Eleven contestants remain on Season 15 of The Voice and on Monday night they hit the stage for “fan night,” effectively taking requests as the field gets set for another departure. Following stunning covers of Kacey Musgraves, Whitney Houston, Sam Hunt and more, one artist will be sent home tonight to reveal the final 10 performers.
The night began with a one-two punch of country singers, with Team Blake Shelton’s Dave Fenley taking the “go big or go home” approach with a beat boxing version of Bill Withers’ “Use Me.” Judging by coach Adam Levine’s polite reaction, the performance was lacking a bit of substance, but that wasn’t the case for Team Kelly Clarkson’s Chevel Shepherd. Fans asked her to do Kacey Musgraves’ icy-cool “Space Cowboy” (from the CMA Album of the Year-winning Golden Hour), and the young New Mexico native nailed the song’s crisp, clean melody and sense of resigned disappointment.
Later on, gospel singer Kymberli Joye was pleased to discover that fans had embraced her devotion to spiritual music, requesting a performance of Tasha Cobbs’ Grammy-winning “Break Every Chain.” With her powerful voice rising to the heavens and expanding even further, Joye’s performance had coach Jennifer Hudson out of her seat for much of the song, responding “The doors of the church of The Voice are open!” after its conclusion.
R&B-singing favorite MaKenzie Thomas took her vast vocal talent in another direction, delivering a tastefully reserved rendition of “Emotion,” originally written by members of the Bee Gees and turned into a hit by Destiny’s Child in 2001. Looking and sounding elegant as she sang seated in a sparkling gown, Thomas tapped into an “ocean” of devoted heartbreak and was rewarded by coach Hudson, who proclaimed, “This is your lane.”
Elsewhere, Reagan Strange offered up a cheeky version of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” for Team Adam; Chris Kroeze rode the rails on the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running;” Lynnea Moorer used a string section on Camila Cabello’s “Consequences;” old soul Sarah Grace joined the 21st century with Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over;” and soulful DeAndre Nico did what he does best on Jodeci’s “Cry for You.”
Meanwhile, Alabama country singer Kirk Jay nearly stole the show once again, offering up a groove-heavy rendition of Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road.” With his unique vocal style adding some swaggering attitude to the laid-back hit, Jay’s performance left coach Shelton feeling blown away. “What the hell are you doing up there?” he said. “It’s like you’re mixing George Strait with Rascal Flatts, and it works.”
But it was once again 13-year-old mini diva Kennedy Holmes who brought the night to a close, stepping into the enormous shoes of Whitney Houston on “Greatest Love of All.” Holmes’ vocal prowess has never been in question, so she took the opportunity to work on her stage presence, classically styled in an up-do and silk ballgown while leading a band that included a string section with authoritative arm movements to match her vocal flourishes. “I know Mama Whitney is proud up there,” said Hudson, as all four coaches stood to applaud. “You are a shining star in your own right.”
One artist will be sent home when fan votes are tallied tonight, as The Voice returns to NBC at 8 p.m. ET.