Kane Brown unleashed the rhythmic rock energy of his current single “Lose It” on Tuesday’s episode of The Voice, appearing as a musical guest while results from the first round of live voting were revealed.
Staying cool and collected in contrast to the song’s theme of unrestrained romance, Brown stalked the glittering stage and slapped hands with fans in the front row while his low-slung baritone helped him land somewhere between swaggering tough guy and flirtatious boy next door. The track appears on his second album Experiment and is currently inside the Top 5 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, marking his third consecutive single to reach country radio’s upper ranks. Next up for Brown is a presenter’s gig at tonight’s CMA Awards, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Brown wasn’t the only source of excitement on Monday’s episode of The Voice, however, with the field of 24 contestants chopped in half. Many talented singers were sent home, as coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson were all faced with tough decisions. The top two contestants from each team moved forward based on viewer voting, but then each coach had the delicate task of choosing one more to save.
Shelton’s team went first, with all six contestants taking the stage and linking arms as the results were read. Country singing Kirk Jay — a Rascal Flatts fan who proclaimed he’d be “country until I die” in the Blind Auditions — was the first team member chosen by fans. Classic rocker Chris Kroeze made the cut next, and that left Shelton with one slot to fill. After some deliberation, he chose Nashville country singer Dave Fenley, eliminating Michael Lee, Natasia Greycloud, and Funsho in the process.
Next up was Levine’s team and another tough decision. Fans chose Houston R&B singer DeAndre Nico and 14-year-old Memphis native Reagan Strange. But Levine seemed genuinely perplexed with who he should pick. After a few false starts, he landed on the folk-pop singer Tyke James, explaining that he felt James had more to show. Steve Memmolo, Radha and Kameron Marlowe were all eliminated.
Over on Hudson’s team, fans picked high-flying MaKenzie Thomas and 13-year-old pop stylist Kennedy Holmes, while Hudson went with the gritty rocker SandyRedd. Patrique Fortson, Franc West and Colton Smith said their goodbyes.
After another musical interlude — this time from the Backstreet Boys with their buttery new single “Chances” — Kelly Clarkson’s team went last, with fans choosing a pair of young powerhouses. Country loving Chevel Shepherd and bluesy soul talent Sarah Grace moved to the next round, and after some agonizing by Clarkson, gospel belter Kimberli Joye joined them.
That only accounts for 12 spots, though, and in a new twist for Season 15 a group of artists who did not make it past the blind auditions were coached by country star Kelsea Ballerini on The Comeback Stage. Competing parallel with the main show, that group was paired down to two finalists, with Ayanna Joni and Lynnea Moorer going head to head in a live knockout Monday night for the final playoff spot. Joni delivered Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry,” which didn’t do her many favors. The rhythm tripped her up, and the song itself offered little in the way of vocal showboating. Moorer went next, choosing Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up” and delivering a grooving performance that was spot on with an easy-to-enjoy chorus and room to stretch vocally. Moorer won the live vote easily, securing about 85 percent of the total on Twitter.
She moves on with the rest of the field, but as Hudson said earlier in the show, being sent home is no reason to give up. Speaking from experience — Hudson broke through after a seventh place finish on the third season of American Idol — she reminded the night’s other contestants that they leave with the same talent and drive to succeed that they arrived with.
Live Playoffs continue next week, as Season 15 of The Voice returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.