Jennifer have singers still battling, while Blake boasts two members of his team still vying for the title. On night one of the finale, each of the remaining four artists sang three times: one cover, one duet with their coach, and then an original song composed specifically for the show.
As Carson said, Team Blake’s Chris Kroeze “set the bar high” with his first performance, a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” that brought all of the judges to their feet. Adam was quick to praise the Wisconsin native’s guitar playing, telling him, “The one thing we don’t ever talk about is how good of a guitar player you are. You are a legit amazing guitar player.”
Team Kelly’s Chevel Shepherd was up next with a sassy cover of Tanya Tucker’s “It’s a Little Too Late.” Afterward, her coach said, “The best kind of artists to work with are the ones that don’t think they know it all and they have fun learning and they have fun challenging themselves, and you are that girl. And I cannot wait to hear records from you. You are so talented.”
The second artist representing Team Blake, Kirk Jay, also repped country music performing the first original tune of the night, a stirring ballad titled “Defenseless,” written by Nashville hitmaker Nicolle Galyon. After Jennifer sang her praise of the performance, Blake chimed in, “There’s so many things that I could talk about right now, but I think the most important thing that I just heard from Jennifer is the fact that you made her a fan. You made her a country fan. That’s what you are in a position to do. I got to do this. I want to be there first to say, welcome to the country music family.”
Kennedy Holmes from Team J-Hud also performed her original song first—the dynamic, groove-driven “Love is Free.” Following her tour-ready performance, Kelly told her, “I love the 90s vibe. It’s perfect for fitting on radio right now, I think that’s so important. I think it sounds like you. You look like you’re having fun.” She also said, “You look like you’re doing songs you would do on tour, which I love that for you.” Jennifer echoed Kelly’s thoughts and added, “I feel as though you made the room feel how you feel right now. That’s very important.”
The first coach/artist duet of the night went to Blake and Kirk. The country music superstar and the rising country star opted to keep it super country with a cover of George Strait’s “You Look So Good in Love,” and when Kirk took the second verse, Blake was positively beaming.
Jennifer and Kennedy took the next duet slot performing the dramatic ballad “Home” by Stephanie Mills from the Broadway musical The Wiz. An incredibly polished performance, it’s impossible to not see young Kennedy’s future unfolding ahead of her.
Chris was back on stage with his original number, another Nashville born tune from Music City songsmith’s Ross Copperman and Ashley Gorley titled “Human.” Blake was obviously impressed with his team member’s performance. “You’re so talented and your voice can lend itself to so many different things,” he said. “But now, to hear it on your original song and to have that glimpse of who you are as an artist and the kind of record you want to make in a song with that much depth that means what it means at a time like this, that was a helluva moment for you.”
Kelly tapped into her country roots for her romping duet with Chevel—the Judd’s “Rockin’ With the Rhythm.” While the pair swapped verses, Chevel yodeled her way through the chorus with Kelly laying down the rhythmic background vocals.
Blake and a jokingly apprehensive Chris were up next with Delbert McClinton’s rockin’ country smash “Two More Bottles of Wine.” The pair easily turned the studio into a honky-tonk with members of Blake’s band backing the pair.
Kirk was up for his final performance of the night, and the young singer who has said through the entire season, “I’m country till I die,” appropriately picked the compelling Rascal Flatts’ ballad “I Won’t Let Go.”
“You know what a big fan I am of you,” Adam told him after. “I’ve been saying this all along, but to have a voice that stands out like yours does and the second I hear Kirk sing, I know it’s Kirk. That is the most valuable thing, I think, to have as a singer. Also, a hard song to sing and you did a great job. I’m as proud of you as I can be even though you’re on Blake’s team. I still love you and I still think you’re amazing, even though sometimes I don’t like him very much.” Of course, Adam was just giving his pal a hard time, and Blake was quick to agree with him on his assessment of Kirk. “I truly believe in my heart, especially after that performance which, by the way, was brilliant, that we’re going to be hearing you on the radio, and we’re going to get the chance to go, ‘Oh, that’s Kirk from ‘The Voice.’ I’m going to buy that record.’” he said.
Before Chevel stepped up for her final performance of the night, her original song, “Broken Hearts,” Kelly mentioned that there had already been some music industry interest in the young songbird. “There are already people banging on our doors about you,” she said. After the song, a tearful Kelly told her young singer, “I think you are such a magical being, especially for women in country music. It’s so special what you represent, not just for girls your age, but women, and it’s so beautiful.”
Closing out the night was the youngest performer from season 15, Team Jennifer’s Kennedy, with her cover of Demi Lovato’s punchy uptempo “Confident.” With a marching band and dancers, she definitely exemplified the word “confident” and looked more like a seasoned veteran than a 14-year-old girl, even joining in on the choreography.
With all four judges on their feet and the crowd roaring their approval, Jennifer could barely be heard saying, “you were a true professional right there,” then joked, “I thought Beyoncé was up there.”
During the December 18 results show, viewers will not only discover who wins season 15 of The Voice, but will also enjoy an exceptional night of music from artists including Rascal Flatts, Dan + Shay, the Doobie Brothers, Kelly Rowland, Dierks Bentley, plus last year’s winner, Brynn Cartelli returns to sing, and Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson sing a holiday duet.