See 'Voice' Singer Brennley Brown's Maddie and Tae Cover - Rolling Stone
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See ‘Voice’ Singer Brennley Brown’s Uplifting Maddie and Tae Cover

Gwen Stefani team member soars with country duo’s “Fly”

You know The Voice has achieved snooze-worthy status when even teenage Justin Bieber doppelganger Mark Isaiah, covering Jon Bellion’s “All Time Low,” can’t raise the excitement level. Thankfully, country singer Brennley Brown swept in as one of the few bright spots of an otherwise dull episode with her take on Maddie and Tae’s “Fly.”

An obvious favorite amongst the coaches, the 15-year-old California resident once again shone with her impressive vocal chops and mature demeanor. During rehearsal, coach Gwen Stefani beamed over her knockout round performance of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” “You know you had the whole country crying. At such a young age you’re so authentic,” she said, before the two dove into “Fly,” off of the country duo’s 2015 debut album Start Here. Stefani urged Brown to play up the hopeful aspects of the song rather than turning it into a sad ballad. “It’d be interesting to sing it like you’re talking to yourself,” said Stefani, before adding that Brown should play up the whole “Seventies country girl” look.

Taking her coach’s advice to heart, Brown donned a white lace floor-length dress and hippie-inspired flower crown for her performance. Strumming an acoustic guitar, Brown transitioned smoothly between her breathy high notes and effortless scales. More notably, she displayed a natural talent for storytelling, pulling viewers into “running down her dreams in a dirty dress,” with her emotional delivery.

Post-performance, Brown’s former coach Blake Shelton was impressed. “I’ve been doing this show a long time – 12 seasons. And I’m man enough to sit here and say when I’ve made a mistake. And I think letting you go was a mistake. You’re so good,” he said. Not sparing her boyfriend’s feelings, Stefani agreed. “You made a huge mistake and it was a great gift for me and Brennley,” she said. “I know everyone is gonna vote for you.”

Also of note for Stefani’s team was classic vocalist Troy Ramey’s subdued, acoustic cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” Flying under the radar until now, his moving rendition of the tune from 1971’s Blue served as much-needed proof on the show that you don’t need to pull out all the stops and glitter for a powerful performance. Meanwhile, on coach Adam Levine’s team, the true standout of the evening was Lilli Passero who performed Carole King’s classic “It’s Too Late.” Lending the song her trademark jazzy style, the Los Angeles waitress successfully transformed the Voice stage into a swanky piano bar. Watch both performances below.

At the end of the show, host Carson Daly revealed all three of these contestants would advance to the top 12. America voted in both Brown and Passero, while Stefani selected Ramey to advance with her coach’s “save.”

The Voice continues next Monday, April 24th at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC with Shania Twain joining as key adviser to the top 12 contestants.

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