Country standout Kirk Jay delivered a simple yet powerful rendition of the Chris Young ballad “Tomorrow” on Monday night’s Live Top 10 episode of The Voice, sticking to his guns as he vied for a spot in Season 15’s semifinals.
While some of his fellow competitors were upping the ante with choreography or an unexpected song choice, the Alabama native went in the opposite direction, honing in on the kind of emotional connection that has made him a top contender this season. “Tomorrow” found Jay seated at a piano in a sharp suit jacket, and using his powerful vocals to heartfelt effect on the passionate tune. He only stumbled slightly when he had to dip into his lower register on the song’s opening notes, but since he and Young have completely different vocal ranges, that was almost to be expected. What came through crystal clear, however, was Jay’s knack for completely inhabiting a heart-wrenching ballad, a skill that hasn’t gone unnoticed as the season has progressed.
Jay’s wasn’t the only country moment on Monday night’s episode, as classic rocker Chris Kroeze opted for a faithful rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” gravel-voiced Dave Fenley eased into Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothin’ at All” and “country tinkerbell” Chevel Shepherd busted out a yodel for Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ at Country.” Meanwhile, 14-year-old Memphis native Reagan Strange took on one of the night’s toughest songs – Faith Hill’s soaring breakup ballad, “Cry.” Dressed in a velvet jumpsuit and seeming to float around the stage, Strange looked to maintain her status as the most-streamed Voice artist for the third straight week, showing off her full range and earning praise from the coaches. Kelly Clarkson was impressed by Strange’s ability to express complex emotions in her performances, while Adam Levine said she simply commands attention.
Not to be outdone, Coach Blake Shelton also took the stage Monday night and ran through a simmering live version of his current single, “Turnin’ Me On.” With Shelton standing on a carpet of fog and playing the song’s finger-picked intro himself, the track took on a Fleetwood Mac vibe, with thick harmonies, dreamy guitars, a strong back beat and tambourine framing the mid-tempo song’s theme of desire.
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The Voice returns tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBC to tally the results from last night’s performances, with two more artists going home. Only two weeks remain before Season 15’s champ is crowned.