Standing between the duo in a flowing, burgundy gown to deliver their latest Number One single, “Speechless,” the country vocalist added a female perspective to the smitten tune, taking two verses and joining in for the song’s high-flying chorus to rousing cheers from the crowd.
Later, Shepherd became the season’s champ – securing coach Kelly Clarkson’s second title in a row – followed by southern rocker Chris Kroeze, country balladeer Kirk Jay and soul pop singer Kennedy Holmes. But the rest of the night was dotted with standout performances.
Jay teamed up with Rascal Flatts for a sparkling run through their current single, “Back to Life,” bringing his time on The Voice full circle. The Alabama native performed the group’s “Bless the Broken Road” for his blind audition, explaining that Rascal Flatts was the reason he fell in love with country in the first place, and continued to deliver emotionally-charged ballads in the Rascal Flatts vein throughout the show.
Holmes was joined by Kelly Rowland to kick the evening off, energizing the audience with a dance-oriented blast through Rowland and David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over.” Another teenager who sings with a poise far beyond her years, Holmes traded runs with the former Destiny’s Child star, working the crowd up to an emotional peak as the song’s drop approached and confetti filled the air.
Elsewhere, Wisconsin native Kroeze helped the Doobie Brothers deliver a refreshing take on their classic “Long Train Running,” offering gravelly vocals and a blazing guitar solo as the hit’s unstoppable groove chugged on. Dierks Bentley delivered a fiery performance of his new single, “Burning Man” (without collaborators Brothers Osborne), and Jennifer Hudson joined forces with her fellow coach Clarkson for a masterful arrangement of the holiday favorite “O Holy Night.”
That’s it for this season of the vocal competition, but Season 16 of The Voice returns to NBC on February 25th, with multi-Grammy winner John Legend joining the coaches bench alongside Clarkson, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.