On Monday night’s episode of The Voice (watch the Season 15 finale on Tuesday, December 18 at 9 p.m. ET/MT on CTV TWO), the final four singers had their final chance to prove that they should be this season’s Best Country Superstar. Okay, that’s not actually the title they’ll win, but with three out of the four of the remaining singers sitting comfortably in the ‘Country-Til-I-Die’ lane, it may as well be. Coaches Blake Shelton, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson still have singers in the fight, but that didn’t mean Adam Levine stayed silent on Monday night. Instead, he gave respectful, glowing comments following each performance and was even friendly with Blake. Maybe this new and improved Levine is the silver-lining from the DeAndre Nico fiasco.
If you’re a country fan, Monday night’s finale was a mixtape of deep cuts from some of the biggest names in the Nashville scene. For the rest of us, it was a learning experience highlighted by some truly impressive original songs.
Chris Kroeze opened the show with a really good bar band rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama.” Blake promised a performance that would show us a different side of Chris. It did not.
When it came time for Chris’ original song “Human,” we saw something that we haven’t seen from the country singer all season – personality. Chris is one of the few professional musicians on the show this season, often referencing the 250-plus shows he plays each year. You’d think this would make him an exciting performer, but no. As Blake said during one of the pre-taped segments after Chris failed miserably to hype up his own performance, “Thank god you’re a good singer.” Even with all that experience, Chris has always lacked stage presence. That finally shifted a few degrees on Monday night. Maybe it was finally having his own song that he could own, or maybe it was the confidence built up by Coach Blake’s literal hand holding, but Kroeze’s track “Human” finally stood out, making us feel like we saw the artist he could be. The song itself was a bit of downer, but a beautiful downer.
Chevel Shepherd’s opening performance of “It’s A Little Too Late” had me dusting off my line dancing skills, with the 16-year-old picking a party track that had her working the stage like we haven’t seen before.
When it came time for Chevel’s original song, Coach Kelly revealed that she had originally wanted “Broken Hearts” for her own album but didn’t have the chance to record it. Or maybe she just said that to make viewers take the song seriously. Either way, it worked. Chevel’s biggest drawback is her underdeveloped delivery, with the singer often difficult to understand and at some points even difficult to hear. But when she does get her pitch and projection right, it’s beautifully on-point.
We don’t know who is going to win this season of The Voice, but we do know that Kirk Jay should win some award for his outfits. This guy is one of the best dressed men on TV. Blake, Adam, take notes. Fashion aside, Kirk’s original song “Defenseless” is a bona fide hit. This song is going to be the most requested track at every country wedding. Actually, every wedding. It’s that good.
For his solo cover, Kirk Jay went back to his roots with another Rascal Flatt’s song. It was a smart move on his part, with the country trio already helping the Alabama native amass a dedicated following. Kirk’s teammate Chris has played it safe throughout the competition and been rewarded for it, but we’ve also been bored by it. Kirk’s decision to end with a safe song felt different. Not only does he bring more emotion to his performances than any other contestant still in the show, he’s also a black man in America trying to make it in country music. He bravely stands out just by being himself.
Channeling early 2000’s Alicia Keys and Brandy, Kennedy Holmes’ original track “Love Is Free” was fun and poppy and totally age appropriate for the 14-year-old. The upbeat, self-love anthem may not be radio-ready, but it could be a hit song in a Disney movie. Kennedy sings and dances and we wouldn’t be surprised if she could act. Get this kid her own Hannah Montana-esque show.
Earlier this season, Kennedy showed off her power as a performer with her choreography-heavy Meghan Trainor cover “Me Too.” Going with an empowerment anthem once again, Kennedy closed the show with Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” Both performances featured the teenager looking and sounding like a pro on stage, but neither song was a match. Being 14-years-old doesn’t automatically make you a bubble gum pop princess and Kennedy’s deep voice and wide range is better suited for the ballads she’s chosen in the past. Give the girl some Whitney!
STANDINGS FOR FINALE
Watch The Voice Season 15 finale on Tuesday, December 18 at 9 p.m. ET/MT on CTV TWO. Catch up with new episodes online the day after broadcast.